How much does one speeding ticket raises your auto insurance rates?



Will a speeding ticket raise my insurance rates?

Most drivers, especially teenagers, drive faster than posted speed limits. It does not seem to matter that average speed limits across the country are higher now than they were a decade ago. No matter the speed limit, a good percentage of drivers are going to push beyond the speed limit; whether it is because they are a little late, or if they are not paying any attention to their speed, or just that they have a new sports car and so forth. Clearly, there are not enough highway patrol officers to give speeding tickets to all those who speed, which means that the odds always favor the speeder in terms of not getting caught and ticketed.

Until they do receive a speeding ticket citation, most drivers don't think twice about how much the ticket would increase their auto insurance rates. This is not a good idea because the cost of the speeding ticket itself may be added an even more expensive increase in their auto insurance rates. In cases of extreme speeding such as wreckless driving, a driverís cost for auto insurance could double even on a first time offense.

Why do insurers often raise rates after only one speeding ticket?
Itís simple. Numerous studies and reports by highway safety experts around the country show that "the faster you go, the more deadly it is," says Jeanne Salvatore, spokeswoman for the Insurance Information Institute. "Thereís a higher possibility youíre going to cause a lot of damage to people or property."

If you are cited for a speeding violation, your insurer may tack a temporary charge on your insurance policy for three years. At one large auto insurer company, the charge may increase your auto insurance rate by up to 25% the first year, then will gradually decline and disappear after three years, as long as you have no more moving violations.

In every state, the DMV has a point system, certain violations equate to certain points. For example, a regular speeding ticket is typically 1 point. A reckless driving speeding ticket can earn you 2 or 3 points. The higher the point system, the more your insurance will cost you. After a certain number of points, you will no longer have your license for a certain period of time.

Is there anything I can do?
Just about all states will offer people a chance at taking traffic school. Granted, traffic school is a waste of money and a whole day, it can save you money in the long run by preventing the speeding ticket from affecting your car insurance rates. If your state offers traffic school and you qualify, take advantage of it, even if it means a wasted Saturday in traffic school or taking the course online. Most states will only allow you to take traffic school once every 18 months. If you took a course within the past 18 months, that means you are out of luck and need to learn to drive slower, at least for the next 18 months!

How much does the insurance go up?
The size and duration of the increase varies depending on several factors, including:

  • Your standing driving record and your relationship with the auto insurance company. Some insurers waive the surcharge if the customer has had a long relationship with the company and previously had a clean driving history.
  • Where you live. Insurance is regulated by the states, and different states have different laws regarding rate increases. Some states donít allow insurers to impose a surcharge for first-time speeding tickets, while others require insurers to raise rates for some speeding violations. For example, a single male driver who lives in Phoenix and receives one speeding ticket will experience an average rate increase of 16%, but the same driver will pay no more if he lives in Philadelphia.
  • How much you were exceeding the speed limit. An analysis by USA TODAY found that 10% of ticketed drivers in 2002 were "extreme speeders"ódrivers who exceeded 90 mph or 15 mph above any speed limit. Extreme speeding is considered reckless driving, a major violation. Even a first-time citation can more than double your insurance rates.
Speeding may also affect insurance rates other than for auto insurance. Insurance companies may look at your driving record when deciding whether youíre a high-risk customer and could charge you higher rates for life, health, disability or long-term care insurance.

On average, auto insurance rates rise anywhere from a few percent to about 5% annually. Avoiding getting a speeding ticket can keep your costs from going up even more.