The long-lasting sting of a traffic ticket

By Michele Lerner on August 27th, 2012

A speeding ticket for driving more than 30 mph above the limit can raise your auto insurance premium by an average of 15 percent annually.

The amount of the surcharge for any particular ticket will vary from one insurance company to another and could also be affected by state insurance regulations, but here are a few examples of average ticket-related surcharges.

  • Reckless driving: 22 percent
  • DUI first offense: 19 percent
  • Driving without a license or permit: 18 percent
  • Failure to stop: 15 percent
  • Speeding 1 to 14 mph above the limit: 11 percent
  • Driving without car insurance: 6 percent

Car insurance companies evaluate every driver on the basis of their risk profile, so when you get a ticket your insurance company will likely raise your premiums to compensate for your added risk.

How long your surcharge lasts

Insurance companies have to follow state regulations about how long they can add a surcharge to your premiums. In most states, the time limit for the surcharge is three years from the date of the ticket. Some states say that surcharges are allowed only for major tickets (such as reckless driving, a DUI or speeding 30 mph or more above the limit) and not for lesser offenses.

Some insurance companies impose the surcharge at the same percentage every year for three years, while others decrease the size of the penalty rate each year as long as the driver does not get another ticket.

New auto insurance policy with a ticket

If you have a ticket on your driving record, you can still shop around for new car insurance. You'll still pay a surcharge, but in most states that surcharge is regulated based on when you got your ticket. In other words, you will pay the surcharge only until three years (or whatever your state's regulations say) have passed from the date of the ticket regardless of when you switch insurance companies.

While one ticket may not have much of an impact on your auto insurance rates, a collection of driving errors could send your rates higher and even limit the number of insurance companies that will offer you a policy.

Michele Lerner

Michele Lerner, author of "HOMEBUYING: Tough Times, First Time, Any Time", has been writing about personal finance and real estate for more than two decades for a variety of publications and websites including Investopedia, Insurance.com, HSH.com, SavingsAccount.com, National Real Estate Investor magazine, The Washington Times, Urban Land magazine, NAREIT's REIT magazine and numerous Realtor associations.

See average annual insurance rates for more than 2,000 vehicles

Top Auto Insurance Provider
Facebook 470 flares Google+
470 flares ×