Insurance company and DMV points systems are, in a word, confusing. This is because each point’s schedule is different from every other; the DMV points system is different from the one used by your insurance company, and the DMV points are calculated differently depending on which state you live in.
However, the basic premise behind DMV points is simple. When you are involved in a vehicle accident, issued a traffic citation, or convicted of a vehicle-related crime, points are assigned to your driving record. If you accumulate a certain number of points within a given time frame, your driver’s license and insurance eligibility are compromised.
Essentially, DMV points add another layer of consequence to driving infractions. In addition to paying fines and higher insurance rates, you can lose your driver’s license and auto insurance entirely.
How many points can I get?
As mentioned above, this depends entirely on where you live. In New York state, for example, drivers earn between 3 and 11 points for driving violations. If you are caught speeding 10 miles per hour over the limit, you’ll earn 3 DMV points. If you’re going more than 40 miles per hour over the limit, the penalty is 11 DMV points.
In New York, earning 11 or more points on your driver’s license within 18 months can result in immediate suspension of your driving privileges. These laws are different in other states.
What about points in other states?
In most cases, traffic citations in other states don’t count toward the DMV points system in your home state. In New York, for example, you don’t earn points in other states unless you are issued a citation in Ontario or Quebec. However, if you are given a ticket in another state, it’s important to keep track of any points you earn.
What are the penalties for high numbers of DMV points?
The suspension of your driver’s license is perhaps the most important penalty for racking up too many DMV points. However, you can also incur additional fines if you receive a traffic citation and you’ve already accrued points for previous infractions. And your car insurance eligibility can become an issue.
The insurance company deals with DMV points differently than the state. You can earn points through your insurance company for the same infractions that earn you points with the DMV or Department of Public Safety, but the points are calculated differently and carry different weight.
You can learn more about how individual insurance companies evaluate DMV points by contacting your state’s department of insurance. Beyond that, the consequences of moving violations and car accidents are different depending on which company you use.
What if I can’t get insurance?
In addition, a high number of DMV points might render you unsuitable for traditional car insurance. This will place you in the assigned-risk insurance pool, which means you’ll have to apply for the state and be assigned to an auto insurance company. Your rates will probably be much higher than average for your geographic location, and you’ll have fewer options in terms of coverage levels.
The bottom line is that drivers should avoid accruing DMV points. They do expire after a certain period of time, but traffic citations and accidents can lead to the loss of your driver’s license and insurance eligibility.
New York State DMV