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UPDATED: Jun 23, 2020
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If you have been pulled over for speeding or some other traffic violation, you may have received a citation to appear in court, or what is otherwise known as a “ticket.” On the other hand, the police officer may have given you a written or verbal “warning” for speeding, which is quite different and has different consequences.
How long will a speeding warning affect car insurance rates, and why does getting a warning affect your insurance at all? The good news is: whether the warning is verbal or written, it usually does not have the same impact on your driving record or your car insurance as a true ticket.
How can you easily compare rates on car insurance if you’re worried about a rate increase from a warning or ticket? You can get free quotes to compare by entering your ZIP code above.
Getting a Warning Does Not Impact Your Car Insurance
How does a traffic warning affect insurance? Will getting a warning make your rates go up? Most of the time, it will not. Both written and verbal warnings don’t go on your driving record.
The difference between a verbal warning vs. a written warning is mostly that some jurisdictions save written warnings and can see the record if you get pulled over again for the same thing.
So, do you have to do anything with a warning ticket? You don’t have to, but be aware that multiple warnings will almost certainly end with a ticket, so take care of any mechanical issues and be more careful while driving.
A citation or a ticket is a legal summons to appear in court. When you are stopped for a traffic violation, a police officer has the technical right to arrest you for a misdemeanor and take you to jail.
Of course, if police officers did this for every traffic stop, the jails would be full to capacity with people whose only crime was traveling ten miles an hour over the speed limit or failing to stop at a stop sign.
While it is true that speeding and traffic violations can have serious consequences, the fact is that these violations are considered too minor in most cases to make a formal arrest and booking. Instead, officers are empowered to issue a written citation in lieu of arrest that orders the offender to appear in court. Failure to appear in court to answer the charges causes the penalty to increase in severity.
Eventually, you could be arrested for a speeding ticket, but probably only after you have ignored repeated warnings to pay the fine and appear before a judge.
Most people choose to waive their court appearances and simply pay the fine for the violation. Of course, you can appear in court and argue the validity of the ticket, but if you are found guilty you still have to pay the fine.
Your car insurance rates will go up if you get a full speeding ticket. You can see how much they’ll increase with these major insurers in the table below.
a Clean Record
1 Speeding Violation
That’s an increase anywhere from 12 to 24 percent.
Do different infractions affect your rate for longer terms? Speeding absolutely affects your record, but one at-fault accident will increase your rates more, and a DUI is going to have the biggest impact.
As far as what tickets affect your rate for the longest time or the shortest, it depends on where you live. Depending on which state you live in, citations may fall off in one year or five years.
This video from Liberty Mutual talks a little bit about how your driving record affects your rates.
But, does a warning affect your driving record, and does that warning go on your license?
What do warnings do to your license?
A conviction will go on your driving record, whether you plead guilty or are adjudicated guilty, but it’s not likely that a warning will. You will also be assessed any points assessed against your license for the violation that your state applies and your insurance company will be informed of the conviction.
On the other hand, a written or verbal warning does not require a court appearance
If you are required to appear in court, you have not been given a warning but some form of a citation which will appear on your record. If you have not been given a court date, you have received a warning, even if it is written.
If you are in doubt as to whether the paper you received contained a citation or a warning, you can call or visit the local police department which issued the ticket and ask them for clarification.
Speeding is a big problem, and a lot of people die from wrecks that involved speeding. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) shows how many fatalities related to speeding occurred between 2013 and 2017.
|% of Speeding|
More than a quarter of all fatal crashes involved speeding.
In the majority of cases, warnings will not be logged into the state’s Department of Motor Vehicles database, so they will not be a part of your driving record and will not be used by your insurance company in assessing your premium rates. For verbal warnings, this is certainly true. However, any written warnings could, theoretically, be recorded by your local law enforcement agency and it is possible they could become part of your driving record. This is especially true if you have a repeat offense in a short period of time.
Warning Tickets Don’t Stay on Your Record
For the most part, warnings are given and recorded to aid local law enforcement in deciding whether to write you a ticket for future offenses. If law enforcement officials can access your warning record, they know if you have already been warned about speeding or other infractions.
However, in 90 percent of cases, the manpower for tracking written warnings and reporting them to the states does not exist in smaller law enforcement agencies. Therefore, the danger of having a written warning reported to the state and your insurance company is minimal.
Even if your car insurance company does learn of your warning, the chances are that one warning will not raise your car insurance rates. This is because car insurance companies tend to base premium rate increases on the points you have accumulated for a given period of time, and points are not assigned to warnings.
On the other hand, it is possible your car insurance company could see a warning for speeding as an indication that you are a risky driver, especially if you have other speeding violations in the recent past.
You can avoid the problems of speeding tickets and warnings by being aware of your speed at all times and observing posted speed limits. It is much easier to prevent a speeding ticket than to deal with the consequences of one to your driving record and insurance rates.
Non-Moving Violation vs Moving Violation
What is considered a non-moving violation? Non-moving violations are for issues that don’t relate to your driving, such as parking tickets and mechanical issues with your vehicle.
FindLaw notes some examples of non-moving violations:
- Parking in front of a hydrant
- Parking in a designated no-parking zone
- Parking in front of an expired meter
- Excessive noise from your muffler
Will parking tickets affect your insurance? Or will seatbelt warnings affect insurance?
In contrast, moving violations are typically things like speeding, DUI’s, accidents you cause, and running a red light.
Will non-moving violations affect your car insurance? It’s highly unlikely that they will. Moving violations, such as speeding tickets, DUIs, and car accidents have huge impacts on your car insurance, but things like parking tickets won’t unless you let them pile up and don’t take care of them.
This video from WKMG News 6 Orlando explains the difference between moving and non-moving violations.
Even if you were stopped for a moving violation, a warning isn’t likely to affect your car insurance rates.
Frequently Asked Questions: Warnings Affect on Car Insurance
We have added a few more FAQs below, in case you want to learn even more about how warnings can affect your car insurance.
Can you dispute a warning?
Unless you receive a true citation, there’s nothing to fight in court. So, what happens when you get a warning for speeding? For most drivers, the answer is nothing. Depending on where you live, your written warning may be reported to the DMV, but it doesn’t always happen.
If you are a CDL driver, you may want to check with your employer about how a written warning can affect your job, as there have been cases where drivers lose their jobs from a warning, which can’t be disputed.
The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration notes that the odds of being involved in a safety-critical event for CDL drivers 23.2 times larger when a driver engages in texting while driving than those who don’t. That’s a lot of why it’s so serious for even a warning ticket.
How long does a warning stay on your record?
Warnings aren’t likely to go onto your record, but some places do keep track of them.
For instance, does a written warning go on your record in Massachusetts? If you live out on The Cape or just visit, Provincetown’s site notes that three written warnings within one year might end in a suspension of your license. A written warning can affect your insurance in MA, so keep that in mind next time you’re in P-Town.
One state that does keep track of warnings is New Jersey. How long does a warning ticket stay on record in NJ? State Troopers can see that you received a written warning on their internal system, but that doesn’t extend to other states. Will a warning from another state show up on your record?
A trooper in NY won’t be able to see it. New Jersey doesn’t play around with tickets, and an actual ticket can stay on your record for five years. NOLO notes that fines can be triple on certain parts of Route 130.
But, does getting pulled over affect your insurance? The only way that’s going to happen is if you don’t take care of it or, like in Provincetown, you get multiple warnings which are then reported.
To find out what happens with a Florida traffic written warning, how long a warning stays on your record in Massachusetts, what happens when you get a warning or ticket in Connecticut, or other state-specific questions, contact the DMV for that state.
What type of warnings have the greatest effect on insurance rates?
What is the worst kind of warning you can get in terms of effect on insurance? Warnings do not affect rates differently because they don’t affect your rate at all.
No, there are no real consequences for a warning ticket in most cases. It doesn’t really matter what type of ticket it is. As long as it’s only a warning, you won’t need to worry about when you will see the increase in your rate from getting a warning.
Do you have to pay for a warning ticket? You won’t be charged nor will you have to pay a fine unless you receive a citation.
Do warnings matter to insurance companies?
Warnings aren’t usually reported to car insurance companies, so they’ll never know and your rates won’t go up.
Is it worth it to go to driving school to get points removed?
Driving school can erase a ticket from your record or help you avoid a high fine. If you weren’t able to get out of the ticket, you might even be able to keep your record clean which would avoid a heavy rate increase on your car insurance.
Should you notify your insurance company if you get a warning?
What should you do if you get a traffic warning? There’s no reason for you to report it to your insurer. Most warnings will have no real consequences, so you don’t need to report a warning at all.
How do insurance companies find out about warnings? The only reason they will is if your warning gets reported to the DMV. Most don’t, but even if it does, it won’t impact your rates.
Should you consider changing providers after getting a ticket or warning?
Your rates won’t be affected with a warning, but tickets can make your rates go up. Car insurance providers have different standards for determining how much you’ll pay, so it’s a good idea to shop around. Even if you just got a warning, you may be able to save money on your car insurance.
Can cops see if you got a warning?
If you received a written warning, then it is likely that it can be seen by police accessing your history.
How can you save on car insurance after you’ve been ticketed? Enter your ZIP code below to get free quotes to compare and save.