When auto insurance agencies decide on an appropriate rate for you, your driving record becomes their biggest tool. When your driving record shows a lot of traffic violations, your insurance company views you as more of a risk of getting into an accident, which ultimately costs them money.
It’s not easy to predict exactly how much a traffic ticket will cause your insurance premium to rise, but generally, the more moving violations you have on your driving record, the more you end up paying, especially with severe violations.
There have been cases where insurance premiums have been increased by 20-30% for the year from a single violation. In reality, you have to multiply that by 3 years because that’s the minimum length of time it will stay on your record.
There are plenty of seemingly small things that can get you a minor violation, but a moving violation — one that occurs when the car is moving — is the one that can increase your insurance rates.
There are a lot of different moving violations that can jack up your rate, which ranges from things like littering while driving to more serious violations like a DUI.
From the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration
Each insurance agency will differ in how they handle a traffic ticket. In some cases, an agency may increase your premium for 3 years, while another agency may lay down a surcharge that can be taken off after 12 months if you have avoided a speeding ticket or any other violation during that period.
For those who have been a long-term policy holder and hold a clean driving record, you may not experience much of an increase on your rates for the first ticket. It’s possible that your premium may not increase at all from a single speeding ticket.
Aside from the fact that different companies will vary in their rate adjustments, you can bet that a more severe violation is going to cause your rates to rise significantly.
- Getting a citation for driving with a broken headlight is not likely to cause your rates to rise significantly.
- A citation for regular speeding (not excessive) will cause your rates to rise a noticeable amount.
- If convicted of a DUI, you will experience a severe increase in your insurance premium.
Though a speeding ticket is likely going to cause increased rates, the amount over the speed limit is also taken into consideration.
For example, someone who was going 5 mph over the speed limit will experience less of an increase on their car insurance than someone who was caught going 15 mph over the speed limit. This is due to the fact that excessive speeding has been shown to lead to a higher chance of accidents, making you a bigger risk to insure.
If you get a ticket while driving outside your state of residence, you’re still at risk of seeing your premium rise.
Most of the U.S. is part of a program where they share information such as traffic tickets and anything related to your driving record. Therefore, you will find that if you receive a citation in a different state, it will usually find you. Once it shows up on your driving record, your state DMV will handle the recording.
Once your insurance agency sees it on your record, they will determine how much your insurance rates will go up.
Almost every state uses a point system by which you are given a certain amount of points for each different violation.
A serious violation will come with a higher point value, and it will stick to your DMV record for a longer period, ultimately causing your rates to stay elevated for longer.
Depending on what state you live in, the most severe violations may stay on your driving record permanently.
Simply put, the more points on your driving record, the more you will pay for car insurance.
If you’re worried about the consequences of a traffic ticket on your car insurance rates, you should not admit guilt when you get a ticket. Doing so would ensure you are not able to fight the ticket in court later on.
You should know that signing a ticket doesn’t mean you are admitting to the offense, but if you pay the fine, you’re admitting guilt. You should never pay for the traffic ticket until you have decided that you are not going to fight it in court.
If you’re undecided on whether or not to contest your ticket, you can find out how much your insurance rates will go up with your ticket and then decide if you want to contest it.
Sometimes, a traffic ticket can be completely erased off your driving record, causing it to not affect your rates. Your choices for getting a ticket off your record are:
Signing Up For Traffic School
Enrolling in a traffic school is the only way to ensure that your ticket will be taken off your record. For those who have gotten a ticket and qualify to take a traffic school course, this is the best option.
Enrolling in a Defensive Driving Course
In some states, you are allowed to finish an online defensive driving course and have your ticket taken off your record, and there may be other discounts available for those who take the course. Call your insurance company to find out if a defensive driving course may benefit you.