Getting pulled over by the police can be nerve-wracking, and one of the first things that crosses your mind is how much it will cost you. It’s a valid concern because speeding tickets have two primary consequences: the immediate cost of the citation and the potential increase in your insurance rates that may follow.
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Understanding the Relationship Between Speeding Tickets and Insurance Premiums
Whether it’s auto insurance, life insurance, homeowners insurance, or business insurance, insurance companies base the premiums they charge on the level of risk they assume when writing a policy. Risk is determined by analyzing past performance data and assessing the probability of having to pay a claim on your policy.
When it comes to car insurance, your risk is largely determined by your driving record, especially in recent years. Speeding is the most common traffic violation and is considered a strong indicator of at-fault accidents, increasing the likelihood that the insurance company will have to pay a claim. This higher risk is factored into your policy, resulting in a higher premium. Insurance companies will review your driving record not only when you purchase a new policy but also periodically thereafter. If they find any traffic violations on your record, your insurance premium will likely go up. Accumulating too many violations may even lead to policy cancellation.
Changing Insurance Companies as a Potential Solution
Each insurance company has its own approach to rating the impact of a traffic ticket on your insurance premium. Some companies may not increase your premium for a single violation, while others may increase it slightly. You might find that switching to a different insurance company results in a lower premium. Consider exploring the best auto insurance companies operating in your area to find a suitable option.
The Influence of Speeding Magnitude on Insurance Rates
Speeding tickets aren’t a binary situation; they vary depending on the degree of the violation. Insurance companies have different thresholds for determining the impact of speeding violations on premiums. Some companies won’t increase your premium for a first offense, while others won’t do so unless you were speeding more than 15 mph over the limit.
State laws also play a role, as many states operate on a point system where each violation adds points to your driving record. To estimate the insurance increase for a single speeding violation, you can utilize a traffic ticket calculator tool provided by insurance.com. For instance, a speeding ticket ranging from 15 to 29 mph over the speed limit might result in a 12% premium increase on average for drivers aged 25-34. The actual increase may vary depending on your age group and the state you reside in. For example, the same violation could lead to a 7% increase in Georgia or New Jersey, 8% in California, and 12% in New Hampshire.
The Impact of Multiple Violations on Insurance Rates
While a single speeding ticket can cause your insurance premium to rise, two or more violations will have an even greater impact. Certain insurance companies may be lenient on the first offense but less forgiving on subsequent offenses. The severity of your state’s point system can also influence the increase in your insurance premium. California, for instance, assigns points for speeding, with each point typically being removed after 39 months. Accumulating several points within specific timeframes could result in license revocation or suspension.
What to Do If You Receive a Speeding Ticket
Speeding tickets are an unfortunate reality for many drivers. Sometimes, unexpected circumstances or distractions may contribute to receiving a ticket. If you find yourself in such a situation, there are several strategies you can implement:
- Dispute the speeding ticket: While it may be a long shot, disputing a ticket can be worth it. If you win your case, the insurance company won’t consider the violation when determining your premium.
- Take preventive measures: Be more mindful of your speed to avoid additional violations, especially in areas with high police presence.
- Consider a defensive driving course: Some states allow you to remove a traffic violation from your record by completing a defensive driving course. In some cases, these courses can be taken online. However, keep in mind that taking the course comes with a cost, so weigh it against the expense of the ticket and the potential premium increase over the next few years.
Obtaining a speeding ticket may lead to an increase in your insurance premium, but it doesn’t have to be catastrophic. By following these strategies, you can minimize the potential damage to your insurance rates.
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