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When you get a speeding ticket, you’ll not only have to pay a fine, but you will also see an increase in your insurance rates – perhaps a jump in your insurance premium of 20% or more. If you can keep that speeding ticket off of your record, you can avoid that.

So how do you keep a speeding ticket off your record, so your rates don’t go up?

Here are five things drivers can do to keep a ticket off of their record:

  • Don't automatically pay the ticket
  • Ask for a deferral
  • Ask for traffic school
  • Ask for a better deal
  • Contest the ticket

There’s no guarantee that these measures will work, but it might be comforting to know you have options.

Read on to find out what to expect when you get a speeding ticket and how you might be able to avoid an insurance rate increase by clearing the ticket from your driving record.

KEY TAKEAWAYS
  • A speeding ticket on your driving record causes your insurance premium to go up by 22%-30%, on average.
  • There are a few ways to prevent a speeding violation from being added to your driving record, including contesting it or completing driving school.
  • Even if you can remove the ticket from your record, you may still have to pay legal fees, driving school costs, or other penalties.

How to get a speeding ticket off your record

There are some ways to keep a speeding ticket from showing up on your record – some of which allow you to keep points off your license and, therefore, prevent your insurance company from ever even knowing you got pulled over. However, your options vary by state.

Here are five things drivers can do to keep a ticket off of their record:

Don't automatically pay the ticket

When it comes to a traffic ticket, take your time. In most jurisdictions, you have at least 30 days to pay the fine or enter a plea. Use the time to explore your options. The website for the court clerk's office listed at the bottom of your ticket is a good place to start.

"First and foremost, don't pay your ticket, since it essentially admits guilt," says Bradley Groene, an attorney with Luftman, Heck & Associates in Cincinnati.

Your options will vary depending on your jurisdiction, but you can:

  • Contest the ticket and ask for your date in traffic court. You should get the chance to plea bargain. But note, if you go to trial and lose, you’ll pay the fine and the ticket will go on your record. You may have to pay court costs as well.
  • Seek traffic school or deferred adjudication, which would prevent a moving violation conviction from appearing on your driving record.

If your offense is minor – say, speeding at 10 mph over the limit outside a school or construction zone – and your record is otherwise pretty clean, you'll probably be offered some means of avoiding both a court appearance and a black mark on your record.

Ask for a deferral

A deferral means the court finds you guilty but defers entering those findings for a certain amount of time; a year is common. If you get through the deferral period without any citations, the ticket will be dismissed or marked "adjudication withheld."

However, if you get another ticket in the deferral period, both tickets hit your record and your insurance will probably skyrocket as a high-risk driver.

There is usually a fee of $100 to $150. There may be a limit on the number of deferrals you are granted. In Washington, for example, it's one every seven years. You're unlikely to be offered a deferral if your record is already checkered or for some violations, such as school-zone violations.

Ask for traffic school

If you have the option to go to traffic school and pass the course, your ticket may be dismissed. A defensive driving course as an alternative resolution is not available in every state or for every infraction, but it can be a lifesaver.

Expect to pay a fee for the class itself and administrative or court fees on top of that.

Some states limit how often you can use a traffic school option; Florida, for example, limits you to once a year, and in California, it's 18 months.

Ask for a better deal

In some jurisdictions, contacting the clerk of court or the prosecutor handling your case is possible and asking to have your offense downgraded to a non-moving violation. You also may be able to approach the prosecutor on your appearance date before your case is called.

You may have to pay court costs and a fine, but it could be worth the effort if your insurer is none the wiser.

You also may be able to ask for mitigation – pleading guilty but presenting your side of the story. Basically, you are asking the judge to lower your fine. Many states allow you to mitigate via written statements.

The outcome is up to the judge. The fine may be lowered or stay the same, but it cannot increase. Regardless of what happens to the fine, you are pleading guilty, the infraction will end up on your DMV record, and eventually, your insurer will find out.

Contest the ticket

To contest the ticket, plead not guilty. You’ll go to court to argue your case, alone or with the help of a lawyer.

A lawyer is not a requirement in traffic court, but hiring one can make things easier. You can call witnesses and present evidence. Your main goal is to create enough doubt, or even sympathy, to get the ticket dismissed or knocked down to a non-moving violation.

"Most people don't have experience with traffic law. It's very easy to make a mistake in explaining your side of what happened," Groene says.

How do speeding tickets affect your driving record?

In many states, the DMV keeps track of drivers' records through a points system. The DMV gets notified whenever you’re convicted of a moving violation and adds points to your license. The number of points will depend on your state's particular scale and the infraction's seriousness.

For example, in Utah, speeding 10 miles per hour or less above the speed limit will result in 35 points on your record; 11 to 20 mph over the limit will result in 55 points; and more than 20 mph will result in 75 points. In Arkansas, however, speeding at those same intervals will result in points of four, five or eight, respectively.

These points can cause your car insurance rates to increase. And if you end up accumulating too many points, your driver's license could be suspended. Usually, you'll get a warning if you get close to that point.

Nine states do not currently use a driver's license point system:

  • Hawaii
  • Kansas
  • Louisiana
  • Minnesota
  • Mississippi
  • Oregon
  • Rhode Island
  • Washington
  • Wyoming

You can avoid points on your driving license if you can keep the ticket off your record.

How long does a speeding ticket stay on your driving record?

In many states, a moving violation stays on your record for three to 10 years. Less serious moving violations, such as running a stop sign, tend to stay on your record for much less time than something serious like a DUI. Serious offenses may remain on your record for life.

Regarding how long a speeding ticket or points will stay on your driving record, it depends on your state and how fast you were going. To find out, you can contact your local DMV and ask.

How much does insurance go up after a speeding ticket?

Will a speeding ticket affect your insurance? Most likely, yes. If a speeding ticket goes on your driving record, you can expect your rate to increase by 22% to 30%, on average, according to a 2022 Insurance.com rate analysis. That equates to $290 more a year.

Some of the most expensive states for insurance once a speeding ticket is on your record include North Carolina, California and Oklahoma.

The insurance company surcharge after a speeding ticket will last for several years, but the length of time depends on the company.

"It varies by insurer, but a speeding ticket can affect your insurance premium for at least three years," says Kristofer Kirchen, president of Advanced Insurance Managers in Tampa, Florida.

When will a speeding ticket show up on your insurance?

Insurers are not automatically notified of a speeding transgression. Instead, they must pull your DMV record, which costs them money.

"Most insurers will only pull your record once a year, even less if you have a clean record," says Kirchen.

While you may not see a ticket surcharge for one or two renewal periods, your car insurance company will inevitably get wind of your moving violation.

How much does insurance go up after two speeding tickets?

That second ticket typically nets an average 43% increase in rates, according to Insurance.com's 2022 rate data analysis. A second ticket shows the insurance company that you didn’t learn your lesson the first time.

That makes you a much higher risk of an accident, and rates will increase even more accordingly.

How to save on car insurance with a speeding ticket

Unfortunately, the only way to prevent a speeding ticket from affecting your insurance is to get it removed from your record. If you do wind up with a ticket on your record, there are still ways you can save on car insurance.

Shop around. Insurance companies use their own point systems for traffic violations, and they're all different. Comparing car insurance quotes can save you money. For example, looking at rates from six major carriers for a speeding violation of 16 to 29 mph over the limit, here is the average increase:

  • State Farm – 21%
  • Allstate – 18%
  • Nationwide – 31%
  • Farmers – 31%
  • Progressive – 37%
  • Geico – 74%

Increase your deductible. If your insurance premium is now higher due to a speeding ticket, one way to offset that increase is by raising your deductible. Just be sure that if you do, you can afford the higher deductible in the event you do need to file a claim.

Ask about other discounts. A ticket doesn’t make you ineligible for all discounts. Make sure you have explored all of the available options. Bundling your homeowners or renters insurance is the quickest way to get a discount.

Frequently asked questions

What is the best auto insurance company if I have a speeding ticket?

According to 2022 Insurance.com data, State Farm, Allstate, and Nationwide have the lowest rate increases for speeding tickets, on average. Of course, you'll also need to consider the base policy amount, which may be higher than other insurers.

Can I get a ticket removed after I have already pled guilty?

If you already pled guilty to a speeding violation and it's been noted on your driving record, it's difficult to remove. You could hire a lawyer and attempt to get it removed, or you can simply wait for the ticket to fall off of your record in a few years. The good news is the courts usually try to avoid this situation because of the time and cost involved, so they sometimes offer opportunities to wipe the ticket from your record before entering a plea.

Is it worth fighting a speeding ticket?

It depends on your situation. You should consider the events leading up to your ticket and whether you believe you have a good case for having it reversed. For example, maybe your speedometer was faulty, or you were experiencing a medical emergency. Unless you feel comfortable representing yourself in court, you may also need to hire an attorney, which can be pricey. The local court will also make a difference – some are willing to drop tickets or points for drivers with otherwise clean driving records, while others aren't so generous.

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