With tickets being a main source of revenue for most cities and states, the cost of a single ticket may run you hundreds of dollars. However, the real bite can come later in the form of an increase to your auto insurance rate. A recent survey of the insurance industy by Improv Traffic School found that traffic tickets for common traffic violations can adversely affect your insurance rates by as much as 25%. Following are the top 10 violations that result in the highest insurance rate increases:

  1. Reckless driving: 20-25%
  2. Driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs (first offense): 18-21%
  3. Driving without a license: 16-18%
  4. Distracted driving (cell phone use, etc.): 15- 18%
  5. Driving over the speed limit (30 mph or more): 15%
  6. Not stopping at a stop sign: 15-16%
  7. Improper turning: 12- 14%
  8. Passing another vehicle: 14%
  9. Tailgating: 13%
  10. Not stopping or yielding the right-of-way: 9%

Take Advantage of Traffic School

When you get a traffic ticket, especially for a violation that falls into the top 10 category for insurance rate hikes, ask for traffic school. In many states, it also is reffered to as a defensive driving course but it is really the same thing. In most cases, you need to take care of your ticket within a few weeks to a few months. Once it’s on your driving record it stays there, so request traffic school within the required time period.

States like Arizona, California, Florida, and Texas offer state-wide traffic school programs. However, in the event that the state does not offer a traffic school program, many judges may allow you to complete traffic school online or in a classroom from a nationally accredited provider.

Other Options to Save on Your Auto Insurance

  • Consolidate your auto and home insurance providers to receive a discount for having multiple policies.
  • Ask your insurance agent if they offer a good student discount or an additional discount for taking a defensive driving course.
  • Increase your comprehensive and collision deductibles to save up to 30%. If your car is not worth that much, you may even consider dropping these coverages.
  • Lower coverage limits, if possible.