Gianetta Palmer is a writer for CarInsurance101.com, copywriter, and essayist. Her work has appeared in EverydayHealth.com, Healthline, and The Dyrt Magazine. She is the author of Scrunchie-Fried and writes a lot about car insurance in her spare time.

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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 car insurance laws and dynamics as well as a broad understanding of how insurance fits into every person’s life, from budgets to coverage levels. She also specializes in automa...

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Reviewed by Melanie Musson
Published Insurance Expert

UPDATED: Mar 13, 2020

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Car insurance companies determine their rates based on the likelihood of drivers filing claims. Auto insurance providers lose money on drivers who are in frequent accidents and the only way they can profit is to collect more money from premiums than they pay for vehicle damage or injury claims.

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Risk is determined by a number of factors. A prior history of claims will cause an insured to pay higher rates, as would something like a DUI conviction or other similar traffic violation. Even tickets not directly related to accidents can cause rate increases. One recent concern that has come up in the past few years has been the problem of distracted driving, or texting while driving.

The Danger of Distracted Driving

Cell phones, while an intrinsic part of most people’s lives, are becoming much more dangerous as their technology develops. Beyond simply calling people, phones are now able to send text messages, surf the web, play games and take part in dozens of different applications. All of these portable activities are distracting for drivers who are tempted to play while on the road.

Studies have proven that distracted driving is actually more dangerous than driving while intoxicated. Many more car accidents occur each year as a result of driving while texting, and individuals using driving simulators while texting had a more difficult time using the simulator than those who had been drinking several alcoholic beverages.

As a way of counteracting the dangerous effects of cell phone use on the road, police around the country have begun to issue citations for driving while using phones inside of city limits. Tickets can cost from $20 to $50 in the beginning and costs rise on further offenses. If distracted driving continues to be as dangerous as it has been in previous years, stricter regulations may be put in place by police departments.

If I receive a texting ticket, Will my Car Insurance Rates go up?

A single ticket is not necessarily going to cause your rates to go up. Several factors are included in rate determinations, including driving history, time with the company and the type of car you drive. Of course, if you routinely partake in risky driving behavior, you do run the risk of seeing your rates increase; you may even have your policy canceled if the behavior is bad enough.

If you get into a car accident as a result of texting or other sorts of distracted driving, that accident will probably affect your policy more than if distractions were not a part of the claim. Ultimately, however, the final determination of what will happen to your policy will not be determined until the claim has been settled and your insurance company has had the opportunity to review all of the factors involved in your policy.

The best way to avoid rate increases is to avoid risky behavior. While using your phone on the road is tempting, the risk far outweighs the benefits. Not only can you receive a citation for distracted driving, you also run the risk of being involved in an accident that could lead to expensive repairs, injuries and of course complications with your car insurance.

If my car insurance rates increase due to texting, what can I do?

Whether your rates are affected by an accident, driving violations or other factors, you still have plenty of opportunities to reduce your insurance costs. For example, you can reduce the cost of your policy by raising the deductible for your collision and comprehensive coverage. You can also speak with your agent to see if there are any reduced-cost plans you can enroll in, or if you can save money by bundling several types of policy.

Ultimately, safe driving will lead to low insurance premiums. If you have been identified as a high-risk driver, you can improve your driving record and see the rewards begin to develop in your insurance. Some companies provide discounts for driving without an accident for a certain number of years. By taking advantage of these, you can counteract the effect of any accidents or traffic citations against your policy.