The cost of car insurance is based on many factors, including where you live, your age and gender and how often you drive your car. One of the most important factors that determines your insurance rate is your driving record. Your insurance company will periodically run motor vehicle record checks to assess how much risk you present while driving. Speeding tickets can increase your car insurance rates, and in some cases, that cost increase can be rather significant. However, a rate increase is not guaranteed after a speeding ticket.
Getting a speeding ticket could increase your car insurance rates, but may have no impact on your premium at all. Ultimately, your results will vary depending on your driving history, how fast you were going, the state you live in and which insurance company you use.
Will a Speeding Ticket Affect Your Car Insurance Rate?
Insurance companies are moving away from raising premiums after speeding tickets. A recent poll found that 78 percent of drivers who received a speeding ticket saw no spike in their premiums.
Most car insurance companies occasionally check your driving record with your state’s Department of Motor Vehicles to assess your risk level on the road. Your driving record includes any tickets and any points you’ve incurred on your license over the last one to three years, depending on the state. Insurers have an incentive to charge more to riskier drivers. However, they generally don’t run driving record checks very frequently. This is because getting motor vehicle record checks is costly. In some states, such as Minnesota, it can cost up to $27 per check. Insurers understand that it’s not cost-effective to run constant record checks on every driver, so they tend to err on the conservative side.
Usually, if you’re over 25 and have a relatively clean driving record, your insurance company will run a check when you purchase your policy, and then again when you renew your policy. As a general rule, this means they’ll wait 18 months to two years between checks. Thanks to these long intervals between record checks, your insurance company may not even notice your speeding ticket. Alternatively, if a check does reveal a speeding ticket, it may take a long time for your rate to be affected. If you have an otherwise stellar driving record, your insurance company may opt not to raise your rate at all.
If you’re 25 or younger, you may experience more frequent checks, since younger people tend to be higher risk drivers. If you fall into this younger person bracket, expect to have your driving record checked every six months or so. This means you’re more likely to see an increase in rates after a speeding ticket.
Severity of the Ticket is Important
The type of violation you receive on your ticket will make a difference in whether your insurance premium goes up. Each insurance company has its own unique policy mandating which tickets are considered minor infractions, and which are viewed as major violations. Major violations, like reckless driving and driving on a suspended license, are nearly guaranteed to raise your insurance rates. Minor infractions, such as rolling through a stop sign or improper passing, may be forgiven if you have a clean driving record.
This same reasoning applies to speeding tickets. The faster you were driving when you received the ticket, the more likely you are to receive a rate increase. A minor speeding ticket may not affect your insurance premiums at all. If you rack up multiple minor infractions, however, your insurer will likely decide to raise your rates.
Another important factor is state law. For example, some state laws mandate that insurance companies can’t see certain infractions on your driving record, such as those generated by traffic cameras.
How Long Might Insurance Rates Remain Higher After a Speeding Ticket
If your car insurance premium increases in the wake of a speeding ticket, you’re probably wondering how long you’ll have to pay the increased rate. Most insurance companies will restore you to your original premium rate three years after a violation, provided you don’t incur any further tickets. For serious moving violations such as DUIs, insurance companies may charge you a higher rate for five, or even 10 years.
If you plan to shop for a new car insurance policy any time soon, expect that any tickets you’ve received in the last two or three years will affect your quoted rates.
Average Premium Increase After Speeding Ticket
How much your premium could go up is largely determined by your insurance company and state. Those who speed up to 15 mph above the speed limit can expect an average rate increase of 22 percent. For those who do 16 to 30 mph over the limit, the average premium increase is more like 29 percent. However, these rates vary dramatically by state. In Michigan, a minor speeding violation results in a 48-percent average premium increase, while Maryland drivers typically only see a 10-percent spike.
Your insurance company also has a large impact on how much extra you’ll pay after a speeding ticket. In California, for example, a speeding ticket will cause your annual premium to go up an average of $688 per year, but the actual costs vary drastically by insurance company. On average, Geico will charge you just $156 extra per year, while Allstate will raise your rate $1,044 annually. For this reason, it always makes sense to do your research and shop around for car insurance. It could save you hundreds of dollars in the long run.