If you’re like most people today, finding ways to save money is your #1 obsession. But if you have one or more traffic violations, your car insurance rates may be taking back every penny you work so hard to save.

If you’re feeling trapped in a traffic ticket pile up, here are three ways to dig yourself out of the unwelcome weight of higher insurance rates:

1. Shop around for a better rate. The first thing you should do is to compare quotes from various car insurance companies to see if you can find a lower rate.

According to an Insurance.com analysis of more than 32,000 insurance policies sold in 2010, drivers who bought a one-car, single-driver policy last year and had one violation in their driving history paid an average of 18 percent more for car insurance than drivers with no violations.

The numbers get worse as your offenses pile up. Drivers with two violations paid 34 percent more for insurance, and drivers with three violations tacked on a whopping 53 percent to their insurance costs when compared to drivers who were violation-free.

If you decide to shop around for a better deal, investigate new companies carefully to avoid any policy pitfalls.

2. Take a driver safety course. Some states reduce or expunge points from your driving record if you take a defensive driving class. Depending on where you live, your auto insurance company may be required to lower your car insurance premium after you complete the course.

For instance, New York offers a Point and Insurance Reduction Program (PIRP). If you are the principal operator of a motor vehicle registered in the state of New York, and you complete an approved PIRP course, you will receive a minimum 10% reduction in the base rate of your automobile and motorcycle liability and collision insurance premiums each year for three years.

To learn more about the driver safety courses and point and insurance reduction in New York, please visit: https://transact.dmv.ny.gov/pirp/#ipirp.

In many states, insurance companies have point systems that are different from their DMV driver violation point system. Contact your insurance company about their point system and find out how completing a driver safety course may reduce your rate.

3. Raise your deductible. Drivers who raise their collision and comprehensive deductibles from $250 to $500 or $1,000 will see their annual premium fall. However, before taking this route, make sure you have enough money in savings to cover the deductible should you have to make a claim.

Which violation hurts your rate the most?

Car insurance rates soar for drivers who have one moving violation and jump by more than 50 percent after three.

Some of the violations that hurt your car insurance rates the most include:

  • Speeding tickets
  • Driving under the influence of drugs or alcohol
  • Careless or reckless driving
  • Running red lights
  • Failure to yield or stop at a sign
  • Fleeing from police
  • Driving the wrong way down a divided highway
  • Improper passing
  • Unsafe U-turn
  • Failure to use a child restraint

Obviously, a DUI is going to be one of the worst for rate increases. But each insurer calculates rates differently, so a specific type of violation may be priced higher by one insurer than by another.

Drivers with three or more violations worry about becoming uninsurable, but those fears may be unfounded. It’s just a matter of finding the right rate for that risk.

If an insurer raises your auto insurance rate after a violation, there are still ways to cut those costs. Following these three steps will help you stave off higher insurance rates – before they bury you.

The original article can be found at Insurance.com:
Car insurance rates soar as tickets pile up