Depending on your state laws, insurance companies will generally allow one moving violation every three to five years without increasing your auto insurance rates. If you are issued a ticket or citation, you have the option of electing to complete a driving-improvement course. The course reduces the amount of your ticket and keep the points off your record. A driving course might even help keep your insurance rates from rising.
How Points Affect You
Although several factors will influence your auto insurance rates, your driving record carries the most weight. Speeding tickets and moving violations can add points to your driver's license. The points vary, depending on the state and the violation. Although a minor ticket might not make a big difference in your auto insurance rates, several tickets within a year can add up to a costly problem. When it is time to renew your policy, the insurance company will review your driving record. If you have received any tickets or citations, you could experience a rate increase. According to MSN Money, a reckless-driving ticket could increase your insurance rates by as much as 22 percent. Too many points within a short period of time can lead to an automatic license suspension.
After getting a traffic ticket, you may be given the option to attend traffic school. Driver-improvement or driver-safety courses can reduce the amount of your ticket and keep the points off your driving record. However, completing a course will not necessarily keep the citation from appearing on your driving record. In most counties, the citation will appear on your record as "adjudication withheld," which means no points were assessed. The insurance company has the discretion to decide whether to increase your rates because of the accident, even after completing a driving course.
A driving course will not remove points off your driving record. If you do not have any points, taking a driving course will not necessarily lower you insurance premium. While some insurance companies give discounts for successful completion of driver's improvement or safety courses, it is not a standard requirement. However, a driving course can help keep your insurance rates down by refreshing your driving knowledge and teaching you skills to avoid an accident.
If you want to take a driving course, you will need to participate in a driving course that is state approved or accredited. Your county will have specific requirements for electing to take a driving course after receiving a citation. In most counties, you cannot take a course after you have paid your ticket. The programs available will vary, depending on the state. For example, New York offers a "Point and Insurance Reduction Program." Not only does the course reduce the number of points on your record, but it also results in a 10 percent reduction on your liability and collision premiums. In the majority of states, there are no insurance reduction guarantees for completing a driving-improvement course.
- Monroe County Clerk of Circuit Court and Comptroller: Frequently Asked Questions
- New York State Department of Motor Vehicles: Point & Insurance Reduction Program
- MSN Money: 14 Tickets That Can Raise Your Rates
- Cars Direct: Does Attending Traffic School Always Remove Points on your Drivers License?
- I Drive Safely®. "DMV Point System - How Points Affect Insurance Rates." Accessed July 3, 2020.
- Progressive. "Do Speeding Tickets and Other Violations Affect Insurance Rates?" Accessed July 3, 2020.
- FindLaw. "Driver's License Points by State." Accessed July 3, 2020.
- New York State Department of Motor Vehicles. "About the New York State Driver Point System." Accessed July 3, 2020.
- Judicial Council of California. "Traffic School." Accessed July 3, 2020.
- New York State Department of Motor Vehicles. "How to Get My Own Driving Record (Abstract)." Accessed July 3, 2020.
- Liberty Mutual. "How and Why Car Insurance Rates Change?" Accessed July 3, 2020.
- North Carolina Department of Insurance. "Safe Driver Incentive Plan," Page 2. Accessed July 3, 2020.
- Freeway Insurance. "SR-22 Insurance." Accessed July 3, 2020.
- Crowell Law Offices. "How Long Will a DUI Conviction Stay on My Record in California?" Accessed July 3, 2020.
- Maryland Insurance Administration. "A Consumer Guide to Auto Insurance," Page 6. Accessed July 3, 2020.
- City of Austin. "Driving Safety Course (DSC)." Accessed July 3, 2020.
Jeannine Mancini, a Florida native, has been writing business and personal finance articles since 2003. Her articles have been published in the Florida Today and Orlando Sentinel. She earned a Bachelor of Science in Interdisciplinary Studies from the University of Central Florida.