A moving violation ticket will leave a bitter taste in any driver’s mouth. I know…I’ve had them. So have a lot of my clients.
A violation can spike a driver’s auto insurance premium. Plus it may come with hefty financial penalties. But depending on the violation or which state the driver is located, it could be an extremely burdensome on a driver’s wallet.
A recent Quadrant Information Services study found car insurance premiums can climb by as much as 96% after a single moving violation on average nationwide. Ohio is not nearly as punitive as some states.
The Type of Violation Makes a Big Difference in the Potential Insurance Rate Increase
The study analyzed the average national premium increase for one moving violation in 21 different categories, including careless driving, reckless driving, driving under the influence and speeding. As in years past, the study found the economic impact on one’s insurance premium varies significantly among different types of violations and among different states.
Here are some of the study’s key findings along with some advice on what you can do after a moving violation to keep your rates as low as possible:
Your premium increase will depend on the specific violation.
Take, for instance, the difference between reckless and careless driving.
According to Robert Nevo, a former Georgia police officer and current owner of Nevo Driving Academy, careless driving is usually defined as “a minor lapse in judgment,” such as following too closely to the vehicle in front of you. Reckless driving, however, concerns more “intentional acts,” such as driving in a way that shows no regard for the safety of others. A Reckless Driving citation can have severe consequences.
“Moving violations are typically weighted with a point system. This makes an excessive speeding violation much more severe than, say, a broken taillight violation,” said Nevo. “Insurance companies often see more points against a driver’s license as an increased risk. Therefore, you’re going to see higher premiums for that driver.”
Whether it’s a minor or major offense, your wallet will feel the toll.
According to the National Association of Insurance Commissioners (NAIC), the average annual U.S. auto insurance premium is $866. That means an 88% premium spike for one reckless driving offense will result in an increase of just more than $750 per year.
Even relatively “minor” infractions, such as following too close or not yielding to a pedestrian, can mean paying an average of $260 more per year for car insurance. Driving under the influence carries an expensive insurance penalty, with a single infraction resulting in an average premium spike of $1,086.
You can still save money.
While your premium may be impacted for quite some time, the moving violation will eventually be erased from your driving record. How long you’ll feel the increased premium’s impact depends on the severity of the violation as well as the individual state laws. Here are some tips for the bumpy times ahead.
If this your first moving violation, especially a minor one such as a failure to signal, talk to your auto insurer. They’re typically going to be somewhat forgiving for a small infraction. Take advantage of any driving classes your state might be offering to remove one or two moving violations from your record.
You can buy “Accident and Violation Forgiveness” as part of your auto insurance policy. You must buy this endorsement BEFORE the accident or violation of course.
Make a deal:
If your violation isn’t too severe, look for a plea bargain when your day at traffic court is due.
Use an Independent Insurance Agency:
Independent agents have multiple insurance companies to shop for a new car insurance policy.
Wait it out:
Eventually, your driving record will go back to its original clean slate, but that could take anywhere from three to five years.