Does Traffic School Help Lower Your Car Insurance Rate?

Traffic school may help you keep your car insurance rate from rising depending on your location and the violation.
Written by Melanie Krieps Mergen
Reviewed by Bellina Gaskey
Depending on your location and the driving offense, traffic school may help you reduce the points added to your driving record or avoid them altogether. If you can limit the points on your driving record, you might be able to keep your insurance rates from rising after committing a violation.
  • Attending traffic school in-person or through an online traffic school course may help you avoid getting points added to your record after you commit an offense.
  • Since your driving record impacts your car insurance rate, minimizing the points on your record (via traffic school and avoiding bad behavior in the first place) can help you keep a lower car insurance rate.
  • Some insurance providers offer direct discounts for customers who take certain types of driver safety courses, which may be separate from traffic school. 
Getting a traffic ticket on its own can be a major bummer. But if you’ve gotten one ticket too many, you’ll have to contend with your car insurance costs going up, too. Sometimes, a traffic school course can be an easy solution to this problem (while also making you a safer driver). 
Here’s what you should know about traffic school, how it can impact your
car insurance costs
, and additional ways you can save on car insurance—even after a traffic ticket.
The traffic tickets that have the greatest effect on your car insurance rates
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Does traffic school help lower your car insurance rate?

To understand the impact traffic school can have on your car insurance rate, it helps to understand what traffic school is. Traffic school, sometimes referred to as basic driver improvement (BDI), is a broad term used for educational programs that help you improve your driving skills and knowledge of the rules of the road.
If you receive a ticket for a moving violation, like a
speeding ticket
, you might be required to attend traffic school. In some states, you can reduce the number of points added to your driving record, or even avoid them altogether, if you agree to attend and pass a course offered by an approved traffic school program.
This can be a relief for you financially, as insurance companies will take a close look at your driving record to evaluate your level of risk and
determine your car insurance rate
. Offenses like reckless driving and DUIs come with some of the most severe rate hikes, but even the points that come with more minor traffic citations can drive up your insurance costs.
To make matters a little more complicated—in some states, insurance companies will use an insurance point system that’s separate from your driving record to determine rates. How long accidents and tickets will stay on a record may vary, but it’s often between three and five years. 
A driver’s safety course could still help you reduce your car insurance rate in this scenario, so it’s worth asking your insurance agent about your options if this is a concern for you.
The impact that traffic school can have on your driving record—and in turn, your car insurance rates—will vary from state to state. You can check with your local DMV to get a better sense of your options. 
As a general rule, the more points and violations are on your record, the higher you can expect your auto insurance costs to be. If traffic school will help you reduce points or avoid them altogether, it’s probably a good idea to attend!

When is traffic school required?

In some states, traffic school is required after certain offenses—like running a red light in
or driving at least 25 mph above the speed limit in
—or to
have your license reinstated
after it’s been suspended.
To make attendance that much easier, many states include online courses as options in addition to in-person classroom settings.
Some drivers also decide to complete traffic school on a voluntary basis. These drivers may want to avoid having points added to their driving record after an infraction or avoid a
driver’s license suspension
It’s important to know that if you wish to attend traffic school to avoid having points added to your record, most states have requirements regarding when you can take the class and how many times you can do so for this reason.
Even if your driving record is squeaky clean, there can still be benefits to attending traffic school solely for the sake of brushing up on your skills.

How to lower your car insurance costs after a traffic ticket

The cost of a traffic ticket alone can sting, but having your car insurance premium go up after the fact can add extra salt to the wound. Fortunately, there are still ways you can cut down on your insurance costs.

Take an approved defensive driving course

Even if traffic school isn’t an option to keep a traffic ticket off your driving record where you live, your insurance provider might still be able to lower your rate if you pass an approved driver safety course. To find out what your options are, check in with your insurance agent.

Practice safe driving habits

Traffic tickets can often stay on a driving record for three to five years, depending on where you live and the severity of the offense. While you wait for the effects of past tickets to fall off, making an extra effort to drive carefully on the road can help
clean up your driving record
and prevent your rate increase from getting even steeper.
To boost your savings even further, see if your car insurance company offers a telematics program that tracks your driving habits—some will give you an insurance discount just for signing up, and if the data deems you a safe driver, you could save even more.

Reassess your coverage

While you obviously don’t want to create any coverage gaps that could put you in a financially vulnerable situation, adjusting your coverage options where it makes sense or
raising your deductible
if you can afford the out-of-pocket cost can help lower the cost of your insurance.

Shop around for insurance

If you’re not happy with the rate you’re getting from your current car insurance provider, you might be able to find a better rate elsewhere. 
While any reputable insurance company is going to look at your driving record when calculating your rates, different providers emphasize different parts of your profile. Finding and comparing multiple quotes, either on your own or with an insurance comparison tool, can increase your odds of finding a better deal.

Take advantage of car insurance discounts

To save on the car insurance policy you already have, make sure you’re taking advantage of the auto insurance discounts available to you!
Bundling policies, signing up for automatic payments, earning good grades, or paying your premium in full upfront are all ways you can save on car insurance. 
Many insurance companies also allow you to stack discounts, which can really help the savings add up. But not all providers advertise all their discounts outright, so it’s worth asking your agent about what you could qualify for.
MORE: How much a distracted driving ticket costs you in the long run
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In California, some drivers may be eligible to attend traffic school to avoid points being added to their driving record. If the number of points on your driving record stays low or nonexistent, you’ll be deemed a safer driver, which could help you avoid a major auto insurance rate hike.
In Florida, attending traffic school is an option to avoid points being added to your driving record after certain offenses—but it’s difficult to remove points once they’ve already been added to your record. Florida law also doesn’t allow you to remove points for citations from other states.
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