Does a Traffic Ticket Affect Your Insurance?Getting a traffic ticket can be a frustrating experience, especially when you consider the costs associated with paying the fine, legal fees, and the possibility of points being added to your driving record that could lead to higher insurance rates. Many drivers wonder whether receiving a traffic ticket will affect their insurance rates, and the short answer is: yes, it can. In this blog post, we will explore how traffic tickets affect insurance rates, the types of tickets that have the greatest impact, how long traffic ticket violations remain on your record, and what you can do to mitigate the damage.
How Do Traffic Tickets Impact Insurance Rates?
Traffic tickets can increase your insurance rates, as insurers consider drivers with traffic tickets to be a higher risk. The reasoning is that drivers who have received traffic tickets are more likely to be involved in accidents and make insurance claims. Most insurance companies will review your driving record when you are signing up for a new policy or renewing an existing one. Depending on your driving history, they may adjust your rates to reflect your risk profile. Drivers who have a history of traffic violations are more likely to see their insurance rates go up compared to drivers with a clean record.
Which Tickets Have the Greatest Impact on Insurance Rates?
Not all traffic tickets are created equal when it comes to their impact on insurance rates. Some tickets are considered more serious than others, and will have a greater impact on your driving record and insurance rates. Here are some examples:- DUI/DWI convictions: A conviction for driving under the influence of drugs or alcohol is one of the most serious traffic tickets you can receive. It can lead to a significant increase in your insurance rates and may even lead to the cancellation of your policy.- Reckless driving: Reckless driving is another serious offense that can lead to an increase in your insurance premiums. It is defined as driving with a willful or wanton disregard for the safety of other people or property.- Speeding tickets: While not as severe as DUI or reckless driving convictions, speeding tickets can still have a noticeable impact on insurance rates. The faster you were driving over the limit, the greater the likelihood that your rates will be affected.
How Long Do Traffic Ticket Violations Stay On Your Record?
The amount of time that traffic ticket violations remain on your driving record varies depending on the severity of the offense and your state’s laws. For example, some states may remove minor violations, such as speeding tickets, from your record after three years, while more serious offenses may stay on your record for up to ten years. It is important to note that the impact that a traffic violation has on your insurance rates will lessen over time, particularly if you maintain a clean driving record following the violation.
What Can You Do to Mitigate the Damage?
There are several steps you can take to mitigate the damage of a traffic ticket on your insurance rates:- Hire a lawyer: Speaking to a lawyer can be helpful if you are fighting the ticket or want to reduce the impact of the ticket on your driving record.- Take a defensive driving course: Some states allow drivers to take a defensive driving course to reduce the penalty for a traffic ticket.- Shop around for insurance: If your insurance rates increase, it may be helpful to shop around for a better rate. Some insurance companies are more lenient when it comes to traffic violations, so you may be able to find a better rate elsewhere.