The flashing lights. The siren behind you. That anxious feeling in the pit of your stomach. You know you were speeding, and unfortunately, you got caught this time. As the police officer walks away from your car, you get that sinking feeling of anxiety. You think to yourself, “What will happen to my auto insurance now?”
No matter what the situation, people dread getting speeding tickets. Between the hassle of taking time to deal with it and the financial cost, speeding tickets are a huge burden.
At Lake Region Insurance Agency, we know you have questions about insurance. We offer our customers everything from auto to life insurance and can help with all those decisions. We’re happy to serve our New London, Willmar, and Cokato, MN neighbors.
Does a Ticket Increase Auto Insurance?
The short answer: probably. Speeding tickets become part of your driving record, just like parking violations and accidents.
Sometimes, you won’t see an increase with your first ticket. If you are generally a safe and responsible driver with minimal violations, your auto insurance rates may not go up much, if at all.
But being an overall safe driver doesn’t guarantee that a speeding ticket will go unnoticed.
Why Does Your Auto Insurance Increase?
No matter the type of insurance, your rate comes from the risk an insurance company takes in protecting you. If you are statistically a low-risk individual, that means the insurance company is not likely to have to pay out a large sum on your behalf.
So your auto insurance rates will remain low when you fit into the safe driver category. If the algorithms show that you are unlikely to get in an accident or need to make a claim, you get a lower price.
Your auto insurance company bases this risk on your prior driving behavior. Do you have several moving violations? Or have you had a few close together? The more tickets or accidents that you have on your record, the higher your premium will go.
Speeding is one of the most common causes of traffic tickets. It is also a reliable indicator that you will be the at-fault party in a traffic accident. Therefore, speeding tickets increase your car insurance.
Your auto insurance company will examine your driving history when you initially apply for coverage. They also periodically check your record as long as you have insurance with them. Traffic violations will likely increase your premium. And too many tickets could mean they drop your policy completely.
Factors that Affect this Increase
Getting a speeding ticket alone doesn’t result in a one-size-fits-all increase. Most insurance agencies have their criteria to determine how much, if any, the premium will increase.
Amount Over Limit
Some insurance companies will not increase your premiums unless you receive a ticket for going at least 15 miles per hour over the speed limit. This is not a guarantee, by any means, but a general rule of thumb for many underwriters.
Furthermore, different states have different regulations. Most states utilize a point system in which you receive points for various violations. The speed you were going can impact the number of points you receive.
There are ways to estimate your increase. This traffic ticket calculator reveals that speeding between 15 and 29 miles per hour will increase your insurance by an average of 12%.
Number of Violations
As previously mentioned, your first offense might not necessarily result in a premium increase. However, each additional ticket will likely incur a steeper punishment.
If your state utilizes the point system, the punishment gets worse, the more points you accumulate. This increased penalty certainly happens when someone receives multiple tickets in a short time since points generally drop from your record after a certain number of months.
How to Lessen the Increase
There are ways to keep your insurance premium low. Obviously, the most important thing is to be a safe driver. When you stay focused on the road, stay free from distractions, and drive within the speed limit, your rate should hold pretty steady.
If you do receive an increase, consider changing your coverage. Varying plans offer different levels of coverage with distinct premiums. Analyze how much coverage you need by speaking with your agent.
As a bonus, a safe driving or defensive driving course will often result in a lower premium. Did you know you can take a safe driving course even if you haven’t gotten a speeding ticket?
What to Do if You Get a Speeding Ticket?
Very few people will go their entire driving life without receiving a traffic citation. So, when you do find a ticket in your hand, there are a few things you could or should do.
Deal with the Ticket
Most of the time, you have three options:
- Pay the ticket.
- Contest the ticket.
- Seek mitigation.
If you pay the ticket as is, you admit your fault, pay the fine, and move on. Contesting the ticket involves going to court and trying to prove that you were not speeding. This rarely works. Mitigation means that you explain the circumstances and see if the court will offer a lower fine. For first-time offenders or those who haven’t had a ticket in years, this often works well.
Get your driving habits back under control. Receiving an additional ticket almost guarantees that your auto insurance premiums will go up.
Give yourself time to get where you’re going. Put your phone down and away from you, so you aren’t tempted to use it while driving and stay focused on the road.
Take a Defensive Driving Course
Sometimes courts allow mitigation of a ticket if you complete a defensive driving class. And many states will allow you to drop your citation from your record when you complete the course. There is usually a timeline, though, so finish the class as soon as you can so you don’t miss out on this opportunity.