Will a Traffic Ticket Increase My Car Insurance Rates?
We all know we should obey the traffic laws. Still, most of us have been guilty of, say, going over the speed limit when we’re in a rush, or making a U-turn where we’re not supposed to.
But when you break the rules of the road, a traffic ticket isn’t the only price you’ll pay. You’re also looking at an increase in your monthly auto insurance rates. Why? If you have tickets or a car accident on your record, you’re considered a high-risk driver (i.e. more likely to file an insurance claim). As a result, insurance companies will charge you higher car insurance rates.
If you’re looking for low-cost auto insurance, there are some traffic laws you can’t afford to break. Keep reading as we cover everything you need to know about how traffic violations can affect your car insurance rates — and how you can save on your monthly premium.
What Drivers Need to Know About Traffic Violations
Traffic tickets aren’t the only penalty you’ll receive after committing a driving infraction. Most states have rules regarding how such violations affect your driver’s license status. If you accumulate too many points, it can cause your driver’s license to be suspended or revoked. And then there’s the penalties from your insurance company.
See, unlike the state, your auto insurance provider can’t revoke your license, but it can enforce its own penalties. Insurers assign points to their members to help determine the rates they assign to different drivers. The more serious your driving violation, the more points they give you—which results in a higher insurance premium each month. If you accumulate too many points, they may consider you a high-risk driver and not renew your policy in serious cases.
The Impact of a Speeding Ticket on Your Insurance by State
Next time you’re tempted to break the speed limit, you might want to think about how much it will cost in the long run. Even after you’ve paid off a traffic ticket for speeding, it will continue to impact your insurance premium every month. Here’s how much you can expect your auto insurance rates by state to increase:
District of Columbia– 15%
New Hampshire– 14%
New Jersey– 39%
New Mexico– 17%
New York– 27%
North Carolina– 15%
North Dakota– 18%
Rhode Island– 26%
South Carolina– 19%
South Dakota– 19%
West Virginia– 17%
How Long Does a Traffic Violation Stay on Your Record?
You may think that once you’ve paid off that annoying traffic ticket, you’re in the clear, but its impact can linger on your record for years. A single speeding ticket raises insurance rates at an average of 25%—and even more for more serious violations. To top it off, most insurance companies implement this percentage hike and keep it on your driving record for an average of three years!
So just how long can you expect this frustrating rate increase to last? It depends on several different factors, including:
Your insurance carrier: Depending on the provider, traffic violations may be handled differently. Some providers may only count the past two years for minor violations, while others may go back three years or more. Most insurance carriers offer a “good driver” discount to lower your rates, but only for those with a clean driving record for a specified number of years. The length of time here also varies by provider and state, so it’s in your best interest to contact your provider about how long your increased rate will last.
The type of traffic violation: Of course, forgetting to use your blinker versus driving under the influence carry very different levels of penalty. For example, if you’re caught driving 6-10 mph over the speed limit, your insurance rate will increase at about 20%, while speeding 21-25 mph over the limit can raise rates to 26%. However, dangerous violations carry a severe penalty, such as a 70-80% increase for reckless driving or driving under the influence. To make matters worse, it may take up to ten years to clear your record of such serious violations.
Where you live: Receivinga ticket for a traffic violation can raise your car insurance rate no matter where you live, but the additional costs vary dramatically across state lines. For example, a (DUI) can increase rates 181% ($3,200+) in California, while the same offense only increases rates by 42% ($480+) in Indiana. It’s all dependent on how insurance is regulated in each state.
How to Avoid Increased Auto Insurance Rates?
So what happens if you get a ticket for light speeding, or another relatively minor infraction? The good news is that there are some steps you can take to alleviate a spike in your rate—especially if it’s a one-time thing.
Increase your policy deductible: Talk to your insurance company about increasing the deductible on your policy, which may help lower your premiums.
Ask your insurer about discounts: Many insurance companies offer these reductions for students, seniors, military and federal employees, and those who take defensive driving lessons from a certified or registered school. Some providers also partner with professional and academic organizations that provide their members or employees with additional discounts.
Switch to a provider that specializes in high-risk drivers: Insurers that offer SR-22 insurance may help you save some money each month. An SR-22 is a certificate that your carrier files with the state when you buy your policy, required as proof of financial responsibility for drivers who have had accidents, excessive tickets, or a DUI.
Minor violation forgiveness: This extra coverage protects you against a surge in your monthly premium in the event of a minor traffic violation. In most cases, the “forgiveness” applies only once per policy, and the coverage renews after three years.
Accident forgiveness: Just like minor violation forgiveness, this coverage helps you avoid a premium increase and points on your license by “forgiving” your first covered accident.
Want to Lower Your Auto Insurance Rates for Good?
One of the best ways to keep your rates down is to find an insurance policy that offers you low-cost coverage—and we’ve done all the searching for you. Thanks to our fast and affordable online insurance quotes, you can choose a plan that beats your previous rates—while still offering the same comprehensive coverage! Get yours today and enjoy the peace of mind that you’ll be protected—while also saving money every month.