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: Mar 13, 2022

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Just What's Essential

  • A traffic citation is a summons issued by a police officer to an individual who has violated one or more traffic laws
  • Your traffic citation will be added to your driving record, which will add points to your driver’s license
  • Traffic citations are likely to increase your car insurance rates

If you have ever been caught violating a traffic law while driving, you have likely received a traffic citation. A traffic citation can be issued for a wide variety of reasons, and receiving one often means you will need to appear before the court to pay a specific fine.

The most common traffic citations often deal with speeding, running stop signs and red lights, illegal lane shifting, and other similar infractions. But traffic tickets can also be issued for much more serious reasons, like a DUI or a hit and run.

What’s a citation?

A traffic citation is a summons issued by a police officer to an individual who has violated one or more traffic laws. A citation is a ticket that describes all violations the individual may have committed. Once a person receives a traffic ticket, they will most likely need to go to court to either pay a fine or contest the charge.

If the individual intends to contest the charge related to their traffic citation, they will still need to show up to court on the date and time they were summoned. They must also come ready to pay the fine if they are found to be guilty of the traffic violation.

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Where is the citation number on a ticket?

If you receive a police citation, you will find a description of all of your alleged traffic violations, the officer’s information, and the date and time you’re required to show up in court. You will also find a citation number on the ticket.

In most cases, your citation number is located in one of the top or bottom corners of your traffic ticket. This number is how the court will track your case, and it is also something you can use to research your case if you find yourself confused about any of your charges.

What does a citation mean?

If you’ve received a traffic citation, you may be worried about what it means. But a traffic citation is often a simple recognition of a traffic violation you committed. As long as you show up to court and pay the associated fine, you do not need to worry.

Occasionally, receiving a traffic citation may add too many points to your driver’s license — depending on your previous driving history — and that could affect both your car insurance rates and whether your driver’s license is suspended. If this is the case, you will want to check with your state’s department of motor vehicles to see how many points you have accrued.

Does a citation go on your record?

A citation will go on your driving record, and this will ultimately add points to your driver’s license. The good news is that the points will eventually be removed from your driving record, but where you live and the type of citation will have a lot to do with how long that process will take.

In some states, certain traffic violations are removed from a person’s driving record after just a few months. In other states, certain infractions can remain on a person’s record for five years or more.

With violations on your driving record and corresponding points on your driver’s license, you can expect that your car insurance rates will increase. The amount of the increase will depend on a few different factors.

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Will your car insurance increase after a traffic citation?

One of the only ways your car insurance rates will not increase is if you contest your traffic violation in court and are found to be not guilty. Otherwise, you can expect your car insurance rates to be at least minimally impacted.

Depending on the nature of your traffic violation, you may find that your car insurance rates increase significantly. This is typically only the case if your infraction was extremely serious, such as a DUI or DWI, since a DUI can stay on your driving record indefinitely, depending on your state’s individual laws. In some cases, this type of infraction could also cause you to lose your license and even face jail time.

The table below shows the average annual car insurance rates with different companies based on a person’s driving record.

Average Annual Rates Based on Driving Record with Different Companies
CompanyClean RecordWith One Speeding TicketWith One AccidentWith One DUI
American Family$2,693.61$3,025.74$3,722.75$4,330.24
Liberty Mutual$4,774.30$5,701.26$6,204.78$7,613.48
State Farm$2,821.18$3,186.01$3,396.01$3,636.80
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If you find after your traffic violation that your car insurance rates increase to the point that you can no longer afford them, your best bet is to shop around and compare car insurance quotes from multiple companies online to see if you can find something cheaper.

Once your traffic violations are removed from your driving record, you may find that your car insurance rates decrease. If they do not, you should shop around for coverage with a company that will honor your clean driving history with a more affordable monthly premium.