Having points on your driver’s license can increase your car insurance rates. Often you’ll be paying more for car insurance until the points are removed from your license completely, which can be anywhere from three to five years after the incident. However, it is sometimes possible to have points removed from your driver’s license before this time period has passed.
How Points Are Assessed
Nearly every state has a point system for tracking how safe of a driver you are. When you get a traffic ticket, you are assessed a point value on your driver’s license in accordance with the severity of the ticket. Depending on the state and the violation, points added for a single ticket could range anywhere from one point to eight points.
In addition to the points on your license affecting your car insurance rates, points are also used to determine if you are allowed to drive. If you accumulate too many points on your license within a specified period of time, you could face a license suspension or revocation. If that happens, your car insurance rates will skyrocket, even after you get your license back.
How Long Points Stay On Your License
Points will remain on your license naturally for three to five years, depending on your state’s requirements. Some insurance companies look at your driving record going back five years to determine your car insurance rates, while others only go back three years. How far back the insurance company looks at your driving history may not be based on how long points remain on your license. It is a good idea that once points are removed from your license you shop around for new car insurance rates based on your new motor vehicle report.
Removing Points from Your License
It is possible in most states to have points removed from your license. There are a few different ways that this can happen depending on your state. Points will drop off automatically after the prescribed time period, but if you want to have them removed before that you will need to put forth some time and effort to the cause.
Requesting Removal of Points After Good Driving
In some states, such as New Jersey, you can request removal of driver’s license points if you go a full year without getting any traffic violations and points added. This is basically a reward for good behavior. In New Jersey, you can have up to three points removed after one year of good driving behavior. You have to talk to the DMV and fill out the required forms to request the point removal.
Defensive Driving School
Taking a defensive driving course is another way that you can get points removed from your license. Most states allow you to remove up to three points from your license by taking a state-approved defensive driving course. These courses are sometimes provided by the state DMV, or they may be provided by a private party.
When you take the defensive driving course, you will still need to request the removal of the points from your license. There will be forms available with your state’s DMV that will need to be filled out to request the point removal, with proof of the defensive driving course submitted. Often you will not be able to have the points removed if the defensive driving course was ordered by the courts as part of a plea bargain in a traffic violation case.
What to Do After You Have Points Removed
Even if you have points removed from your driver’s license, your car insurance rates may not show an improvement right away. Your car insurance company bases your rates on your driving record at the time that you got your policy. Most car insurance companies do not run a new motor vehicle report until it is time to renew your policy, or other changes are made to your policy.
If you prepay for your car insurance up to six months or a year in advance, you won’t see a benefit to getting points removed until your policy renews. However, if you pay your car insurance by the month, you may be able to get better rates right away. You can talk to your car insurance agent about the possibility of running the motor vehicle report again to try to lower your rate.
It may be a good idea to shop around for the best rates after getting points removed from your driver’s license. The company you chose when you had points on your license may not have the best deal for good drivers. Shopping around for the best rates could save you a lot of money, particularly if there are changes to your driving record.