The Traffic Tickets That Have the Greatest Effect on Your Car Insurance Rates

The Traffic Tickets That Have the Greatest Effect on Your Car Insurance Rates
Traffic tickets for common violations can send your car insurance premiums soaring. (Photo: @Chalabala via Twenty20)
For some people, there are few things in life as enjoyable as driving. Especially on a beautiful summer day, hitting the road in your car can be one of the most relaxing, fun things to do. But all that changes when you see police lights flashing in your rearview mirror. Your amazing day has soured and you’re in for a pricey little surprise from the officer.
Once you’ve been given the ticket for your offense, the pain doesn’t stop. You’re reminded of the mistake you made for years to come — every time you renew your car insurance. One ticket can have a drastic impact on your car insurance premiums, and let’s not even think about two or more.
But what kinds of tickets will cause you the most grief? Read on to find out.

How Common Traffic Tickets Affect Your Car Insurance Premiums

Most of the American population has been guilty of more than one of these common traffic violations. Whether you’ve been caught is another story.
It’s been found that police in the U.S. issue about 112,000 tickets a day for driving offenses. If you’re one of the unlucky drivers who gets caught, this is how your ticket will affect your car insurance.
  • Speeding up to 15 mph over the speed limit: Typically, you won’t get tagged for driving a few miles over the limit unless you’re in a school zone or construction zone. If you do get tagged for speeding, the effect on your car insurance is the same as if you were caught going 15 mph over the limit. Your car insurance premium will increase 21%, on average.
  • Speeding more than 15 mph over the posted speed limit: The cost of the ticket obviously increases with this offense, but so does the premium for your car insurance policy. If you’re caught going 16 to 30 mph over the posted limit, you can expect to pay 28% more for your insurance. Being caught driving over 30 mph will result in a 29% increase in premiums, on average.
  • Tailgating: Following the vehicle ahead of you too closely is dangerous and can quickly cause an accident. Risky behavior like this will nab you a fine plus an increase on your car insurance of 19%.
  • Failing to signal: Use your blinkers! It’s just polite to indicate to the traffic around you that you intend on making a change of direction, whether you’re turning or changing lanes. This offense is going to cost you a ticket plus 19% extra on your car insurance premiums.
  • Improperly driving in a carpool lane: It’s moving quickly, so why not use it? Because you’ll get tagged, that’s why! Using the carpool lane when you shouldn’t will get you ticketed, plus add approximately 18% to your car insurance premiums.

Traffic Tickets with the Greatest Effect on Your Car Insurance Premiums

Tickets for the following traffic offenses have the greatest impact on your car insurance premiums.
  • Driving while intoxicated or under the influence: It’s arguably the worst offense you can commit short of killing someone on the road. Amid suspensions and hefty fines, you can also expect your car insurance premium to skyrocket. The average increase in the United States is 94%. Your car insurance premium will nearly double, so think twice.
  • Reckless driving: Major moving violations are considered reckless driving. Extreme speeding, blowing through stop signs intentionally, showing a complete disregard for other motorists and pedestrians — these actions will get you a reckless driving ticket. You’ll also be hit with an 84% increase in car insurance premiums.
  • Careless driving: Slightly less severe than reckless driving, careless driving involves a driver who knows better but committed the offense anyway — but without the intent to cause harm. This lack of malicious intent reduces the impact on your car insurance, but still, a careless driving offense will jack your car insurance rates up by 27%.
Some traffic tickets affect your car insurance premiums more than others. Some result in modest increases and a few others put the hurt on your pocketbook. The ones above are some examples of traffic tickets that affect your insurance, including a few that hurt the most.