Traffic Tickets and Auto Insurance Rates
Every company has a different policy when it comes to traffic tickets. Some will raise your rates for 3 years, and others may apply a surcharge for the first year―one that will be removed if you have no more speeding tickets or other traffic infractions on your driving record.
When you get a traffic ticket, however, it’s good to have a positive relationship with your insurance company. Many car insurance companies won’t raise your rates after one ticket if you’ve been a loyal customer with a previously clean driving record.
If you are ticketed for speeding, how much you were exceeding the speed limit matters as well. Drivers going more than 15 miles above the posted speed limit will see their auto insurance premium increase more than drivers who are ticketed for going only 5 miles above the speed limit. Excessive speeding is linked to higher auto accident rates, which makes you a much bigger risk in the eyes of your car insurance company.
Traffic Tickets from Another State
Many people think tickets earned while traveling in another state won’t count against their auto insurance rates; however, all states are now linked together via a central database.
Your ticket will be reported regardless of where it occurs and may be used to add driving record points in your home state. If you don’t pay the ticket in a timely matter, you could even have your license suspended by the DMV in your home state.
Avoiding Higher Car Insurance Premiums
Drivers who are concerned about the impact of traffic tickets on auto insurance rates are advised not to admit guilt when they receive a ticket. If you admit guilt, you won’t be able to contest the ticket at a later date.
Keep in mind that signing a ticket isn’t an admission of guilt, but paying the fine is. Don’t pay a fine for a traffic ticket until you’ve decided not to contest the charge. It’s often a good idea to call your auto insurance provider to ask how a ticket will affect your rates before making any decision regarding your ticket.
In some cases, you can have a traffic ticket erased from your record so it won’t affect your insurance rates. Enrolling in traffic school is often an option, as is taking a defensive driving course; some states will allow you to complete an online course in order to have your ticket erased from your driving record.