You’ve found a perfect car insurance rate. Your payments are low, and your plan is suited for you. Then what happens? You get a ticket! Traffic violations often cause your car insurance rates to go up, but not always – it’s important to know when, why, and how this can impact you.
Speeding and traffic tickets can raise concern to a car insurance provider because it suggests that you may not be a safe driver, whether or not that’s actually true. For instance, a single speeding ticket may imply that a driver speeds all the time, thereby increasing the risk of a traffic accident on the road. Because car insurance companies pay out for accidents and damage, they may raise your rate to counteract a potential monetary loss.
Tickets for missing a stop sign, running a red light, or making any other driving infraction will have the same result. Car insurance rates depend on what type of driver the insured is; if your driving mistakes add up to a ticket, you are no longer the “safe driver” that they want to insure.
Get a clean record
Tickets happen. But that’s not the end of low prices for car insurance. There are a number of ways to combat this. If you’ve had tickets in the past for speeding or breaking driving laws, your rates will eventually go down again when enough time has passed. This can vary from state to state, but typically five years is the time when past mistakes no longer appear on your driving record. This means that your car insurance rates may indeed go up, but not permanently. The same insurance companies that charge higher prices for riskier drivers eventually reward drivers for keeping good records after an incident.
If you just received a ticket, contesting it in court is always a good idea. You may not have actually been at fault, in which case a traffic judge can rule in your favor and you won’t be charged. On the flipside, if you were at fault, you can still appear in court to seek another method of retribution. By offering to pay a fine and take a driving course, a lenient judge may offer to strike the point from your license, which keeps an insurance company from knowing the ticket was ever issued. The fine may seem steep, but it is likely cheaper than the increased car insurance rates in the long run.
Every driver has a bad day, and one mistake does not mean you’re a dangerous or hazardous driver. A ticket can certainly raise your car insurance rates, but it doesn’t have to – and nothing is permanent. Learn your lesson and keep driving safely – and your car insurance company will thank you!