Traffic Tickets and Car Insurance

You may feel the need for speed, but tickets for driving over the speed limit can hike your insurance costs.

You may feel the need for speed, but tickets for driving over the speed limit can hike your insurance costs.

Your car insurance company uses your geographic location, personal credit history, level of education, occupation, commuting time, marital status, gender, age, driving experience and the number of traffic tickets you have to calculate your premium. The premium assessment also varies with the insurance company and with the make and model of car you drive. The exact formula used to determine the cost of your premium remains a closely guarded secret, but there are a few universals when you have traffic tickets.

How Long Does It Take Before a Ticket Shows Up on Your Insurance?

There isn't a set time for your ticket to show up on your insurance record. Some states, including Indiana, require your insurance company to supply a certificate of compliance showing proof of coverage when you receive a ticket because of an accident resulting in property damage, injury or death. In these cases, your insurance company is notified when the state processes and sends this request. The official report of your ticket typically shows up on your insurance premium at the next policy renewal.

Can Your Car Insurance Company Tell You How Much Your Rate Will Increase After a Speeding Ticket?

Your insurance agent cannot tell you the exact amount of the premium increase for a speeding ticket. You must wait until your receive your bill for the premium for the increase. Insurance companies evaluate your rate increases at renewal times, and every company uses a different formula. Increases typically align with your state's traffic violation point system, but not all speeding tickets have the same point ranking. The specific premium increases typically factor your age, driving record and marital status. Teen drivers with several speeding violations, for instance, may have their policy canceled after a speeding ticket -- or a requirement by your company to take out a new high-risk auto policy at significantly increased rates.

How Long After a Last Speeding Ticket Does Insurance Go Down?

Insurance companies generally look at your driving record over the last three years when writing a policy. Serious infractions, including high-speed reckless driving and speeding incidents involving death, stay on your record for a longer period of time. Tickets for excessive speed combined with drinking and driving remain on your record for 10 years.

Can a Seat Belt Ticket Affect Your Insurance Price?

If you fail to pay the fine for a ticket or miss a court appearance to clear a seat belt ticket, your insurance company re-evaluates the price you pay for premiums according to the company formula. Even if you handle the seat belt ticket, your insurance company uses this as a violation to evaluate your premiums. Some states, including Indiana, revoke your driving privileges for failing to handle a seat belt violation. Your insurance company receives the notice when your license is revoked, or when you receive points on your driving record for failing to wear your belt, and adjusts your premium.

Does a Ticket for a Busted Headlight Affect Your Insurance?

Police officers issue fix-it tickets, known more formally as correctable violations. Once you show the court a repaired light, the judge or court clerk dismisses the ticket in most states, including California, and your driving record remains clear. Your insurance company has access to information when you fail to appear in court for a broken headlight. This is a misdemeanor in some states, such as California. Your premium increases according to your insurance company's private formula for your failure to appear in court.

About the Author

Lee Grayson has worked as a freelance writer since 2000. Her articles have appeared in publications for Oxford and Harvard University presses and research publishers, including Facts On File and ABC-CLIO. Grayson holds certificates from the University of California campuses at Irvine and San Diego.

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