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If you have gotten a speeding ticket, you may be very worried that your car insurance rates will increase. Depending on the type and severity of the ticket, however, you may not have anything to worry about. Some tickets actually do not raise your insurance rates at all; others can have a significant impact.
The key to determining whether a ticket will affect your rates often is to find out what your company’s threshold is for “points” on your license. Most states use some form of a point system, assigning drivers varying amounts of points for different infractions. The more severe the violation, the more points are assigned. When an insurance company “sweeps” a state’s records, it will find out how many points you have accumulated. However, if you are under a threshold amount, it is likely you will not see an increase in your rates. If you are over that threshold, you might be paying more.
Not all Tickets mean Higher Car Insurance Rates
Suppose that an insurance company does not raise rates for anything under three points on your license. You receive a speeding ticket which adds two points to your license. Your rates will not, at this point increase. However, if you receive another ticket with two more points on your license, your rates will go up. Points stay on your license for a certain amount of time depending on where you live. Check your state’s Department of Motor Vehicles website to see what your state’s policy is about points and note that tickets in other states may affect your car insurance. Some infractions add as much as six points to your license for one ticket.
You can try to negotiate with the court which handles the disposition of your ticket to “drop” the points from your license. If it is your first offense, many judges will remove the points from your license in exchange for you paying the fee immediately and pleading guilty. If the points do not appear on your record, then most car insurance companies will not know about your ticket and will not raise your rates.
For the most part, car insurance companies are more interested in getting business than worrying about every little point on a license for small speeding tickets. Of course, there are companies which will raise your rates for even a single point on your license. However, you are free to shop for insurance with other companies, and may get a better rate with a company with more lenient policies.
The Type of Ticket you get is Very Important
The type of ticket you get can also affect whether an insurance company raises your premiums. For example, driving at 40 in a 30 mile per hour zone will normally not raise your rates much if at all; however, if you are driving 40 in a school zone during school hours, this could be written up as “reckless driving.” Not only will you pay more for the ticket, but your car insurance company may raise your rates significantly as a result of this violation.
There are some tickets which are sure to raise your rates by their very nature. If you receive a ticket for following too closely, and the result is a rear-end collision, your rates will likely go up. If you receive a DUI conviction, your insurance may very well be cancelled; you will be forced to buy insurance which provides what is called an SR-22 filing to the state, and these policies are only offered by certain companies at very high rates.
Speeding tickets generally affect your insurance based on how fast you were going at the time you got the ticket. Anything less than ten or fifteen miles per hour over the speed limit is not considered dangerously fast, and has the least chance of affecting your insurance rates. Fifteen to twenty-five miles per hour over the limit may well cause you a rate increase. If you are traveling more than thirty miles an hour over the speed limit, not only will your insurance rates increase, but you may face action from your state, depending on what the law is regarding dangerously fast driving. Some states’ laws allow a judge to suspend your license if you drive recklessly fast.