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Every at-fault accident, violation and DUI leaves a blemish on your record in the form of points. The fewer points you have, the cleaner your driving record is.

Every insurance company weighs, and assigns points differently, but it will have an effect on your insurance rate. Lots of points mean higher insurance premiums because it means you are more likely to file a claim.

Each type of infraction is assigned a certain number of points. Here are a few examples:

At-Fault Accident - 2 points the first time, 3 the second, and 2 for each additional occurrence.

Driving Under the Influence - 1 point the first time, 2 points the second, and 3 for each occurrence thereafter.

Major Violations 4 points for each occurrence. What constitutes a major violation differs from insurance company to insurance company, but in general they include major infractions, such as driving with a suspended license, reckless or negligent driving, drag racing, use of a vehicle to commit a felony, hit and run, refusing to stop or fleeing an officer, vehicular homicide or manslaughter, and driving under the influence of alcohol or narcotics.

Minor Violations 2 points for first occurrence, 1 point for second, and 1 point for each there after. Charges can include blocking or retarding traffic, crossing yellow line/ driving left of center, disobeying traffic lights or signs or signals, driving with blocked vision or tinted window, failure to maintain financial responsibility, failure to signal, tailgating, improper backing, seat belt violations etc. There are many more situations that can constitute a minor violation.

Speeding 3 points the first time, 2 the second, and 2 for each thereafter.

No charge violation 0 points. A violation where no one is charged.

Not at fault collision 0 points. A violation where you were not at fault.

Points definitely play a role in determining your insurance premiums, but it is far from being the only method of evaluation. Every insurance company takes into account what sort of points you have, and how many you have of each. Each insurance company also has different dollar to point ratios so there is no telling precisely how much your insurance will rise per point.

Most likely, your first few points will have less of an impact on your premiums. Filing a claim is likely to raise your insurance, but it should not impact the overall rate too much if your record was clean before then. The more claims you file, the faster your insurance rates will rise; a major violation can raise your premiums by as much as 26 percent.

Different types of points stay on your record for varying lengths of time depending on the state. Points from a speeding ticket will have an impact of around three years. Points from major violations may take longer drop off your record. In general, give it three to five years.

It should be noted that parking tickets do not directly affect your points. However, they can lead to situations that will eventually affect your points. License suspensions resulting from unpaid parking tickets can affect your insurance rates. Unpaid parking tickets can also affect your credit score, which in turn will affect insurance rates if you are shopping for new insurance.

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