If you've ever gotten a speeding ticket, you have heard the term 'points' and may have even offered to pay a fine or go to traffic school to avoid those points. How, then, does your insurance company end up finding out about your ticket anyway?
There are two different types of 'points' as they relate to driving: points on your license and points for insurance.
According to the Michigan Secretary of State (https://www.michigan.gov/sos/0,4670,7-127-1627_8665_9066-23757--,00.html):
"Each time you are convicted of a traffic violation, you will have to pay certain court fines and costs. In addition, points may be posted to your driver record. Under Michigan's point system, each traffic violation has a point value, which is set by law in the Michigan Vehicle Code. Points are placed on your driver record only after you have been convicted or found guilty of or responsible for a civil infraction. Points placed on your driver record remain there for two years from the date of conviction. If you believe there are extenuating circumstances for the ticket you received, these must be submitted when you appear in court. The Secretary of State cannot set aside a court conviction or the points for it."
Different traffic violations carry different point values, from two points for speeding 10 mph or less, to six points for reckless driving. If you are successfully able to get your points waived, this may help prevent your license from getting suspended from too many points, however, it doesn't mean you won't pay higher insurance for having the violation in the first place.
Traffic violations and automobile accidents both lead to points on an insurance carrier's rating system. Sometimes referred to as eligibility points, insurance points are assigned in a similar manner as points on your license: more points for more serious offenses. Insurance carriers add up the points from your violations to determine whether or not you are eligible to be insured and how much your rate will be. These points don't affect your driver license but they do determine whether or not you can be insured and how much your insurance will cost.
It is not uncommon for us to talk with a customer who is surprised we know about a speeding ticket and that they are going to pay more because of it. They were under the impression that getting the points waived in court made it so the ticket didn't exist. We don't like to be the bearer of bad news, but that's simply not true. Insurance pricing is based on risk, and whether or not you were fined or paid points for a ticket, if you were exhibiting risky behavior (like speeding) and got caught, there is no way around paying more for your insurance because of it.
The best thing you can do is drive safely. Follow posted speed limits, don't drink and drive, don't text and drive, and follow posted signs. The next best thing, if you do commit a violation, is remember that time heals all wounds. Many tickets and accidents start to hurt insurance prices less after 3 years; after 5 years it's like the ticket or accident never happened.
If you have questions about this or any insurance topic, call the experts at Levin Insurance Agency at (248) 531-8300. We are here to help!
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