Few things spike your blood pressure like glancing in the rearview mirror and seeing flashing blue and red lights. Maybe you were briefly not paying attention or driving an unfamiliar road and genuinely didn’t know you were speeding. Whatever the reason, you now hold a speeding ticket. You’re probably wondering, how long does a speeding ticket affect your insurance?
How long does a speeding ticket affect your insurance?
The short answer is anywhere from not at all to as long as five years.
“A speeding ticket can stay on your record for an average of one to three years,” said Marc Deiter, the director at Say Insurance. “Once the initial stress of being pulled over subsides, the ticket might seem like no biggie. You pay the fine and then get right back on the road.”
Deiter said insurance companies calculate your premium based on assessed risk, considering things like age, where you live, driving record and other factors.
The age and value of your vehicle, your driving history, ZIP code, age, gender, job and even your credit score affect the cost of your insurance. There’s a lot to calculate, which is why there is no easy answer saying a speeding ticket raises your monthly rate by $50 for the next two years. However, we can look at some averages.
With a new speeding ticket on your driving record, the calculation of your potential risk as a driver increases, and so will your insurance premium for an indeterminate amount of time. What’s most important is the issuing state and its rules on speeding tickets. There is an easy way to find out how long a speeding ticket affects insurance rates: Call your insurance company.
How much will a speeding ticket raise my insurance?
Just like how long a speeding ticket stays on your insurance, the question of how much is also a moving target with many variables.
“Generally, the faster you’re going, the more it’ll affect your premium,” Deiter said, “but that isn’t always the case. Different factors play a role in how insurance companies calculate your risk, so if you’ve been the perfect driver until now and this is your second year with a company, your discounts might be enough to balance the rise in premium, leaving you back where you started.”
A single speeding ticket might not raise your insurance at all if it was your first violation and fewer than 15 miles per hour over the speed limit. That’s not always the case depending on the state and insurance carrier, so your first ticket could raise insurance rates by anywhere from 7-25%.
That doesn’t sound too terrible, but it gets worse if:
- This wasn’t your first ticket
- You were 15-plus mph over the speed limit, or
- The ticket included other moving violations, such as reckless driving or DUI. In this case, you could be looking at a massive, triple-digit rate increase, or your insurance carrier could drop your coverage.
Typically, you won’t see a rate hike until your next renewal, so look for discounts and take action now before you get the larger bill.
How long does a speeding ticket stay on your record?
Your driving history and tickets are tracked by more than just your car insurance carrier. Your official driving record, called a motor vehicle report, is a public record of your driving information that includes license number, moving violations, DUIs, fines, suspensions and accidents.
You can get a copy from your state DMV, and it’s how insurance companies assess your risk as a driver and calculate an appropriate rate. A couple of speeding tickets on your official driving record will make a noticeable increase in quoted rates.
“A speeding ticket or other moving violation can stay on your record for an average of three years,” Deiter said. “It can haunt your driving record for quite some time.”
Some states even keep track of speeding tickets for a full decade. Looking for exactly how long a speeding ticket stays on your record? See Below:
What other violations affect my insurance?
It’s not just speeding tickets that can raise your insurance rate. Here are some other moving violations you should try and avoid, not just for insurance purposes.
A DUI violation involves driving while under the influence of drugs or alcohol. This impairment slows reaction times, inhibits good judgement and causes around 10,000 fatalities each year, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration.
With a DUI on your driving history, your insurance rates will increase by an average of 80% but possibly more. That depends on state laws and your insurance company. DUI is also one of the convictions that can prevent you from being insured, which effectively means you can’t legally drive, even if you retain your license.
Texting while driving
Studies show texting while driving is just as dangerous as drunk driving. Like speeding, insurance increases vary by the state and provider. If you had a clean record, expect around a 30% increase.
Red light camera tickets
Ever receive an automated camera ticket in the mail, with evidence of your wrongdoing and a demand for payment of a hefty fine? Fortunately, most red light camera tickets will not raise your insurance rates because they are not recorded as points on your driving record. Next time, though, don’t try to beat the yellow.
Reckless driving is another one you don’t want to see on your record. You typically receive a large fine, potentially jail time and/or a license suspension. This sounds excessive, but reckless driving is dangerous, with examples including the above DUI, street racing, road rage, passing on a blind corner, driving well over the speed limit or going around railroad crossing barriers. Depending on the nature of the offense and your state, expect your premium to increase by around 50%, though in some cases it can increase by 100%
Tailgating is officially “following too closely.” If that sounds vague, that’s because it is. There is no set following distance that will get you a tailgating ticket, just closer than is reasonable and prudent under the circumstances. What is more certain is the amount you pay, which is an estimated rate increase of 20%.
Can non-moving violations affect my insurance?
Worried about a parking ticket affecting your insurance? Don’t be.
“Since no one is driving and the vehicle is not in motion for non-moving violations like parking tickets and broken tail lights,” Deiter said, “they generally don’t affect your car insurance. This is mostly because these violations don’t necessarily reflect your risk on the road.”
However, that doesn’t mean you should collect parking tickets as if they’re Pokemon. Non-moving tickets still have to be paid and cost you money. Non-payment of a ticket could lead to you not being able to renew your vehicle registration, leading to even more fines or an impounded vehicle.
How to minimize how long a speeding ticket affects insurance
There’s no guarantee you can do anything to hasten the removal of a speeding ticket or reduce its effect on your insurance premium. However, you may have some luck trying the following strategies. If you have questions about legal processes, consult a lawyer.
Contest the ticket
If you have the time, take it to court. You can represent yourself or lawyer up if it was quite the expensive ticket. Dress nice, be respectful, don’t lie and be apologetic and maybe the ticket will be dismissed. Maybe you won’t be that lucky, but it could be reduced or drop off your record earlier than average.
Take a defensive driving course
Check out a driver’s education course for a reminder of how you should have been driving when you got the ticket. A defensive driving course may lower your rate by 5-15%, depending on several factors. If you decide to contest the ticket, this could look good in front of the judge, swaying that reduction/dismissal in your favor.
There are many insurance companies out there that offer competitive rates to get your attention. A recent survey showed a whopping 76% of customers who shopped around insurance carriers saved money. It can pay to compare quotes.
If you have a speeding ticket on your record, it’s still likely to factor into your premium. But with a new customer discount, you may still realize savings over your current policy.
There’s insurance for everything, from your home to your pets to even concert tickets. You can usually stack the savings by bundling your car insurance with another insurance package, like homeowner’s or renter’s insurance. Expect to see a 5-25% discount.
Hunt for discounts
Enjoy bargain hunting? There are all sorts of discounts that could affect the final price you pay for insurance. A common example is the option to go paperless for all transactions and statements, saving you money and some trees.
More recently, you might have seen commercials for devices that take a snapshot of your actual driving, monitoring for speeding and heavy throttle use, and reward you for patience. Depending on your carrier, there could be discounts for being a senior citizen, veteran or active military, VFW or AARP member, a social club member or even from working as a city, state or federal employee. Poke around your insurance carrier’s website and see what they offer.