Can a Traffic Ticket Increase the Cost of My Auto Insurance?

Mar 3, 2021 | Personal Insurance

We are all aware that there are several rules to follow while driving. To impose order, states have set corresponding laws for traffic violations. There’s the saying “To err is human.” No matter how we want to follow these rules all the time, it is unavoidable to make some mistakes. There are consequences that you may face if you make a violation.

One of the most common “gifts” that we receive for violating a traffic rule is a ticket. After getting one, you would have to pay and settle it. People think that everything is well. Yet there’s more to it than that. Settling it legally doesn’t mean that you can get away unscathed from a financial consequence.

The question “Can a traffic ticket raise the cost of my auto insurance?” will be answered. You might be worrying if you would have to pay more than usual. Let’s answer your queries by knowing about the factors that can affect your rates. You would be aware of the violations that you might do to receive a ticket (not that they’re recommended though). 

To improve your awareness on the road, we will give you some tips on how to avoid making these mistakes. As they say, the more prepared you are, the more you can avoid a problem. Here’s a spoiler: yes, a traffic ticket can increase your premiums. Don’t fret! We will inform you about the favorite tea of all: tips to lower the cost of your auto insurance in Denver, Colorado or any other US state. Keep reading!

Factors that can affect insurance rates

Did you know?

Insurers assess how much they will charge you by looking at your information. They are doing that to gauge your risk. Every person that they insure is a risk that they are taking. If they know that you are likely to make a claim, then you will pay a higher insurance cost. 

Remember that your risk defines your rates in insurance terms. One such example is your age. If you are a young driver, then they may give you a higher quote. The information that you provide them, such as demographics and your driving history can all affect your premiums. Find out more below.

Age and gender

How old are you this year? If you are a young adult, then you may notice that the cost of your insurance is higher than older people. Try asking your neighbor or someone older you know about his rates. You might notice that he’s paying less. Why do you pay a much higher cost?

This is the reason. In general, young drivers tend to be reckless on the road. They are proactive and aggressive, wanting to enjoy some fun. Another reason is the saying “knowledge comes from experience.” Older people navigate their vehicles on the road better than younger ones. They are aware of the traffic rules long ago.

Sex can affect your rates. Statistics say that young female drivers tend to get into fewer auto accidents than males. That’s why if you are male, you might be considered to have a higher risk than females do.

Marital status and location

Answer this question. Do you have a married life? Your marital status has an effect on your premium. Compared to when you were single, you will likely consider safety first more now. The word “safe” implies that you will try your best to avoid getting into an accident thinking of your family. That means fewer claims for you to make.

Insurers also consider the area where you live. If you are living in a relatively safe place, then you may receive a lower rate. For instance, your neighborhood didn’t have any instances of car theft for the past years. Having a garage makes the cut too. Parking your car in such a place means that it is less likely to get stolen.

Driving record and activity

Did you have any car accidents during the past few years? Insurance companies look into your driving record to calculate your risk. After all, a car won’t move without someone driving it. The driver is, of course, included in the factors that affect rates. Having a blemish in your record means that you have a higher potential risk than someone who has a clean one. 

The way you drive gets considered in some cases. They will look at your mileage, your hard brakes, and many others. Some drivers tend to speed past the limits. This is a violation of traffic rules. That puts a tick in your driving history. If you have a horrible record, then some insurance companies may reject you. 

When you are speeding, some patrol officers will make you pull over and issue you a ticket. The next thing that you’ve got to do is to settle it, either by paying the fine or appearing to court. What can a traffic ticket do to your insurance?

Different traffic tickets that may impact your rates

The most obvious outcome that might happen after getting a traffic ticket is an increase in your premium. Some insurers may brush it off if it is your first time receiving one. The state’s laws may interfere with whether you will see an increase. You might get an increase though if you are living in Denver, CO. We will explain this as you read further below.

There are many kinds of traffic tickets. There’s one for speeding, and there are also others. The next thing that we will discuss is information about these types. Take note that the following are brief introductions to moving violations and an explanation of their effects. You can ask your insurance agent to find out more!

Speeding ticket

A moving violation is an offense that you commit when the vehicle is moving. Speeding is one such example. There are speed limits imposed in several places due to road conditions. It may be because it is an accident-prone area or there is heavy traffic. Nonetheless, driving past these limits makes you an offender.

This ticket can directly be a reason why you pay higher insurance fees. We’ve said before that insurers look at your driving record. Speeding is a traffic violation, and it will get noticed by your insurance company immediately. Since you are driving too fast, it might imply that you are likely to hit a car or vice versa. Considering that, they will likely raise your premium.

Speeding ticket point system in Denver, Colorado

There is a point system in the state of Colorado. For every traffic violation that they make, an addition of one point is made to their driving record. Accumulating 12 such points or more within a year will result in the suspension of your license. 

Those drivers who’ve had their licenses suspended get subjected to higher premiums. The blemish in the driving record also stays for at least five (5) years. The consequences and penalties may vary, depending on the severity of the situation.

Dangers of speeding

Some drivers may reason that they have an emergency going on that’s why they are in a hurry. However, they might only add up to the case of that said emergency. There are many dangers brought by speeding. In fact, 26% of traffic deaths have something to do with it. That’s why you need to think twice or thrice even before doing so. Below are a few hazards incurred by this violation.

  • It will take a longer time to completely put the car on a halt. 
  • More cases of accidents may happen.
  • It may result in the driver losing control of the car and steering.
  • The damages incurred will be more severe in case an accident occurs.

Other types of traffic tickets

Aside from speeding, there are other forms of moving violations. Depending on the state law, a surcharge might be justified by doing these. Most people might be doing these things without knowing that it can cause a legal consequence. Regardless, it is recommended to not be used to doing such.

Texting ticket

Texting while driving is a dangerous practice, but many people still do it. Though you may receive a ticket for it, it may not increase your rates. Still, that depends on your state laws. However, a violation is a violation. It is recorded in your driving history. 

You might say, “I have been texting while driving for so long and I still haven’t gotten into an accident.” Well, who can say when? These are some dangers that texting while driving brings about to your reaction time:

  • Sight. Looking at a text message while driving shifts your focus away from the road. You might not notice if your car is swerving already.
  • Mind. In case the content of the message bugs you, your mind might drift away to somewhere while you are driving. In short, you might be absent-minded, which is a no-no.
  • Physical. Though there are many experienced drivers steering the wheel with one hand, it is not recommended for you to do so as well. If you are holding your phone, then it may be too late to move the wheel before danger hits you.

Red-light camera ticket

Long before you notice an intersection, you can already see the traffic light. The basics tell that when it’s green, you’re good to go. When it is red, you should stop. Yet despite the sign, many drivers ignore the red-light and continue driving. That is another example of a moving violation. Red-light cameras take shots of your car, including your license, in case you do that. 

Same with texting tickets, you may or may not be surcharged depending on the state laws. Still, that is a violation. Doing so may subject you to harm and severe problems. Here are some of the things that might happen by running the red-light.

  • It can cause severe injuries. Drivers who run a red-light do so with increased speed, but so are drivers on the green light. In case many cars collided, they will receive serious injuries.
  • It can result in fatalities. Since red-light running occurs at an intersection, the vehicles move from four directions. With the speed that drivers use while moving in such places, it can cause fatalities.

How a traffic ticket affects your coverage

Aside from an increase in the cost of your auto policy, the repercussions of the matter can also come in other forms. Such consequences may be directly seen in your coverage. This might give you some difficulties with your insurance. You can read from the following information about the said outcomes.

Less reduction in your cost in the long run

People who are driving for a long time may qualify for some discounts and a reduction in their rates. That’s because experienced drivers tend to get into fewer accidents. They are also less likely to violate a traffic rule. 

Receiving traffic tickets and dirtying your record may become the other way around. Instead of qualifying for a lower premium, you qualified for higher costs in the end. You may also lose some benefits that you have been enjoying in cases you repeatedly do violations. 

Insurance companies might refuse to cover you

With a terrible record, insurance companies may see you as a dangerous villain, pun intended. Your risk is high, that’s why they may not insure you. If they indeed do so, then they might lose a big amount of money. In that case, you might face legal consequences.

It is mandatory in almost every state to have a minimum amount of insurance. Driving without it is illegal. To make sure that you won’t face jail time, consider looking for a state-run insurance risk plan. You may encounter them when shopping around!

Will the increase and record be permanent?

You don’t need to worry! The blemish in your record will become less relevant after three years. It will indeed stay permanently in your record, but it may be overlooked as time passes by. As we all say, “there’s room for improvement.” As long as you don’t make violations for a long time, you can enjoy paying for lower rates again.

The increase doesn’t last forever. Since insurers take your driving record in assessing your risk, your rates will also see a corresponding increase or decrease. If you keep your record clean for at least three years, then you can get the low rates that you’ve been waiting for! Take note that the time required may vary state by state.

How to lower your rates after a traffic ticket

Though we’ve said that the increase will only last for a few years, you may still find it unbearable. Everyone has varying financial circumstances. It may be fine for others, but not for some. That’s why as promised earlier, we will keep you informed of some ways on how to save money on auto insurance.

Shopping for a new policy

Whether you get a surcharge or not, shopping for a new policy will never be a bad idea. Doing this gives you insights into the insurance trends, the perks, and disadvantages of different offers. This also gives you a wider variety to choose from. After getting an increase due to a traffic ticket, this is one of the things that you can do.

Remember to ask your insurer about their surcharge schedule. This is the date and time where they will put an increase on your rates. Usually, it happens during your renewal, so you don’t have to be alarmed about getting an increase right after the ticket. 

Consider the types of coverages you need

A basic auto policy consists of liability, collision, comprehensive, uninsured/underinsured motorist, and personal injury protection coverage. However, you may ask yourself whether you truly need them. There are many aspects that you may have to consider before making the decision.

For instance, you are driving an old car. Carrying collision and comprehensive coverage on it may not be cost-efficient. Dropping it may be a good choice. Take note that you would have to pay for the repairs yourself if you do that. Only you can decide whether to drop it or not.

Carrying a basic auto policy is investing for financial protection from a wide number of situations.

Deductible

Deductibles are a fixed amount of money that you will pay for your insurance to kick in. It is an out-of-pocket expense that you share in the costs. For example, your car got wrecked in a collision. Your deductible is 500 dollars. If the repairs cost 1200 dollars, then you will receive 700. 

Increasing your deductible after a surcharge makes your rates lower. However, you have to weigh if you are gaining something from it. Here’s another example. You have a 500-dollar deductible. If the amount needed is 600 dollars, then all that you can receive is a hundred. That might not be a wise decision for you.

Take driving courses

Taking driving courses refreshes the traffic rules and driving tips in your mind. Some insurers may see that as the will to make fewer violations in the future. Other insurers give those who finished such courses discounts. With or without a reduction, this is a must-do.

Defensive driving courses will be a good choice. It will teach you ways to drive considering safety. You may learn about ways to prevent causing an accident and how to reduce the impact that it may cause. Of course, lessons about traffic rules are included.

Tips to avoid getting a traffic ticket

As promised, we will give you some tips to avoid getting a traffic ticket. The following tips are simple things that may save you a lot. Everyone will be able to do these and have a chance to avoid such a situation.

Drive safely

At all times, you have to consider safety and there are many ways to do that. This would be just like hitting two birds with one stone. You can arrive at your destination, and you won’t receive your ticket. You can read more tips about driving safely below.

Obey the speed limit

Of course, you wouldn’t receive a speeding ticket if you’re not speeding! Obeying the speed limit makes it possible for you to step on the brake on time. You can have enough space to maneuver your vehicle. There are reasons that speed limits are imposed. By violating them, you might be subjecting yourself to danger.

Stop at red-lights

Traffic lights are there to monitor and give time for everyone to go their own ways. Keep in mind that there are many other drivers on the road. Stopping at red-lights won’t interfere with their time to pass through. It makes the chance to be involved in an accident at an intersection smaller.

Follow road signs

One such common mistake that people do is to ignore road signs. For instance, the sign says “No left-turns.” Yet they still turn that way. You shouldn’t imitate those people. As long as you are aware of left and right, and you can read the road signs, you can avoid getting a ticket. Remember to use turn signals and make the turn with caution.

Avoid distractions

Over time, some drivers may develop driving habits if they’re not corrected. This can result in serious consequences. One such thing is using your smartphone while driving. As much as possible, you have to focus on the road. It is better to pull over on the side first before using it. 

Final Say

Some people say that your future happens due to your decisions. It may be true at some point. Making traffic violations is a choice. That’s why you receive a ticket and can be subjected to surcharges. The traffic rules are there to promote safety, and you might be compromising safety if you don’t follow them.

Your auto insurance costs might increase after getting a ticket. Nevertheless, we, the Advantage Insurance Solutions, got you! Get a quote from us, and we will give you satisfying feedback. We’ve got a friendly team that you can count on. Call us today!