There is a common misconception out there that points and insurance are highly linked. While insurance companies often associate the severity of a ticket with the points assigned by a state, people mistakenly assume that insurance companies focus on the points.

The reality is, your insurance company does not pay as much attention to points as you think. And unfortunately, that has led a lot of people to accept deals when they get tickets, particularly more severe tickets, thinking it will absolve them or limit the impact to their insurance or insurability.

In this blog post we’ll talk a little bit about the points system, but more importantly, we’ll focus on what insurance companies actually look at when determining the impact of your driving record on premiums and even your eligibly. In particular, we’ll talk about how these impact enthusiast, collector and agreed value insurance.

Points System

First, let’s talk about the points system. The system can vary from state to state, but for the sake our this article we’ll try to keep things general.

The points system is a way for states to assign “points” to each moving violation or infraction. If you accumulate too many points in a specific time period, the state can suspend your license for excessive moving violations.

For example, in Georgia drivers are allotted a maximum of 15 points in a rolling 24 month period. Moving violations vary from 2 to 6 points. Some common examples:

  • Disregard of Traffic Control Device or Signal – 3 points
  • Failure to Signal – 3 points
  • Speeding: 15-18 mph-2 points, 19-23 mph-3 points, 24-33 mph-4 points, 34+ mph-6 points


As we mention, the system varies from state to state. For example, in North Carolina you are allotted 12 points for a rolling 3 year period.

What’s really important is to note this little note from the NC Dot Website:  (Insurance companies use a different point system to determine insurance rates.). The DMV points system is not an insurance system and insurance companies, in most instances, are NOT bound to it.

Motor Vehicle Report (MVR)

Points are calculated based on convictions so it’s important to be aware of what’s on your MVR report. Most people have heard of these reports, particularly if they are a commercial or professional driver. MVR reports contain information about driving records by licensed drivers in their respective state.

Each state maintains and issues their own report. Again, as an example, the Department of Driver Services produces the reports and offers it a number of ways. Individuals in Georgia can even request their own MVR reports but what’s available and how you obtain it will vary by state. You can generally find the options for your specific state by googling “MVR report [state name]”. There are also third party services that offer MVR reports.

The MVR is important because it contains the state’s information on every violation reported on your license. Most likely, that’s what your insurance company will see when looking into your driving history.

Certified and Non-Certified MVR Reports

In some states, MVR reports are offered as certified and non-certified reports. Certified reports are considered official and are often required when applying for jobs. It’s also the type of report used by insurance agencies and other official uses.

Non-certified reports are for “informational purposes”. This are generally what you’ll get when you pull your own MVR to view online.

Insurance Uses MVR Reports Not Points

Your insurance company will pull your MVR and assess the insurance score, points and risk of your violations and infractions. They do NOT align to your states point system. So what matters most is, when you pull your report, if a moving violation is listed, that is what your insurance company assesses. If the violation is present, even if it’s lowered to 0 points, you may likely will be assessed the full impact of the violation.

You may find even if you plead down points that insurance companies decline you for moving violations, particularly if they are of a serious nature or you have multiple in a short period of time. You also are likely paying your insurance premium based off of what is in your MVR, not your points calculation.

Defensive Driving Courses

Another common action recommended to reduce points or lower the impact of a ticket, fine, or legal burden is defensive driving. While insurance companies often off discounts for successful defensive driving courses, they do not modify the reported infraction. Defensive driving may reduce or remove points but it does not in and of itself remove the implications on your driving record.

Insurance companies also generally will use infractions to determine eligibility but only use defensive driving courses to provide a discount. So if you find yourself being turned down for insurance or paying a high premium, while a defensive driving certificate will provide a discount, it will not likely substantially offset moving violations that are either serious in nature or if you have several moving violations in a short period.

How To Help Yourself

This blog post is intended to be informational, this should absolutely not be considered legal or insurance advice. Every case is different and we can’t possibly know all of your particular variables.

Here are a few ideas if you find yourself in a situation:

1. While getting points dropped is beneficial, particularly if you are getting near your states maximum for suspension, they should not be your focus for insurance.

2. If you talk to a lawyer, clerk or prosecutor and are offered a reduction in points, explore pleading to a lesser offense. The lesser offense may reduce what is reported on your MVR and benefit you in the long run on your insurance.

3. Go to your states website and pull for MVR. Make sure there are no mistakes on what is reported.

4. Shop for insurance knowing what’s on your MVR. Be honest with your insurance agent. A good insurance agent will know how to help in your particular situation. Lying doesn’t really help you as the insurance companies will pull your MVR and know anyway. Also, if you are not up front about your MVR you are more likely to get quotes that seem ideal, but will go up during the underwriting process when they get more information (assuming you don’t just get declined).


Bottom line – so many car enthusiasts agreed to reduced points and fines, only to wind up surprised when their insurance company finds out about the ticket anyway. The reality is points mean very little when it comes to insurance. What matters is what the violation looks like as it appears on your MVR. While driving safely is always the best way to avoid insurance increases, if you do find yourself getting a ticket, particularly if it’s serious in nature, don’t go it alone. The impacts can be substantial in the long run.

For Information Purposes Only

Of course, like all of our blog posts – this information is intended to be educational. This blog post is intended for general knowledge and is not direct insurance or legal advice. You should read and review any policies carefully and/or get legal help if you need it.

Shift Brokers Can Help You Navigate

We also recommend you work with an insurance broker who can help you navigate different policies. The best part about brokers are, they don’t represent the insurance companies. They represent you.

Shift Brokers is car insurance for car enthusiasts. We can help you understand the how different carriers will value your specialty car. In addition, we can help you select from insurance companies that will get you the kind of service and coverage you need. And because we are car enthusiasts ourselves and specialize in policies for car enthusiasts, we can help you navigate the unique needs and situations only car enthusiasts find themselves in. The best part is, because we are brokers, we represent you, not the insurance companies.

Request a quote and lets start talking cars.