What makes your insurance go up the most?

An accident can increase your rates, but it’s not the worst thing that could happen.

We looked at 43 driving situations, including common tickets, accidents and other scenarios, to see which resulted in a higher rate increase than an accident. An accident claim means an average rate increase of 5%, or $104 a year. An accident, although it means your insurance company will likely pay a claim, doesn’t create the biggest rate increase.

Take a look at several situations that will increase your insurance rates more than an accident.

Type of violation or scenario% rate increase$ increase% more than accident$ more than accident
Add a male age 16127%$2,34830%$1,275
Add a female age 16111%$2,04825%$975
Reckless driving82%$1,56819%$558
Bad credit76%$1,46815%$452
Two speeding tickets58%$1,1063%$97

How much does adding a teen driver raise your insurance rates?

Adding a teen to your policy will increase your rates more than an accident.

Adding a 16-year-old male to your policy will result in an average increase of 127%, translating into $2,348. If your new driver is female, expect an average increase of 111% or $2,048 a year.

Car insurance for teens is so expensive because teens are high-risk drivers, and statistically, males are riskier drivers than females.

Inexperience on the road can lead to accidents, which results in claims. "It's statistically proven that since teenager drivers don't have the experience that their parents have behind the wheel, they take longer to react to certain situations they are faced with when driving," says Charlotte Burr with AZ Insurance Team.

How much does a DUI increase car insurance rates?

A DUI will increase your rates by, on average, 90%. In many states, a DUI stays on your record for more than three years, so this infraction adds up over time. An accident will drop off your record after three years, as will most infractions.

DUI car insurance rates differ by company, so shopping around is vital to finding the best deal.

How much does reckless driving increase insurance rates?

Getting cited for reckless driving is a huge red flag for insurers. Reckless driving insurance rates go up by an average of 82% or $1,568.

"A reckless driving ticket is usually enough to cause a large increase in premium because most insurance companies would classify that as a ‘major’ violation,” says David Miller, VP Client Executive with The Plexus Groupe.

The definition of reckless driving can vary by state. Here are a few actions that can result in a reckless driving charge:

  • Driving 25 miles per hour (or more) over the speed limit
  • Street racing another vehicle
  • Attempting to elude a police officer
  • Passing another vehicle on a two-lane highway when visibility of oncoming traffic is limited

In addition, this type of infraction may stay on your driving record (and your insurance record) for much longer than a simple speeding ticket or even an accident. That means that the reckless driving insurance increase might also stick around longer.

How does credit affect car insurance rates?

In most states, it’s legal to use credit history in determining car insurance rates. There’s a correlation between bad credit and filing claims; insurance companies see people with good credit as more responsible.

Car insurance for drivers with bad credit costs an average of 76% or about $1462 more a year than for those with good credit.

That's a much larger increase than an accident; the good news is that improving your credit can bring your rates back down.

How does a second speeding ticket affect car insurance rates?

While one speeding ticket doesn’t usually cause a major increase, a second ticket within a short period of time can result in being labeled a high-risk driver. That will have a big impact on your rates.

According to our data, two speeding tickets of 11 mph or more over the limit will result in an average increase of 58% or $1106 a year. A single ticket on your record is a bit more manageable, with the rate increase falling in the 14% to 50% range. You will be paying these higher rates for at least three years as you wait for the tickets to drop off your record.

How much does car insurance go up after an accident?

While there are several situations that cause a bigger increase than an accident, a crash will still mean higher rates, about 50% higher on average.

The type of accident will determine how much your rates go up, and more than one accident will cause a much bigger jump in rates.

AccidentAverage rate after claim% increase$ increase
At-fault bodily injury$1,88932%$459
Property damage over $2,000$1,88031%$450
Property damage over $2,000$1,79626%$366
Two property damage over $2,000$3,002110%$1,572

How long an accident stays on your record depends on the insurance company and state law, but on average it’s three years.

How do I lower my car insurance rates?

Accidents, tickets and teen drivers will lead to higher premiums, but that doesn't mean you are stuck paying sky-high insurance rates forever. There are a few things you can do to lower your premium.

Shop around and compare rates. Shopping around is the easiest and best way to save money on car insurance. Every insurance company weighs tickets, accidents and other factors differently. So even if your rates go up with one company, another could offer you a deal.

Fight the ticket. In some cases, you may be able to fight the ticket in court and get it off of your record.

"We recommend consulting with an attorney even for speeding tickets. In many states, a traffic ticket attorney can get a moving violation ticket reduced to a non-moving violation, which will help keep points off your driving record. This is the key to maintaining lower rates," says John Espenschied of Insurance Brokers Group.

Raise your deductible. A higher deductible means lower insurance rates.

"Increasing your collision deductible should make a pretty good dent in your premium. You will break even rather quickly. Let's say you are going from a $500 deductible to a $1,000 deductible and you save $125 per year. Four accident-free years and you break even and every year thereafter, you are money ahead," says Jim Kirchen, president of Kirchen Insurance, based in Wisconsin. Always choose a deductible that you can easily afford in the event you have to make a claim.

Ask about discounts. Many car insurance discounts are available to help lower your rates. Even with a ticket, accident, or high-risk driver, there are still some discounts you can qualify for, like bundling auto and home insurance or a good student discount.


Insurance.com commissioned Quadrant Information Services in 2022 to field rates from up to six major insurers in 10 ZIP codes in every state for a driver of a 2021 Honda Accord, age 40, with good credit and full coverage of 100/300/100 with a $500 deductible; increases shown are an average from the base rate.