One incentive to drive responsibly, beyond the obvious risk of damage, injury and possible death, is the hit a ticket will make on your insurance rate. For major moving violations and DUIs, all bets are off. But will a minor infraction have a dramatic impact on what you pay your insurer?
According to AAA, the typical yearly cost of insuring a passenger sedan is around $1,000. That is more than $83 a month. Not a king’s ransom, perhaps, but significant enough that most of us can ill-afford a further increase in these hard economic times.
According to CarInsurance.com, three things have to occur before it will result in raised rates.
1) The ticket needs to be reflected on your motor vehicle record.
2) You have to reside in a state that allows insurance companies to levy surcharges for traffic violations.
3) Your insurance provider must see the violation as an indication of risk.
Ticket hits MVR
Most non-moving violations will not be reflected in your motor vehicle record. Parking tickets, fix-it tickets, expired registrations, talking on a cellphone while driving and similar citations don’t have an impact on your record.
Not clicking your seat belt may or may not get you a ding, depending on your residence and insurance provider.
Where do you live?
Some states do not allow insurance companies to levy surcharges for minor infractions, even moving ones. New York is one such state.
Texting behind the wheel may not make a hit, but it could, also depending on where you live. Holly Anderson of State Farm said:
“In states with texting bans, there could be a premium impact for a violation involving texting.”
Most insurance companies rate moving violations as a risk factor. These compound the more violations you accumulate. For a first time infraction, according to CarInsurance.com, rates typically rise only around a 5 percent or so. But a collection of tickets on your motor vehicle record can cause them to go up 20 percent or higher.
If you do get a moving violation and want some idea of the impact it may have on your insurance, you can use a free tool provided by Insurance.com called the “Uh-oh!” calculator.
Safe driver discount
Another expensive consequence of tickets — besides paying the ticket itself — is the possible of losing any safe driver discount. Those discounts can be saving you 15 percent or more. Although your rate will not go up, the loss of the discount could raise your premiums significantly.
GoInsuarnceRates.com offered some tips for other ways to lower your insurance rates. Shopping around and taking advantage of discounts is one smart move. Discounts are offered for many things, inducing being a student, for certain professions and having anti-lock brakes.
Pay-as-you-drive insurance is a possibility for those with a history of violations. These programs monitor your actual driving habits, often with a device installed in your vehicle, and do not factor in past failings.