Jeffrey Johnson is a legal writer with a focus on personal injury. He has worked on personal injury and sovereign immunity litigation in addition to experience in family, estate, and criminal law. He earned a J.D. from the University of Baltimore and has worked in legal offices and non-profits in Maryland, Texas, and North Carolina. He has also earned an MFA in screenwriting from Chapman Univer...

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Laura Walker graduated college with a BS in Criminal Justice with a minor in Political Science. She married her husband and began working in the family insurance business in 2005. She became a licensed agent and wrote P&C business focusing on personal lines insurance. Laura serviced existing business and wrote new business. She now uses her insurance background to help educate drivers about...

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Reviewed by Laura Walker
Licensed Agent for 10 Years

UPDATED: Mar 25, 2019

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Driving safely is important in terms of keeping car insurance premiums low. Unfortunately, even the best driver can have a bad day and miss a stop sign covered by branches or get caught for speeding when there is no speed-limit sign in sight.

The good news is there are a few ways to keep points off a person’s driving record and protect their auto insurance rates from going up.

Use our FREE quote tools to compare auto insurance rates today!

What Are Points And How Are They Used

A driving record is a collection of data that represents an individual’s driving history with a record of any points received, that can only be added or removed by the state a person is licensed in, and only when they are involved in an accident or other legal issue.

Moving violations, driving under the influence, at-fault accidents or parking tickets each receive a certain point value. If a driver is found guilty of any of these infractions, they receive a certain number of points added to their driving record, and more points equals a worse driving record.

Point Ranges And Timelines

Certain types of infractions are worse than others in terms of the points they receive. Each state has their own system, and their Department of Motor Vehicles can suspend or remove driving privileges if drivers get too many points over a set period of time.

For example, in the state of California, a person will receive one point on their record for a minor moving violation, such as rolling through a stop sign or a minor speeding ticket. An accident in which the driver is at fault is also worth one point.

Two points is the penalty for reckless driving, a DUI, a hit-and-run accident or driving with a suspended or revoked license.

The other issue with points is that they take a while to clear off of a person’s driving record. In the state of California, most points will stay on a driving record for 3 to 7 years.

Again, using California as an example, here are the limits on how many points a driver can get in a set time period:

  • Four points in one year
  • Six points in two years
  • Eight points in three years

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How To Remove Points

If a driver receives one point for a moving violation, they can use traffic school attendance to remove the point before it becomes official on their driving record. Typically, drivers are eligible to go to traffic school only once every 18 months.

Drivers will still have to pay any fines associated with the violation, as well as a fee for their spot in traffic school.

In extreme circumstances, an attorney can go to court and request that a traffic matter be re-opened, and then ask the officer who gave the citation to reduce it to an infraction with no points, but this could be costly and have an extremely low probability of success.

How To Avoid Points

A driver who has received a ticket may contest that ticket in court in an attempt to avoid being convicted and penalized with a point on their record. A traffic ticket attorney may be hired to go to court for them and plead their case, or an individual can go on their own.

If the judge does not dismiss the ticket, a person may ask for permission to attend traffic school to remove the point, unless they have already attended traffic school with the last 18 months.

The only other way to avoid points from getting on a driving record is to be a safe driver and prevent them from getting on a person’s record in the first place.

Effects On Car Insurance

Every insurance company has their own method for evaluating their customers, based on statistical models that use data that they have gathered from large groups of historical driver behavior.

It is important to note this and shop around, because points on a driving record may not always have a direct impact on the cost of auto insurance, depending on which carrier is chosen.

Since car insurance companies each have their own complex methods for determining rates, there is no easy way to determine a specific dollar amount of difference that might be caused by getting a point on a driving record.

Be aware that some auto insurance companies will raise rates or possibly cancel a person’s policy if they accumulate points on their record.

Each time an insurance company renews a driver’s policy they typically check their driving record to see if the customer has received any new points before they make their pricing decision.

There is no penalty for changing insurance companies as often as a customer wants to, so the best defense against rising insurance rates after receiving points on a driving record is to get quotes from several other insurance companies and make sure a person is getting the best deal possible.

Use our FREE quote tools to compare auto insurance rates today!

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  1. How long do points stay on your drivers license?