In New Jersey auto insurance companies use eligibility points to determine any surcharges applied based on your specific driving behavior. Instead of applying surcharges on a case by case basis, the state passed legislation in 1990 that regulated how insurance companies could vary premiums based on your driving history. In doing so they created a point system that tied the motor vehicle points on a drivers license to the new surcharge system.
Like the motor vehicle points, having a higher number of points indicates a history of riskier behavior and can impact your car insurance offerings. As with points on your license, the "look-back" period with eligibility points is 3 years, meaning that any points you've accumulated from events greater than 3 years ago will be removed from your record.
How Do Eligibility Points Impact Your Car Insurance?
Eligibility points can impact your car insurance offerings in two major ways. The first is in how much you will have to pay for car insurance coverage. Insurers use the number of auto insurance eligibility points in determining the size of surcharges to apply towards your rate. A higher number of insurance points will equate to higher premiums and do not necessarily scale linearly.
The second effect of these points is the insurers you can shop from. Drivers with less than 7 eligibility points are eligible to shop for insurance on the voluntary market or standard market. This market is where most consumers get their car insurance coverage, with insurers choosing who they wish to insure or reject based on risk. Being ineligible from the voluntary market creates an issue for high risk drivers as they are still required to have insurance. In these cases, those consumers with greater than 7 points will receive insurance through the assigned risk pool or the PAIP program in New Jersey.
How Are Eligibility Points Accumulated?
New and inexperienced drivers automatically start with 3 eligibility points often known as inexperience points. Unlike points accumulated through motor vehicle incidents, these inexperience points do not have a 3 year look back and instead are reduced by one point per year of driving experience. With inexperienced operators beginning with an initial base of points, this puts them at greater risk of being disqualified from the voluntary market. Below is a table of major (Schedule 1) motor vehicle violations and the number of moving violation points and eligibility points they incur.
|Violation||Number of Points|
|Driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs||9|
|Racing on the highway||5|
|Exceeding the maximum speed limit by 15 - 29 miles per hour||4|
|Improper passing of a school bus||5|
|Leaving the scene of an accident||8|
|Each at fault accident*||5|
*Points for at fault accidents only accrue once the insurer has made payments of at least $1,000.
As you can see the major violations of DUI and leaving the scene of an accident will effectively put anyone into a high risk category. For newer drivers however because of the inexperience points, racing on the highway, reckless driving, excessive speeding or even passing a school bus can easily put them in the riskier pool. The state of New Jersey also has a list of minor violations that if you're convicted for will equate to points on your record. These violations are listed as Schedule 2 violations.
In instances where a driver is in an at-fault accident and has not earned any eligibility points in the past 3 years, any violations worth 2 or 3 points on the Schedule 2 list, that result from the same incident are ignored. Instead only the 5 points from the at-fault accident are applied. The following is a list of Schedule 2 violations and the number of points they equate to.
|Moving against traffic on the New Jersey Turnpike, Garden State Parkway, and Atlantic City Expressway||2|
|Improper passing--New Jersey Turnpike, Garden State Parkway, and Atlantic City Expressway||4|
|Unlawful use of median strip--New Jersey Turnpike, Garden State Parkway, and Atlantic City Expressway||2|
|Operating constructor vehicle in excess of 30 mph||3|
|Operating motorized bicycle on a restricted highway||2|
|More than one person on a motorized bike||2|
|Failure to yield to pedestrian in crosswalk||2|
|Failure to yield to pedestrian in crosswalk; passing a vehicle yielding to pedestrian in crosswalk||2|
|Driving through a safety zone||2|
|Racing on highway||5|
|Improper action or omission on grades and curves||2|
|Failure to observe direction of office||2|
|Failure to stop vehicle before crossing sidewalk||2|
|Failure to yield to pedestrians or vehicles while entering or leaving highway||2|
|Operating a motor vehicle on a sidewalk||2|
|Failure to obey direction of officer||2|
|Failure to observe traffic signals||2|
|Failure to keep right||2|
|Improper operating of vehicle on divided highway or divider||2|
|Failure to keep right at intersection||2|
|Failure to pass to right of vehicle proceeding in opposite direction||5|
|Improper passing on right or off roadway||4|
|Wrong way on a one-way street||2|
|Improper passing in no passing zone||4|
|Failure to yield to overtaking vehicle||2|
|Failure to observe traffic lanes||2|
|Failure to yield at intersection||2|
|Failure to use proper entrances to limited access highways||2|
|Failure to yield to emergency vehicles||2|
|Destruction of agricultural or recreational property||2|
|Slow speed blocking traffic||2|
|Exceeding maximum speed 1-14 mph over limit||2|
|Exceeding maximum speed 15-29 mph over limit||4|
|Exceeding maximum speed 30 mph or more over limit||5|
|Failure to stop for traffic light||2|
|Improper turn at traffic light||3|
|Failure to stop at flashing red signal||2|
|Failure to stop for police whistle||2|
|Improper right or left turn||3|
|Improper turn from approved turning course||3|
|Improper "U" turn||3|
|Failure to give proper signal||2|
|Improper backing or turning in street||2|
|Improper crossing of railroad grade crossing||2|
|Improper crossing of bridge||2|
|Improper crossing of railroad grade crossing by certain vehicle||2|
|Improper passing of school bus||5|
|Improper passing of a frozen dessert truck||4|
|Leaving the scene of an accident, no personal injury||2|
|Leaving the scene of an accident, personal injury||8|
|Failure to observe "stop" or "yield" signs||2|
|Moving violation out-of-state||2|