How Traffic Violations Can Impact Your Insurance Premiums

Many drivers don’t realize how much their driving record can impact the rates they pay for auto insurance. Safe drivers with a long history of safe driving can expect to pay less for auto-insurance compared to someone with several moving violations. Here’s a quick primer about how any moving violation will impact your insurance rates and what to expect. You should always consult with your insurance provider for the specifics of your case since insurance policies differ from one company to the next.

Some auto insurance companies offer a safe driving discount and accident forgiveness for specific plans. Accident forgiveness plans usually have higher premiums, but your rate will not raise if you’re involved in a minor collision. Most insurance companies will immediately raise insurance rates for 3 to 5 years, depending on the severity of the violation. A ticket issued for littering in a vehicle can impact your insurance rates for this reason. Safe drivers may have a bit of a buffer from this as a single speeding ticket may not be enough to raise rates.

Low Impact Violations

Some violations that are unlikely to affect the cost of your insurance premiums include a ticket for a broken taillight, littering, or driving without a seatbelt. Parking violations, general equipment violations, and failure to produce registration are also considered low impact.

Medium Impact Violations

Going 10mph over the posted speed limit and receiving a ticket for it is a medium impact violation. Distracted driving or talking while on a cellphone or other device is also considered a medium impact violation. These can have an immediate impact on your insurance rates for several years.

High Impact Violations

These violations are serious offenses that could result in having your insurance policy revoked. They include reckless driving, failure to stop after an accident, DUI conviction, and major speeding violations (more than 10 mph over). High impact violations like a DUI will lead to a very high percentage increase in your premiums if you are not dropped altogether. A DUI can make it difficult to find an auto insurance provider and anyone who will ensure you will expect more than double standard rates. Be prepared for that if you have recently had a DUI conviction.

Most states track these violations through a point system that accrues over a specified period. Each violation is worth a definite number of points. All of this data is available to your insurance company, so they can see when you’ve been involved in an accident. Severe violations often stay on your record permanently, while smaller violations expire after a certain amount of time. When signing up for insurance, most will ask if you have been convicted of a DUI in the last ten years. Drivers with more points on their DMV records can expect to pay higher insurance premiums than drivers with a clean record. Determining how much a violation will impact your rates is hard since insurance companies are so different with their policies. But medium and high impact violations will nearly always result in a rate increase.