What Are Insurance Points & How They Affect You

An important factor in determining a driver’s car insurance premiums is their insurance points. Yet, many drivers don’t know what points are and how points affect their insurance premiums. Insurance points are violations a driver commits that end up on their record and used against them by insurance companies. These violations include tickets, at-fault accidents, moving violations, and more severe issues such as impaired driving arrests. Points on your record, or on your driver’s license, are similar but slightly different from the points an insurance company may assign you. In either case, it is not good to have points attached to your policy or license. The goal of this post is to further explain insurance points, how it contrasts from driver’s license points, and what you can do to reduce them. 

Driver’s License Points Vs. Insurance Points

As mentioned earlier, there is a small but significant difference between insurance points and driver’s license points. The difference boils down to who the responsible party for assigning the points falls onto. Police have the power of discretion when it comes to giving a driver a ticket after they violated the law. If police decide what you did justifies a ticket without a warning, then points would add to your driver’s license. On the other hand, in some cases, police are not notified of an accident. In those cases, insurance companies become the ones responsible for assigning points to your record 

What counts as points and what does not

Not every ticket or violation you receive will count as points on your record. Certain non-moving violations, such as not wearing a seat belt, might not count against your record. In other words, some violations won’t add points that cause your premiums to rise. Additionally, in many first time offenses police may not even issue a ticket or report a violation to the state’s department of motor vehicles. If you are not sure if your recent ticket or violation is being counted on your record you can check with the Illinois DMV. While on the Illinois DMV website you can also find a list of violations and what they are worth in points found here.

What you can do to reduce points

One of the few options to reduce points on your license or insurance is to take an approved driving course. Unfortunately, driving courses do not resolve all violations, especially at-fault accidents. The only way for drivers to resolve major violations, such as impaired driving, is time. However, for some violations, drivers can attend and pass a defensive driving course to reduce some of the points on their license or insurance.  Before signing up for an approved course, check with your local DMV to make sure it would reduce your points. Although education from a course would be valuable for any driver, most people wouldn’t take one unless it would help. 

Bullet Points About Insurance Points

  • Traffic violations, at-fault accidents, and other driving violations add points to either your driver’s license or insurance
  • Points are not a good thing to have, so the less you have the better for your rates will be.
  • Insurance and license points are slightly different. License points are added by a police report, insurance ones are added by claims.
  • Not every ticket or violation counts towards your points.
  • Certain approved traffic school or defensive driving courses reduce points. You should check with the dept of motor vehicles to make sure it would reduce points.