License points are used in Georgia as a way to keep track of bad drivers. The more serious the violation, the more points will be added to your license. If you get 15 points on your driving record within 24 months, your license will be suspended. But there are other consequences, too, including a negative impact on your auto insurance rates.
How Can License Points Affect Insurance Rates in Georgia?
Although insurance carriers in Georgia don’t reference license points directly when deciding rates, a violation on your record will certainly impact your premium. Even if you already have auto insurance, your carrier may increase your premium, cancel your policy, or deny renewal if you have since committed a violation.
Points on your license are a sign from the state you are not a careful driver, which is a risk to an insurance carrier. Insurers are always looking for ways to cut costs (which, by the way, is why you need an Atlanta car accident lawyer if an accident wasn’t your fault). If you have points on your record, especially if they result from a serious violation, the insurance company will see you as likely to cost them more money. They can respond by either charging you more for coverage or terminating your policy.
If you’ve been convicted of a traffic violation one or more times, it’s a good idea to keep track of your license points and when they come off. Points stay on your driving record for two years from the date they were added. You can obtain a copy of your Driving History Report from the Georgia Department of Driver Services (DDS) online, in person, or by mail.
Are License Points and Insurance Points the Same Thing?
License points are not the same thing as insurance points. Insurance companies often use their own points system when calculating rates and deciding coverage eligibility. The point system varies per insurance company, and the insurer doesn’t usually share these points with the public. (You may be able to find out the specifics of an insurer’s rating system by contacting the Georgia Office of Insurance.) These insurance points are completely separate from license points, although they can sometimes match up because (like license points) they are assigned based on the severity of a violation.
The insurance company will assign a higher point value if a violation is more severe. The more insurance points you build up as a driver, the better chance your insurance premium will go up. However, if you are able to go an extended time without new violations or insurance claims, your point value can decrease over time. As a result, your insurance rates can decrease.
Keep in mind that having points on your license can also mean you’ll be required to purchase SR-22 insurance. If that is the case, you will need to find an insurance carrier that offers SR-22.
How Does SR-22 Car Insurance Relate to License Points?
SR-22 car insurance is actually a type of certificate rather than insurance coverage. It’s sometimes referred to as a certificate of financial responsibility (CFR). This is a document your insurance company will send to the state of Georgia confirming your policy is active and meets the minimum liability requirements. In other words, it shows the state you are responsible for your coverage.
You are usually required to obtain a SR-22 insurance certificate in situations like:
- Several moving violations in a short period of time
- Being convicted of drunk driving or negligent driving
- Getting caught driving with a suspended license or without car insurance coverage
Although simply having any points on your license doesn’t mean you’ll necessarily need SR-22 insurance, insurers will see more serious situations (like above) as significant demonstrations of poor driving. So, the actions that come along with having points on your license may lead to an SR-22 requirement.
Also, if your license is suspended from accruing 15 or more points on your driving record, you might need to purchase an SR-22 document before you can get your license reinstated. You will normally be notified by the court or the state if you have to meet SR-22 insurance requirements.
Is There a Way to Keep Points from Being Added to My License?
If you receive a ticket for a moving violation, you may be able to prevent points from being added to your license. You can try contesting the ticket, or you might be offered the chance to complete a defensive driving course and present a completion certificate to the DDS. If you are successful, you may avoid getting points added to your record.
You can also request a points reduction of up to seven points once every five years. To do this, you’ll also need to complete a defense driver’s course and submit a certificate of completion to the DDS.
At John Foy & Associates, we communicate and negotiate with auto insurance companies regularly on behalf of our clients. If you were hurt in a car accident caused by a negligent driver, our Atlanta car accident lawyers can help you seek the compensation you deserve. Get a FREE consultation by calling 404-400-4000, or contacting us here.