How Does a Speeding Ticket Affect Car Insurance Costs

By Desiree Baughman
Desiree maintains insurance licensure in 46 states, and by combining years of experience as a writer and insurance professional, she delivers information consumers can easily relate to and understand. A graduate of Sweet Briar College with a diverse writing portfolio, she regularly serves as an expert source and commentator for respected outlets like CBS Money, Bankrate, and Ragan.com.

How Does a Speeding Ticket Affect Car Insurance Costs

Car insurance companies take a number of factors into account when determining your rate–everything from you age, gender and location, to the type of car you drive and your credit score. Your driving record is one of the biggest factors, and getting a lot of traffic tickets will definitely raise the cost of insurance. The reasoning behind this is simple: the more traffic tickets and/or moving violations you have, the more likely you are to get into an accident and cost your insurer money. Though there’s no way to predict exactly how a traffic ticket will affect your rates, you can assume that the impact will be relative to the frequency and severity of your driving infractions. However, not every ticket you receive will have a negative impact on your insurance.

Parking Tickets Won’t Affect Your Insurance Rate

If you receive a parking ticket, it won’t have any effect on your driver’s license or your insurance, nor will it appear on your driver’s abstract. But if you want to renew your insurance, you will need to pay for any tickets that you may have first. If you haven’t paid, the insurance company won’t hand over that shiny renewal sticker for your license plate.

Speeding Tickets and Their Effect on Your Insurance

Despite some of the misleading rumors swirling around that multiple speeding tickets have to accumulate before they’ll have an effect on your insurance premiums, the fact of the matter is that one single speeding ticket can have a huge impact on how much you pay. And how fast were you going, exactly? If you were ticketed for going five mph over the speed limit, the impact will be considerably less than if you were over by 15+ mph. It’s important to note that other infractions may have an impact on your insurance as well. Many drivers receive other complementary tickets along with a speeding ticket, with some of the most common being:

Minor Tickets:

  • Driver’s license violations
  • Failure to share the road
  • Failure to use a seat belt
  • Failure to yield to another car or pedestrian
  • Failure to surrender your license
  • Failure to produce evidence of car insurance
  • Traffic light infraction

Major Tickets:

  • Speeding 60 mph over any posted speed limit
  • All insurance offenses
  • False statement of insurance
  • School bus (fail to stop, improper passing)
  • Speeding in a construction zone

Serious & Criminal Tickets:

  • Driving Impaired/DUI
  • Careless driving
  • Dangerous driving
  • Racing
  • Refusing a breathalyzer

Out-Of-State Speeding Tickets

Think that the traffic ticket you received while vacationing in Florida will have no affect on you insurance in Ohio? Think again. Though not every state participates, the majority of states do exchange information about traffic tickets or moving violations. This means that any ticket that you obtain out of state will still likely come up on you driving record or Motor Vehicle report, at which point the DMV in your state will decide how it will impact your driving privileges. And if something has an impact at the DMV, it will likely also impact your car insurance.

Speeding Demerit Points Have No Effect on Your Record

Drivers in states that use a points-based disciplinary system are often confused about how it affects their driving rights and their car insurance. At least in the eyes of your insurance company, it’s the ticket that you receive that matters, not the demerit points which may come along with it. Do keep in mind, however, that any license suspensions that may result from your failure to take action related to demerit points (such as failing to attend a court hearing) will affect your insurance rates.

Removing Tickets and Traffic Violations From Your Record

When you receive a traffic ticket, it’s generally advised that you don’t admit guilt, so that you preserve your ability to contest the ticket in court later on (bear in mind that signing the ticket isn’t taken as an admission of guilt, but paying the related fine is). Drivers can either choose to contest the ticket on their own or hire an attorney, though it’s a good idea to make an anonymous call to your car insurance provider to get an idea of how a ticket might affect your rates before you sink time, energy, and possibly money into fighting it.

Many drivers aren’t aware that there are ways to have some traffic tickets and offenses removed from their record, so that these past infractions will no longer negatively affect their car insurance rates. Two of the most common ways are:

  • Enrolling in and graduating from traffic school
  • Enrolling in a defensive driving course (some of these courses are available online, making them even easier to complete)

Contact the DMV in your state or an insurance agent for more information on what options exist in your area under your particular circumstances.

Having a clean driving record is the best way to keep you car insurance premiums low, and to enjoy the maximum number of discounts, but having a speeding ticket or two over the course of several years likely won’t skyrocket your premiums. When in doubt, call your insurance company for more information on how the ticket may affect your rates going forward and what actions you can take to reduce your insurance costs or have a ticket removed from your record.