There are a multitude of factors that affect your car insurance rates, and traffic tickets can certainly be one of them. However, if you're wondering exactly how they may affect your rates, the answer is not that simple. As usual, each insurance company has a different policy when it comes to traffic tickets. And each state has its own regulations regarding driving records. I'll give you some tips to minimize the impact of a traffic ticket to help keep your premiums low.
Apart from state regulations, each insurance company has its own policy regarding traffic tickets. This is why it is a good idea to become familiar with your insurer's policy to have a clear idea of how tickets may impact your insurance premiums. Having a good relationship with your insurance company can also help keep your rates low in the event of a traffic ticket.
But, what if you get a traffic ticket in a different state, will that affect your insurance rate? Considering that the majority of states participate in interstate programs to share this type of information, it could affect your rates the same way as if you got a ticket in your state of residence. The moment that an out-of-state ticket shows up on your MVR (Motor Vehicle Report), the state you live in will decide how it affects your driving record - this largely depends on what happened and where it happened. As soon as this information appears on your driving record, your insurance company will determine if it affects your auto insurance rates.
There are many different types of traffic tickets, with some of them being considered relatively minor - such as speeding tickets for exceeding the speed limit by less than 5 miles per hour. However, if you have a history of repeated incidents, or major violations like drunk or reckless driving, you can expect to see your insurance premiums soar. If you repeatedly continue to get traffic tickets, you could also face losing your insurance altogether - even two tickets in a row may cause your insurer to drop you!
On the flip side, there is hope for the minor offender. According to a recent study, only 31% of US citizens who got a traffic ticket in the past 5 years saw their rates rise as a result. However, younger drivers were not so lucky since 41% claimed to have paid significantly more after a violation.
According to the Insurance Information Institute, auto insurance rate increases mainly depend on the type of violation. Violations that are considered significant and that can raise your premiums up to 50% (if done in succession) include running red lights, passing illegally, reckless driving, illegal u-turn, driving the wrong way or driving faster than 30 miles over the speed limit. If you have a child, apart from obvious safety reasons, make sure to keep your child in the proper seating restraint - failure to do so is also a significant violation.
If you do get a traffic ticket, it is important to bear in mind that paying a fine is admitting fault. And if you admit guilt to a traffic ticket, you won't be able to contest it at a later date. For this reason, it is advisable to contact your insurance company before paying the fine to find out how a ticket will raise your rates. With this important information at hand, you will be able to make a wiser decision regarding your ticket.
If you are proven not guilty, in certain cases the traffic ticket may be erased from your driving record. If it is erased from your record, then you can be sure that it won't affect your insurance premiums. In some states, you can have a single minor infraction dismissed as long as you haven't had any traffic tickets in the past 3 years.
If your rates have risen as a direct result of traffic tickets, there are a couple important steps you can take to lower them:
Take a defensive driving course to remove marks from your driving record (in some states). In certain states, insurance companies may be required to lower your premium after successfully completing a safe driving course.
Shop around to find cheaper auto insurance rates. Compare insurance quotes from other insurance companies to your own policy to find a rate that suits your budget more adequately. Shopping around can help you find rates that differ significantly from your own insurer. It helps to know what kind of auto insurance you need before calling for quotes. The two most common types of auto insurance are auto liability insurance - which is mandatory in most states - and collision & comprehensive auto insurance.
Find the best auto insurance rates today by simply choosing your state in the box below!