Car insurance rates are based in part on your driving history, both before and while insured by a given company. Things like speeding tickets and accidents will almost always increase your premiums, though usually not dramatically so. Over time, if you prove that those incidents were isolated, your rates can drop again, as car insurance companies realize that you’re a good driver.
However, if you’re responsible for a major violation, it’s not quite so simple. That said, a lot of drivers aren’t sure what a major violation is, and they’re not quite sure if they’ve committed one. In this article, Part 1 explains what counts as a major violation and Part 2 goes over the penalties for major violations.
Part 1 of 2: What qualifies as a major car insurance violation?
A major violation is any violation that is high-risk, and therefore puts your insurance company in a bad situation. Any time you are caught doing something that has a high probability of ending in a serious accident, your car insurance company will take notice.
The most well-known major violation is getting a DUI (Driving Under the Influence) or DWI (Driving While Impaired). Impaired drivers are in serious, and often fatal accidents at a far higher rate than sober drivers, so this constitutes as a major violation.
Reckless driving (as determined by the police), drag racing, or exceeding the speed limit by at least 45 miles per hour also falls under the umbrella of major violations. It’s no surprise that drivers who do these things are more likely to crash their car, and that the accident is likely to be more serious and costly.
Being the responsible party in a hit and run (or even fleeing a scene that you’re not responsible for) also is a major violation, for understandable reasons.
A few major violations deal directly with licenses. Getting behind the wheel when your license is suspended or revoked is a major violation, as is allowing an unlicensed driver (or a driver with a suspended or revoked license) to drive your insured car.
Finally, you can even commit a major violation without driving. If you submit a fraudulent claim, usually with the intent of getting money from your insurance company, then that is a major violation as well.
Part 2 of 2: What is the penalty for a major violation?
The repercussions for a major violation are up to the discretion of your car insurance company. In general, the car insurance provider will dramatically increase your rates, to make up for the fact that you are now a high-risk driver. Car insurances make money by charging you more than they have to pay for your repairs, so the higher risk you pose to them, the more money they have to charge you.
In some cases, your car insurance company may even drop you from your plan if you have a major violation. This is likely to happen if you file a fraudulent claim, but it is also fairly common for drivers who receive DUIs or DWIs, especially repeat offenders. Each time you repeat an offense, your rates will rise, and the odds of you getting dropped from your plan increase.
You should never commit major violations. Not only will they spike your car insurance rates by a large amount, but major violations can be highly dangerous to you, your passengers, fellow drivers, and pedestrians. They also are highly illegal, and often can result in jail time. Be a good, responsible driver, and you’ll stay safe, out of trouble, and with affordable car insurance premiums.