How A Driving Ticket Affects Your Auto Insurance Premium
One of the best ways to keep your auto insurance rates low is to maintain a good driving record. While you may strive to follow every traffic rule, avoid speeding and practice careful, defensive driving, every driver is human and you may make an occasional mistake. When it comes to driving, however, mistakes can cost you. If you get a driving ticket, will it affect your auto insurance premium?
Just how costly a mistake like a driving ticket could be depends on multiple factors, including where you live, your age, how long you’ve had the same insurance company and your insurance company’s tolerance for risk. But the most important factor is the reason you got the ticket in the first place.
What Getting a Driving Ticket Can Do To Your Insurance Rates
A Driving Ticket May Not Mean Higher Insurance Rates… Right Away
The good news when it comes to driving tickets and your car insurance is that your auto insurance cost won’t automatically be raised if you get a ticket. In fact, for most tickets, it won’t be until your policy renews that you’ll see any rate change at all. The size of the rate change will depend on the type of ticket, your insurer and how they assess risk.
Younger drivers under age 25 can see higher rate hikes if they get a ticket because insurance companies are tracking drivers in that age group more closely than older drivers. Younger drivers tend to have less experience, which can make them riskier to insure.
Some violations will affect your insurance more than others. Violations that are certain to send your premiums higher and, often, to trigger an insurance cancellation or non-renewal, include driving under the influence, reckless driving, leaving the scene of an accident and driving on a suspended license.
DMV points and your car insurance
In New York and Pennsylvania and many other states, a ticket for a moving violation incurs points that are added to your driving record. In New York, accumulating 11 points within 18 months can trigger a license suspension and in Pennsylvania, accumulating 6 points requires the driver to take a written exam.
Points on your driving record can also lead to an increase in your car insurance rates.
Protecting yourself against higher auto insurance premiums
The best way to avoid paying higher car insurance premiums is to not get a ticket at all, but if you do, you may be able to have a ticket erased from your driving record by enrolling in traffic school or taking a defensive-driving course. You can also opt to contest the ticket in court if you believe the officer was wrong.
Shopping around for a better auto insurance rate at your renewal could mean higher rates. Insurance companies always check your driving record when you apply for a new policy, and different companies have different systems for rating specific risks, like driving tickets. You may find a company more tolerant of your risk, but you also may find other companies will want to charge you more.
The impact of a ticket on your car insurance premiums depends on your overall driving history, the nature of the ticket, and the company you’re insured with, as well as other factors. A driver with multiple tickets over several years is more likely to have a big rate increase compared to a driver with only one ticket. In addition, if your ticket was written at the time of an accident, your insurance premiums can go higher because of the combination of factors.
One of the best ways to keep your insurance rates low is to practice safe driving and avoid behaviors that could get you a ticket. If you do get a ticket and your rates rise, work with an insurance agent to compare quotes and find discounts to help offset your car insurance costs.
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