If you get a traffic ticket, you might expect your car insurance rates to go up. How much depends on the type of ticket, the rest of your driving history, and your individual auto insurance company. Here's what you should know.
How Much Does a Traffic Ticket Increase Your Auto Insurance Rates?
Traffic fines are set by law. Car insurance rates, however, are not. Usually, there is no set increase for your car insurance rates after you get a ticket. How much more you'll pay depends on several factors.
The severity of the offense. Not all tickets are equal. A non-moving violation may have a very small increase or no increase at all. Speeding tickets will vary based on how far over the limit you were. Reckless driving and other serious infractions will result in the largest increases. Insurers have a lot of discretion.
Your driving record. Your driving record also comes into play. If you've never had a ticket before or haven't had one for several years, you'll probably see a smaller increase than someone who got several tickets in quick succession. There might even be no penalty at all.
Your insurance company. Each car insurance company has their own way of setting rates. They determine penalties both for the ticket itself and how it counts against other factors in your driving record. Your ticket might get you a 5% increase at one, a 10% increase at another, and a 15% increase at a third. The only way to know for sure is to compare different company policies with the help of your agent.
Can You Avoid an Auto Insurance Rate Increase?
The most common way to avoid an auto insurance rate increase is to attend a safe driving course. The rules vary based on your state and insurance company. But, taking the course may cancel out the ticket altogether or at least lower the increase. There's usually a limit on how many times and how often you can use the course option. It's usually only available for less severe offenses.
When Will Your Insurance Rates Go Up?
Car insurance companies typically review your driving record and reevaluate your rates when it's time to renew your policy. However, if you need to change your coverage, this could cause them to reevaluate your rates sooner.
Don't forget that very serious violations might result in a total policy cancellation. Some insurers simply cannot take on the risk of insuring the most high-risk drivers.