Each state DMV issues drivers license points for every ticket and accident you receive and are convicted of. The amount of points amassed on your driving record can determine if you retain your driving privileges. These points can be reflected in another way by a insurance company. While you don’t want to get points from either system, drivers license points and insurance points are handled differently  and have a different impact. Both will cost you money and DMV points could cost you your license.

Drivers License Points

Violations that land you in the DMV point system, and the consequences of accumulating too many points, vary state by state. Each state’s DMV publicly lists the offenses that would cause you to gain points under this system.  Any at-fault accident or negligent act on your part have the ability to add points to your license.

Minor Violations Points

The following types of violations are minors and count for one point on your license.

  • Speeding tickets under 100 mph
  • Failure to yield tickets
  • Lane change or use of lane tickets
  • No insurance or license in possession tickets.
  • non injury accidents.

Major Violation Points

The following types of violations are majors and count as two points on your license.

  • DUI/DWI
  • Reckless driving
  • Exhibition or excessive speed
  • Hit and Run
  • Attempting to Eluding a police officer
  • Accident with bodily injury
  • Driving on a suspended license

DMV keeps a record of all traffic convictions and accidents. Your driving record is public information and anyone may request a copy. This includes a parent or an employer.

How Long Do Drivers License Points Stay On The Record?

The length of time depends on the severity of the offense. Most points (illegal turn, not making a complete stop, driving over the speed limit, etc.) and/or accidents will stay on your driver record for 39 months (3 years, 3 months). Points for more serious offenses, such as hit-and-run or a DUI, will stay on your record for 13 years.

Most people like to have “clean” driving records. That means no points on your driving record. Having lots of points on your driving record not only affects your driving privilege, but how much you will pay for car insurance (a lot more than you or your parents do now!) and perhaps the chance of getting or keeping a job you really want.

Insurance Points

Most insurance companies generally use the guidelines set up by the Insurance Services Office (ISO) to dictate their points system, while others create their own unique metrics. These points dictate how much you’ll pay in premiums, but the exact points and the points system used are rarely revealed by the insurer. If your policy declaration shows 4 points for a accident that DMV is showing 2 points for there is nothing you can do about it.

Insurance companies track points by the following.

  • DMV driving records.
  • Clue and Lexis Nexis reports.
  • Claims filed by or against you.
  • Traffic School attended to remove points

The difference between driver’s license points and insurance policy points is who is responsible for adding the points. Drivers license points can only be added by DMV. Insurance points can be added by both DMV and the insurance company. Situations arise when the police are not notified of an accident, that occurs on private property with no fault determined and no points added. But to insurance companies car accidents are always considered at-fault accidents unless proven otherwise.

The bottom line is your insurance points are the determining factor used when insurers calculate your insurance premiums. The higher the number of points the more you will pay for insurance. If you get too many points you may not be able to get insurance except through the state Assigned Risk Program.