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New Jersey Driver
14 February 2017

What Is The Difference Between Driver’s License Points & Car Insurance Points?

New Jersey DriverAll New Jersey drivers are familiar with the NJMVC – New Jersey Motor Vehicle Commission’s “points system” that penalizes drivers for certain traffic violations by assigning “points” to the driver’s license. A driver who receives too many points within a certain period of time can have his or her license suspended and driving privileges revoked.

Most people, however are not familiar with a separate point system used by insurance companies to track your driving history and set premiums.

Evan Levow, New Jersey DWI defense lawyer, explains everything you need to know about these two points systems in the State of New Jersey, below.

Standard Motor Vehicle Points System In New Jersey

Every driver in the State of New Jersey has an official driving record that is tracked by the Motor Vehicle Commission (MVC). Your official record with the MVC will include any traffic violations that you’ve been convicted of over the course of your driving career.

An out-of-state licensed driver who commits a motor vehicle violation in New Jersey will have a New Jersey Driver’s License number created as a result of the violation that will exist forever.

Common violations that carry points from NJMVC include:

  •       Failure to yield to pedestrian in crosswalk (2 points)
  •       Wrong way on a one-way street (2 points)
  •       Tailgating (5 points)
  •       Reckless driving (5 points)
  •       Exceeding maximum speed 1-14 mph over limit (2 points)
  •       Exceeding maximum speed 15-29 mph over limit (4 points)
  •       Exceeding maximum speed 30 mph or more over limit (5 points)

For a full list of the most common traffic violations in New Jersey and the amount of points associated with each one, click here.

NJMVC does not assess any points for a DWI violation, because the penalty, i.e. the suspension, is built into the statute.

How Do Standard Motor Vehicle Points Affect You?

License Suspension StampIf you receive too many points on your license then you will be penalized with a surcharge and/or license suspension.

For example, any driver who receives six or more points on his or her license within the past 3 years will be assessed a $150 Surcharge plus $25 for each additional point.

Likewise, if you get 12 or more points on your current driving record then your license will be suspended. The points that you receive on your license may also result in higher car insurance rates.

Even though a DWI does not result in assessment of points, it does come with a hefty $3,000 surcharge from the State for first and second offenders, and the driver’s insurance company surcharges the insured about that same amount,  as well.

Can I Get Rid Of Standard Motor Vehicle Points On My License?

Yes.

The Motor Vehicle Commission (MVC) will always keep a permanent record of any points that you’ve received on your license in the past and there is no way to get rid of points on your permanent record.

However, it is still possible to get rid of points on your temporary record (points within the past 3 years) which count towards a license suspension if you receive too many. This can be done through safe driving over a certain period of time and/or the completion of driving courses that are approved by the MVC.

Here are a few ways to earn point reductions on your license in New Jersey:

  •       One year with no violations or suspensions (-3 points)
  •       Completion of Defensive Driving Program (-2 points)
  •       Completion of Driver Improvement Program (-3 points)
  •       Probationary Driver Program (-3 points)

You can never expunge your driving record, however.  Only certain criminal offenses may be expunged in New Jersey.

Car Insurance Points System

Car insurance points are assigned to you for specific incidents in your driving history, such as traffic violations that you’ve been convicted of or auto accidents that you’ve been involved in.

The auto insurance points system is an important tool used by insurance companies in order to determine your relative risk as a driver. In other words, a driver with more insurance company points is considered a “riskier” driver and will typically have higher auto insurance rates.

How Does The Car Insurance Points System Work?

It is important to know that car insurance points are recorded on the insurance company’s internal record and do not affect your official driving record with the Motor Vehicle Commission.

However, points that you receive on your official driving record with the DMV can affect your insurance company record.

For example, if you are convicted of  “reckless driving” in the State of New Jersey, then the Motor Vehicle Commission will likely assign 5 points to your license. Likewise, your insurance company will likely add a certain number of points to their internal record of your driving history because you were convicted of a moving violation.

But insurance companies can also assign you points for other incidents or factors, such as:

  •       Previous insurance claims you’ve made
  •       Having a bad credit score
  •       Using your vehicle for work purposes
  •       Driving a vehicle that is considered “unsafe”
  •       Previous periods without car insurance

Each insurance company has a different system and weighs certain factors differently so you may have more car insurance points with Geico than you do with State Farm Insurance, but the general rule of thumb is that more car insurance points means higher auto insurance rates.

How Do I Find Out How Many Insurance Company Points I Have?

The auto insurance points system is tracked internally by each insurance company and the insurance companies do not have a duty to share their records with you. That said, most of the companies will tell you how many points you have if you call and ask.

Just like the official points system used by the DMV, you can get rid of car insurance points by maintaining a safe driving record over an extended period of time.

Levow DWI Law: Educating Drivers In New Jersey & Beyond

Levow DWI Law is an award-winning DUI defense law firm dedicated to representing drivers arrested on DWI charges in New Jersey.

Our DUI defense attorneys have defended the rights of drivers throughout the State of New Jersey over the years and have noticed that there are far too many drivers who are simply unaware of their rights as drivers.

As a result, we are committed to educating drivers in New Jersey and throughout the country on their rights, as well as on general information about driving, like the car insurance points system explained above.

You can learn more about New Jersey’s DWI laws and find other useful information by visiting our blog or exploring our website.