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Driver Warning: The Many Ways You Pay for a Traffic Ticket

Picture this: you’re mindlessly driving home from work, a drive you make twice a day, five days a week. The next thing you know, lights are flashing behind you. You look down and without even noticing you were speeding. You receive a speeding ticket, and now you’re left to wonder, how will this affect my car insurance rates?

Getting any sort of ticket, whether it’s a speeding ticket or simple parking ticket, is never fun, and each one comes with its own set of consequences. But the question is, which ones will cost you the most, and how will those tickets affect car insurance? How long do speeding tickets affect your insurance?

The best thing you can do is to avoid getting any ticket at all, but if you do, at least you can be prepared and know what to expect from your insurance company in the aftermath. We will go over why insurers are waiting for you to make an infraction, which infractions affect your insurance, and how much you can expect to pay for them.

Why Insurers Keep A Close Eye on Tickets

The more infractions you accumulate, the more claims you are likely to make with your insurance company because of your tendency to drive recklessly. The more claims you make, the more money you are costing them. Insurance companies would rather insure someone who doesn’t get many (or any) infractions because they will make a bigger profit.

The more tickets you get, the more you pay because you are potentially costing the insurance company more money. They begin to view you as a risk, and to cover for the potential future claims you will file, they will charge you more until you prove that you are a safe driver.

What types of tickets affect insurance?

There are many different types of traffic tickets, and each has its own cost. The cost will also depend on your insurance provider. While each company will increase rates a little differently, you can expect your insurance to go up by 20%-100% depending on what you’ve been ticketed for. Most tickets will affect your car insurance rate; only a few will not.

The few that won’t affect your insurance include parking tickets, red-light camera tickets, automated speed cameras, and driving with an expired sticker. Beyond these, just about any other ticket will cause rates to increase. The amount of the increase will depend on the ticket itself and your provider.

Traffic tickets will increase your insurance by some percentage, even if you have never been in an accident before. Traffic tickets and speeding violations will also incur an increase. In most states, there is a point system in place, and you accumulate points for each violation you get. The higher the points, the more your insurance will increase.

What Car Insurance Increases to Expect After a Violation

As you can see, there is no easy equation for what you expect to pay after each violation. There are many factors at play. But it’s safe to always assume that a ticket comes with the cost of the citation itself along with the increase in insurance.

While it would be impossible to list an exact dollar amount that your rates will increase since it depends on your insurance company, there are certain tickets that have a bigger effect than others. Here are the most common tickets that cause an increase in insurance:

  • Distracted driving (using your cell phone while driving)
  • Driving under the influence of alcohol (DUI)
  • Driving without proof of insurance
  • Not wearing your seatbelt
  • Speeding ticket

Keep in mind that if you have a violation that also includes a fender bender, your rate will go up for both the crash and the violation.

How much a ticket affects your rate will also depend on your driving record. For example, if you receive a speeding ticket and have no prior infractions, you may not see a change in your premium at all. However, if you were to receive a DUI, you would see a major increase in your premium, regardless of any previous infractions.

How Much You’ll Pay and When

While you don’t necessarily have to report your tickets to your insurance company, they do have access to your driving record, and they can run the history before renewing your premium. This is what will cause the increase in your rate. So, if you’ve received a citation, you might not see an immediate change, but you can expect it at your next renewal.

The best-case scenario is not to receive any tickets at all, but things happen. It’s a part of life. The best thing you can do is be prepared for what will change if you are to receive a citation. Knowing these details will help you budget and plan, and maybe keep you from pressing down on the gas too hard.

Sam Timmerman writes and researches for the auto insurance comparison site, AutoInsurance.org. She enjoys helping others stay safe while driving as well as save money.

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