Your first thought, when you see the flashing lights of a cop car in the rearview mirror, is "Uh-oh."
Your second thought: "How much is my insurance going to go up for this?"
Insurance.com’s new ticket calculator, below, allows you to compute the increase to your auto insurance rate for common violations, and compares that to the average percentage hike in your state, as well as nationwide.
Based on Insurance.com's analysis of rates, here's how much the common tickets will impact your rates, on average:
How much will my insurance go up after a ticket?
|Violation||Percent increase||Dollar increase|
|DUI/DWI first offense||79%||$1,131|
|Operating a vehicle in a race (highway racing)||71%||$1,012|
|Speeding 30+ over limit||30%||$427|
|Texting while driving||23%||$344|
|Speeding ticket 16-29 MPH over limit||22%||$317|
|Speeding ticket 1-15 MPH over limit||20%||$288|
|Following too closely||20%||$284|
|Failure to yield||20%||$281|
|Failure to stop||19%||$272|
|Talking on cellphone while driving||16%||$224|
|Driving without a license or permit||12%||$178|
|Driving without insurance||10%||$143|
When will the ticket increase happen?
Typically, you won't see the rate increase for traffic violations until your policy is up for renewal. That's generally when insurance companies review your driving record and adjust the pricing of your policy, says Penny Gusner, consumer analyst for Insurance.com.
The look-back period differs by state and by company.
You should expect at minimum to be rated on violations for the last three years. Some companies go back to the date of the incident, and others go back to the day of conviction.
Many companies will look back five or even 10 years for major violations such as a DUI. For instance, in California insurers aren’t allowed to offer a good driver discount until 10 years have passed after a DUI violation.
And, just as a violation doesn’t raise your rates until your insurer sees the offense on your motor vehicle record, the surcharge won’t stop immediately when a violation falls off your record. You will have to wait until the next policy period when your insurer reviews your record.
Expect it to show up on your record.
Most states have reciprocal agreements that automatically share information on citations. The Driver’s License Compact has been signed by 45 states and Washington, D.C. Georgia, Massachusetts, Michigan, Tennessee and Wisconsin are not members, but they share and receive information just the same.
If your driving privileges are suspended in a state you are visiting, your home state typically will suspend your license as well.
Some states may not assign driver’s license points to out of state convictions, especially minor ones. But insurance companies will rate you on a violation no matter where it occurred, if it appears on your motor vehicle record and is considered a surchargeable offense.
Ways to save on car insurance even after you've been ticketed
If you’ve been cited for one of the infractions on our list, do not assume that you are doomed to paying much higher rates.
Each insurance company assesses risk differently. So, an offense that causes your rates to soar at one insurance company might have a much smaller impact at another. Some won’t raise your rates after a single minor violation. Others will. That's why we recommend shopping with multiple carriers before buying a policy, and even after a ticket or accident.
“Because insurers take different approaches, it provides consumers with choices,” says Jeffrey Brewer, vice president of public affairs for the Property Casualty Insurers Association of America.
Let's use speeding as an example. Major speeding tickets, 30 miles or more over the limit, will increase your rate on average by 30 percent, while minor speeding tickets trigger a hike of 20 to 22 percent, on average.
The table below shows how much average rates vary among insurance companies for a driver with a speeding ticket for exceeding the limit by 16 to 29 miles per hour. You'll see there is $790 difference between the highest and lowest. That's an example of how much you can potentially save on car insurance by comparing quotes from multiple insurers.
Average rate after speeding ticket
(16 - 29 mph over limit)
In addition to comparing rates, Gusner offers several tips for lowering your car insurance rate. These pointers can help you save money if you have recently gotten a ticket – or even if you have not.
Keep your driving record accident- and ticket-free. Perhaps the best way to keep rates low is to maintain a solid history of good driving.
Raise your deductible. Paying a higher deductible often results in lower premium costs. For example, III says raising your deductible from $200 to $500 could trim your collision and comprehensive insurance costs by up to 30 percent.
Build a strong credit history. Insurance companies used credit-based insurance scores to determine how much to charge you for auto insurance. So, developing good spending habits – such as avoiding debt and paying bills on time – can keep your insurance costs lower.
Reduce coverage on older cars. Consider dropping comprehensive and collision coverage once your car’s value has dropped to less than 10 times the cost of the premium.
Look for additional discounts. Insurance companies often offer many other ways to cut costs. For example, your premium might fall if you take a defensive driving course, or if you drive relatively few miles each year. Ask your insurer about the discounts it offers.
Take a defensive driving class:A defensive driving class, even taken after the fact, can remove points from your motor vehicle record, in some cases. While it cannot erase a conviction from your insurance company’s calculations, the class might bring a discount that softens the blow from the surcharge.
Insurance.com commissioned Quadrant Information Services to gather rates comparing a driver with a clean record to a driver with certain violations from six major carriers in 10 ZIP codes in each state. Rates were returned on a 2017 Honda Accord LX, for a driver with 100/300/100 liability coverage, collision and comprehensive coverage with a $500 deductible, uninsured motorist and additional mandatory coverages as required in each state. Slight differences in averages are due to rounding.