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state texting laws

Texting while driving is illegal in nearly every state. Only Montana has no law, while Missouri outlaws it only for drivers under 21.

If you get a texting ticket, will it raise your insurance rates? In most cases, yes. Whether or not texting tickets hike your rates a lot, a little or not at all depends on your insurance company and state laws, among other factors.

The average percentage rate increase after a texting ticket is 23%, but could be as low as 12% and as high as 45%, based on a survey of six insurance carriers in 10 ZIP codes in every state, commissioned by Insurance.com. That doesn’t mean all carriers raise your rates, though.

In some states, texting while driving isn't a moving violation, and in others it's illegal for car insurance companies to hike your rate for a texting ticket conviction. In Idaho and North Carolina, state laws prohibit insurers from raising rates based on texting violations.

Below we'll explore how a texting while driving ticket affects car insurance rates.

KEY TAKEAWAYS
  • A texting while driving ticket will likely increase your insurance rates, but it depends on the company and state laws.
  • The average rate increase after a texting ticket is 23%, however it could be as high as 45% or as low as 12%.
  • In some states, texting ticket adds points to your driving record, which can lead to a rate increase.

Does texting while driving increase car insurance rates?

Texting while driving has a good chance of increasing your car insurance rates if you get a ticket. The increase , however, varies by state. Take a look at the average rate increase after a texting ticket by state.

StateAverage clean record rateAverage rate after texting ticketPercent increaseDollar increase
California$1,708$2,48445%$776
Ohio$960$1,29034%$330
Indiana$1,094$1,46834%$374
New Hampshire$1,346$1,80234%$456
Rhode Island$2,364$3,16434%$800
Massachusetts$1,425$1,90033%$476
Maine$1,047$1,35329%$306
Alaska$1,254$1,61529%$361
Texas$1,767$2,26728%$500
Florida$2,382$3,02927%$647
Michigan$1,960$2,47826%$518
New Mexico$1,638$2,07126%$433
Iowa$1,118$1,41326%$295
Illinois$1,231$1,55426%$323
South Dakota$1,386$1,74826%$362
Arkansas$1,784$2,25026%$467
Virginia$1,007$1,26826%$261
Utah$1,244$1,56125%$317
Alabama$1,331$1,66025%$329
Oregon$1,370$1,71225%$342
Arizona$1,615$2,01024%$395
Oklahoma$1,722$2,13824%$416
Georgia$1,776$2,19524%$419
Connecticut$2,069$2,55423%$485
New Jersey$1,598$1,96723%$370
Wisconsin$933$1,13522%$202
DC$1,859$2,23920%$381
Nevada$1,580$1,90020%$320
Delaware$2,091$2,50220%$411
Hawaii$1,494$1,78419%$290
Washington$1,390$1,65719%$267
Mississippi$1,575$1,87719%$302
Kansas$1,528$1,81519%$287
Maryland$1,641$1,94719%$306
North Dakota$1,004$1,17717%$173
West Virginia$1,566$1,83517%$269
South Carolina$1,392$1,62917%$237
Montana$1,835$2,14517%$309
Tennessee$1,410$1,64817%$238
Kentucky$1,611$1,86216%$251
Vermont$1,098$1,26115%$163
Nebraska$1,360$1,56215%$202
Pennsylvania$1,306$1,49815%$192
Missouri$1,347$1,53614%$190
Colorado$1,659$1,88113%$222
Wyoming$2,012$2,27513%$262
Louisiana$2,001$2,24312%$242
New York$1,283$1,43512%$152
National average23%$346

*Methodology: Insurance.com commissioned Quadrant Information Services to field rates from up to six major insurers in 10 ZIP codes in every state for a driver of a 2017 Honda Accord, age 40, with good credit and full coverage and $500 deductible; increases shown are an average from the base rate.

Does a texting while driving ticket put points on your license?

Is a cell phone ticket a point on your record? Beyond a fine and an insurance increase, a texting ticket adds points to your driving record in some states. That's important because you could lose your license if you rack up too many. In California, for instance, four points in a 12-month period gets you a six-month license suspension and year-long probation.

Does a texting ticket raise car insurance rates if it points on your license? Points almost always lead to a rate increase, regardless of the reason.

What are the state laws for cell phone use while driving?

Below are the laws by state for cell phone use, including which states have laws against texting and driving, how those laws are enforced and if the penalty carries license points.

StatesHand-held ban/Talk only hands-freeAll cellphone banTexting banEnforcementLicense points
AlabamaNoDrivers age 16 and 17 who have held an intermediate license for less than 6 months.All driversPrimary2
AlaskaNoNoAll driversPrimary
ArizonaAll driversSchool bus drivers; and drivers under 18YesPrimary
ArkansasDrivers ages 18 to 20 years of age; school and highway work zonesSchool bus drivers, drivers younger than 18All driversPrimary: for texting by all drivers and cell phone use by school bus drivers.
CaliforniaAll driversSchool and transit bus drivers and drivers younger than 18All driversPrimary
ColoradoNoDrivers younger than 18All driversPrimary4
ConnecticutAll driversDrivers younger than 18, and school bus driversAll driversPrimary
DelawareAll driversLearner's permit and intermediate license holders and school bus driversAll driversPrimary
District of ColumbiaAll driversSchool bus drivers and learner's permit holdersAll driversPrimary
FloridaNoNoAll driversSecondary

3 points for second offense; 6 points if accident

GeorgiaAll driversSchool bus drivers. Drivers younger than 18.All driversPrimary1
HawaiiAll driversDrivers younger than 18All DriversPrimary
IdahoNoNoAll DriversPrimary
IllinoisAll driversLearner's permit holders younger than 19, drivers younger than 19, and school bus driversAll driversPrimary
IndianaNoDrivers under the age of 21All driversPrimary
IowaNoLearner's permit and intermediate license holdersAll driversPrimary
KansasNoLearner's permit and intermediate license holdersAll driversPrimary
KentuckyNoDrivers younger than 18, school bus driversAll driversPrimary3
LouisianaLearner or intermediate stagesSchool bus drivers, first year of licenseAll driversPrimary
MaineAll driversLearner's permit and intermediate license holders; bus driversAll driversPrimary
MarylandAll driversDrivers under 18All driversPrimary1 for third offense
MassachusettsAll driversSchool bus drivers, drivers younger than 18.All driversPrimary
MichiganNoLevel 1 or 2 license holders and school bus drivers. All driversPrimary
MinnesotaAll driversSchool bus drivers, learner's permit holders and provisional license holdersAll driversPrimary
MississippiNoSchool bus driversAll driversPrimary
MissouriNoNoDrivers 21 years or younger.Primary
MontanaNoNoNoNot applicable
NebraskaNoLearner's permit and intermediate license holders younger than 18All driversSecondary3
NevadaAll driversNoAll driversPrimary4 for second offense
New HampshireAll driversDrivers younger than 18All driversPrimary
New JerseyAll driversSchool bus drivers, and learner's permit and intermediate license holdersAll driversPrimary3 for third offense
New MexicoLocal optionLearner's permit and intermediate license holders.All DriversPrimary
New YorkAll driversNoAll driversPrimary5
North CarolinaNoDrivers younger than 18 and school bus driversAll driversPrimary
North DakotaNoDrivers younger than 18All driversPrimary
OhioNoDrivers younger than 18All driversPrimary
OklahomaLearner's permit and intermediate license holdersNoAll driversPrimary
OregonAll driversDrivers younger than 18All driversPrimary
PennsylvaniaNoNoAll driversPrimary
Puerto RicoAll driversAll driversPrimary
Rhode IslandYesSchool bus drivers and drivers younger than 18All driversPrimary
South CarolinaNoNoAll driversPrimary
South DakotaNoLearner's permit and intermediate license holdersAll driversSecondary
TennesseeAll driversSchool bus drivers, and learner's permit and intermediate license holdersAll driversPrimary
TexasDrivers in school crossing zonesBus drivers. Drivers younger than 18All driversPrimary
UtahNoDrivers underAll driversPrimary for texting; secondary for talking on hand-held phone
the age of 18.
VermontAll driversDrivers younger than 18All driversPrimary
Virgin IslandsYes
VirginiaNoDrivers younger than 18 and school bus driversAll driversPrimary: for texting by all drivers.3
Secondary: for drivers younger than 18.
WashingtonAll driversLearner's permit and intermediate license holders.All driversPrimary
West VirginiaAll driversDrivers younger than 18 who hold either a learner's permit or an intermediate licenseAll driversPrimary3 for third offense
WisconsinNoLearner's permit or intermediate license holderAll driversPrimary4
WyomingNoNoAll driversPrimary
TotalAll drivers: 21 states and District of Columbia, Guam, Virgin Islands and Puerto Rico.School Bus drivers: 20 states and District of Columbia.All Drivers: 46 states and District of Columbia, Guam, Virgin Islands and Puerto Rico.Primary for all drivers texting: 48 states, District of Columbia and Puerto Rico.
Teen drivers: 38 states and District of Columbia.Secondary for all drivers texting: 4.
Source:

Governor’s Highway Safety Association and Insurance Institute for Highway Safety, February 2020.

Frequently asked questions: Texting while driving tickets

Is texting while driving illegal?

Yes, in almost every state. The exceptions are Montana, which has no law, and Missouri, where it's illegal only if you are under 21.

Is a cell phone ticket a moving violation?

A cell phone ticket is considered a moving violation in most states. If you live in a state that treats a texting ticket as a moving violation, it’s treated by insurance companies like any other minor ticket. But there’s a big difference in how individual companies handle tickets.

How much is a ticket for texting while driving?

The amount of the ticket will vary by state, as well as whether it is your first violation. The fine goes up for each subsequent violation.

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