Leslie Kasperowicz holds a BA in Social Sciences from the University of Winnipeg. She spent several years as a Farmers Insurance CSR, gaining a solid understanding of insurance products including home, life, auto, and commercial and working directly with insurance customers to understand their needs. She has since used that knowledge in her more than ten years as a writer, largely in the insuranc...

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Melanie Musson is the fourth generation in her family to work in the insurance industry. She grew up with insurance talk as part of her everyday conversation and has studied to gain an in-depth knowledge of state-specific insurance laws and dynamics as well as a broad understanding of how insurance fits into every person’s life, from budgets to coverage levels. Through her years working in th...

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Reviewed by Melanie Musson
Published Insurance Expert Melanie Musson

UPDATED: May 4, 2022

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Here's what you need to know...

  • Do all tickets affect insurance? What kind of tickets affect your insurance? Generally, anything above a parking ticket
  • Traffic tickets increase car insurance even if you have never been in an accident
  • Traffic violations and speeding tickets can cause your rates to increase
  • In most states, you will accumulate points for traffic violations and your license will be suspended if you accumulate too many.

It’s a fact of life that traffic tickets affect insurance. In addition to fines for the infraction, your car insurance rates will likely increase. But, do traffic violations affect insurance? Not all traffic infractions will affect car insurance rates the same, and not all insurance companies will raise rates the same. So what kind of tickets affect insurance?

Each car insurance company looks at driving records but will charge different rates. That’s why it’s important to get multiple quotes to compare for the best coverage at the cheapest rates. Enter your zip to start getting quotes today.

Why Traffic Citations Cause Rate Increases

Car insurance companies calculate premiums based on the likelihood of a driver needing to file a claim. People who file claims frequently cause insurance companies to lose money. Insurers would rather cover people who do not get into accidents as this allows them to collect premiums and make a profit.

Traffic laws are designed to keep the roads safe and prevent accidents. Roads are designed with certain features in mind, such as these III-listed speed limits, passing lanes, and the location of traffic signals. When used properly, these roads should be safe.

People who fail to comply with traffic laws are at a higher risk of causing a collision or making one worse. For example, running a red light or failing to yield right-of-way could cause an accident, and driving faster than the speed limit could cause the accident to become more severe.

Even if you have never been in an accident, it’s likely that you will have one at some point if you routinely fail to obey traffic laws. Insurance companies will automatically view you as a high-risk driver if you engage in reckless driving behaviors, even if you have never been in a collision.

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How does a ticket affect your insurance?

Not all tickets you receive will cause your rates to increase, and some citations will cause a greater increase than others.

Certain violations do not usually come with an insurance rate increase, such as non-moving violations. So just what is considered a non-moving violation?

For example, parking tickets will not increase your rates. You may have a hard time renewing your registration if you have unpaid parking tickets, but your driving record and insurance premiums will not be affected.

In order to encourage safe drivers to purchase their policies, insurance companies offer discounts to people with immaculate driving records. Similarly, insurers charge higher rates to people who have been in car accidents as a way to compensate for the cost of claims.

Accidents are not the only element of a person’s driving history, however, and insurance companies assess a driver’s entire driving record when calculating premiums. This means that even if you have never been in an accident, traffic violations and speeding tickets can cause your rates to increase.

Car insurance companies use other factors than driving history to determine your rates. This video gives you an idea of all of the things looked at to figure rates.

Many factors are used to determine your rates. The good news is that some factors, like credit history and driving record, can be improved to lower your rates.

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Traffic Tickets and Insurance Rates

Does a citation affect insurance? Traffic tickets generally go hand in hand with higher car insurance rates. The more citations, the higher the rates.

So how much does a citation increase insurance? Keep reading to find out how getting a traffic ticket affects your insurance.

What type of infractions has the greatest effect on insurance rates?

Among moving violations, citations are divided into three categories: minor, major, and criminal. As you might guess, the more severe the violation, the more your driving history and insurance premiums will be affected.

Obviously, if a violation causes an accident, your rates will be affected by both the ticket and the subsequent collision. As noted by both the U.S. Department of Transportation and AAA, some of the most common citations that cause rate increases are:

  • Failure to wear a seatbelt
  • Driving faster than the speed limit
  • Driving while intoxicated
  • Distracted driving, such as cellphone use
  • Driving without insurance

In each case, according to Nolo, these actions increase your likelihood of either being in an accident or sustaining severe injuries or damage as a result of an accident.

This table shows a breakdown of how much each type of ticket affects rates. Let’s look at the average annual rate for a clean driving record and one with a traffic ticket.

Average Annual Car Insurance Rates by Driving History
CompaniesAverage Annual Rates with a Clean RecordAverage Annual Rates with 1 AccidentAverage Annual Rates with 1 DUIAverage Annual Rates with 1 Speeding Violation
American Family$2,693.61$3,722.75$4,330.24$3,025.74
State Farm$2,821.18$3,396.01$3,636.80$3,186.01
Liberty Mutual$4,774.30$6,204.78$7,613.48$5,701.26
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You can see that the difference between a clean driving record and just one ticket can cost you a lot of money.

How much will my rates increase?

How much does a traffic ticket raise your insurance? Will a speeding ticket for 5 mph over the speed limit affect insurance? A single citation may not have a noticeable effect on your premiums, especially if it’s a minor infraction. For example, a single speeding ticket may not affect your policy at all. On the other hand, a single criminal infraction like a DUI could have a major impact on your premiums.

Many states like California use a points system for traffic violations. Once the driver receives so many points, your license can be suspended. Some insurance companies also look at points to determine rates.

Once you receive a ticket, it will count as one or more points against your driving record. After a certain number of points accumulate, your premiums will increase; with enough points, your insurer may decide not to renew your policy at all. Points can take up to seven years to drop off of your driving record, so you may be stuck with the higher rates for quite a while.

It’s also important to note that if you receive a ticket in another state, that ticket and points will be reported to your home state.

Let’s answer questions to see just how much your rates will increase based on points.

  • How much do 2 points affect insurance? Two points will increase your rates bout 20 percent, depending on the state.
  • How much do 3 points affect insurance? Three points can raise your rates by about 50 percent, depending on the state.
  • How much do 4 points affect insurance? Four points can affect your rates differently depending on what the points were issued for. In some states like California, four points can almost double your rates.

Your rates may increase dramatically if you have a safe driving award that you lose due to the citation. Some insurance companies only retract these discounts if drivers are involved in accidents, but others may take away the discount for severe traffic violations as well.

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How do insurance companies find out about tickets?

Do you have to report tickets to insurance? Not necessarily. Insurance companies have access to your driving history and will usually pull the report before renewing your policy.

So, when will I see the increase in my rate from getting a ticket? Bear in mind that the rate increases can only occur after the policy is renewed, so you may not see the increase until several months after the violation.

If your rates suddenly jump after your policy renews, you can contact your agent to see what the reasoning behind the increase was and whether there is anything you can do about it.

The best way to maintain low insurance premiums is to focus on safe driving and avoid citations and accidents whenever possible. If you do get a ticket, however, you can still work with your insurance company to find a way to keep your policy affordable until the points where off and your premiums drop down to normal.

Since each company weighs traffic tickets differently, it’s important to get quotes from multiple companies. Enter your zip to begin comparing quotes today for the cheapest car insurance for drivers with traffic tickets.

Frequently Asked Questions

We’ve gathered some of the more commonly asked questions and answered them for you.

Do speeding tickets affect insurance with Geico?

Yes, speeding tickets affect Geico insurance rates, but just how much does insurance go up after a speeding ticket with Geico? That depends on many factors and isn’t the same across the board.

How often does Geico check your driving record?

Usually, Geico will run your driving record at every renewal to help determine your rates.

How much does insurance go up after a speeding ticket with State Farm?

A speeding ticket can increase your rates from 20 to 30 percent, depending on how much you were speeding. State Farm, and other companies, will take many other factors into account as well when calculating your rates as well.

How much will my USAA insurance go up with a speeding ticket?

As noted above, the amount your insurance rates with USAA, or other companies, increase depends on the nature and number of traffic violations.

Do unsafe lane changes affect insurance?

Yes, unsafe lane changes are moving violations and will result in tickets, points, and insurance rate increases. The amount of increase is determined by your company.