What Happens to Insurance When You Get a Ticket?

A traffic citation's insurance implications can range from minimal to severe.

A traffic citation's insurance implications can range from minimal to severe.

Looking in your rear view mirror and discovering those telltale flashing lights can be a sickening feeling. If you've been pulled over for a traffic violation, there's a good chance the officer will reward you with a ticket. Whether the citation will have a negative impact on your car insurance premiums and even your continued eligibility for coverage will depend on the type of violation, your state of residence and the rules of your auto insurer.

Non-Moving Violations

A ticket for a non-moving violation, such as a parking infraction, is likely to have little if any impact on your insurance rates. From an insurance company's perspective, a parking ticket does not pose a greater risk that you will be involved in a traffic accident or serve as an indicator that you are an unsafe driver. However, if your illegal parking contributes to the cause of an accident, you could be cited for a violation that may have an impact on your insurance rates.

Minor Moving Violations

Even the most careful drivers might be ticketed for a minor moving violation now and then. Examples of common minor violations generally include speeding less than 15 miles per hour over the limit or failing to use a turn signal. Many insurance companies follow a policy of forgiving one minor violation, especially if you have been a long-term customer. If you accumulate multiple violations within a specified time frame, however, you can expect your rates to increase.

Major Moving Violations

Major moving violations include driving under the influence, reckless driving and driving at speeds of more than 15 miles per hour over the limit. If you are cited and convicted of a major violation, you can expect to receive a hefty surcharge assessed to your car insurance premiums. If the major violation results in a license suspension, which is frequently the case with infractions such as DUI, your insurer may have grounds to cancel your coverage. If that occurs, you'll need to resort to more expensive high-risk insurance coverage.

Obtaining New Coverage

Your driving history is a major factor that will influence your insurance rates when seeking new coverage from a different insurer. The fewer violations that appear on your driving record, the better your chances of receiving the company's most favorable rates and meeting its eligibility requirements. By waiting until any moving violations drop off your motor vehicle record, which will vary depending on your state of residence, you can save money on your new policy.


About the Author

Chris Joseph writes for newspapers and online publications, covering business, technology, health, fitness and sports. He holds a Bachelor of Science in marketing from York College of Pennsylvania.

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