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Driver’s license demerit points can drive up insurance costs

Every driver in Virginia starts driving with a clean slate. They must pass a test to secure a driver’s license. They can then operate a registered and insured vehicle on public roads. However, if police officers spot them violating traffic laws or if they cause a crash, they may then receive a citation.

Traffic tickets or citations are technically allegations of traffic violations. People who pay their tickets plead guilty to the claim that they broke traffic statutes. Many motorists view that implied guilty plea as the best option. This approach fails to consider the driver’s license points or demerit points that show up on someone’s record after a traffic offense.

How do demerit points work?

Driver’s license points or demerit points are a way for the state to track someone’s behavior at the wheel. There is a certain number of points assessed for a specific type of traffic violation. A low-level speeding offense carries three points points. Reckless driving can carry six points. Those points can lead to someone losing their license. Even before that happens, those points could drastically increase someone’s insurance costs.

Insurance companies can see demerit points

Insurance providers have to consider the likelihood that a driver might cause a crash that leads to expensive claims. The more traffic violations someone has on their record and the more serious those infractions are, the more likely they are to eventually cause a wreck.

Every time someone changes insurance providers or renews their policy, the insurance company looks at state demerit points. The company may assess insurance points internally that correspond to the number of points on someone’s state record. The business may also have a complex formula that integrates the number of driver’s license points along with other key details about a driver.

Even one traffic violation could be enough to significantly increase someone’s premium. More serious offenses and repeat tickets can drive someone’s costs up by hundreds of dollars per year or more. In some cases, motorists may not even be eligible for the same coverage with the same company because they represent too much risk.

Drivers can fight tickets and demerit points

The only way to avoid that increase in insurance costs is to defend against a traffic citation. Motorists can prevent any points from accruing on their license at all in many cases. Going to traffic court to fight a ticket can help someone avoid demerit points. Drivers can also request the removal of demerit points from their records. Expunging points from one’s state record could make it easier to ask the insurance company to reduce the insurance points it has on record and therefore, the premium for the policy.

Recognizing that paying a ticket could result in secondary financial consequences is an important step. Those who know about demerit points may see the value in defending against recent traffic citations, instead of paying fines – and accepting fault – as a matter of course.

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