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Texting tickets and car insurance: How much does your insurance go up?

By Posted : September 20, 2018

state texting laws

There are few places in this country where you won't get busted for texting while behind the wheel -- 47 states and Washington, D.C., have outlawed texting for all drivers, according to the Governors Highway Safety Association.

If you get a texting ticket, will it raise your insurance rates? In most cases, yes.

The average rate increase after a texting ticket was 23 percent, but could be as low as 12 percent and as high as 45 percent, 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.

“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,” says Michelle Megna, managing editor of Insurance.com. “But there’s a big difference in how individual companies handle tickets. With some, a single ticket might not affect your rates at all. Others might decide you don’t qualify for a good driver discount anymore. And some might actually raise your rates a bit.”

And, in some states, 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.

Multiple moving violations on your record almost certainly guarantee a rate increase, Megna says.

How much does car insurance go up after a texting ticket? Increases 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.

Texting laws and license points

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.

Points affect car insurance. If they show up in a review of your driving record, they'll probably lead to a rate hike, especially if you have other infractions or have been in a recent accident.

You'll see in the chart below which states ban cellphones while driving -- unless you use a hands-free accessory -- and which have laws against texting and driving, as well as 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
ArizonaNoSchool bus drivers; Learner's permit and provisional license holders during the first six months after licensing (effective 6/30/2018)NoPrimary: cell phone use by school bus drivers
Secondary: cell phone use by young drivers (effective 6/30/2018)
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.
Secondary: for cell phone use by young drivers, drivers in school and work zones
CaliforniaAll driversSchool and transit bus drivers and drivers younger than 18All driversPrimary: hand held and texting by all drivers.
Secondary: all cell phone use by young drivers.
ColoradoNoDrivers younger than 18All driversPrimary4
ConnecticutAll driversLearner's permit holders, drivers 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

GeorgiaYes (eff. 7/1/18)School 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 21.All driversPrimary
IowaNoLearner's permit and intermediate license holdersAll driversPrimary: for all offenses (effective July 1, 2017).
KansasNoLearner's permit and intermediate license holdersAll driversPrimary
KentuckyNoDrivers younger than 18, School Bus Drivers.All driversPrimary3
LouisianaNoSchool bus drivers, learner's permit and intermediate license holders, drivers under age 18All driversPrimary
Maine**NoLearner's permit and intermediate license holdersAll driversPrimary
MarylandAll drivers, School Bus Drivers.Learner's permit and intermediate license holders under 18. School bus drivers.All driversPrimary1 for third offense
MassachusettsLocal optionSchool bus drivers,All driversPrimary
passenger bus drivers, drivers younger than 18.
MichiganLocal optionLevel 1 or 2 license holders.All driversPrimary
MinnesotaNoSchool bus drivers, learner's permit holders, and provisional license holders during the first 12 months after licensingAll driversPrimary
MississippiNoSchool bus drivers.All 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 HampshireYesDrivers 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
OhioLocal optionDrivers younger than 18.All driversPrimary: for drivers younger than 18.
Secondary: for texting by all drivers.
OklahomaLearner's permit and intermediate license holders, school bus drivers and public transit driversSchool Bus Drivers and Public Transit DriversAll Drivers.Primary
OregonAll driversDrivers younger than 18All driversPrimary
PennsylvaniaLocal optionNoAll 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
TennesseeDrivers in marked school zones (effective 01/01/18)School bus drivers, and learner's permit and intermediate license holdersAll driversPrimary
TexasDrivers in school crossing zonesBus drivers. Drivers younger than 18All drivers (effective 09/01/2017)Primary
UtahSee footnote*Drivers 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 orAll driversPrimary4
intermediate
license holder
WyomingNoNoAll driversPrimary
TotalAll drivers: 15 states and District of Columbia, Guam, Virgin Islands and Puerto Rico.School Bus drivers: 21 states and District of Columbia.All Drivers: 47 states and District of Columbia, Guam, Virgin Islands and Puerto Rico.Primary for all drivers texting: 43 states, District of Columbia and Puerto Rico.40 states, U.S. Virgin Islands and District of C
Teen drivers: 38 states and District of Columbia.Secondary for all drivers texting: 4.
Source: Source Insurance Institute for Highway Safety 2017.
Governor’s Highway Safety Association
.
* Utah considers speaking on a cell phone, without a hands-free device, to be an offense only if a driver is also committing some other moving violation (other than speeding).
** Maine has a law that makes driving while distracted a traffic infraction. 29-A M.R.S.A. Sec. 2118.
*** Listed as a part of contributing factors
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