A Traffic Ticket Doesn’t Have to Cost You More for Car Insurance

It is common knowledge that receiving a traffic ticket will cause your insurance rates to go up immediately. The truth is that premium increases don’t always follow traffic tickets in every case. The severity of the ticket and the means used by the courts and your insurance company will make a big difference in your ultimate consequences. Your previous driving record will also play a part in whether or not your insurance rates rise after your traffic ticket.

How Severe Is the Ticket?

Insurance companies do not treat all traffic tickets the same way. The less serious your ticket is, the better your chances will be of escaping without too much damage to your insurance premiums. Speeding tickets within a certain range are generally not even reported to insurance companies. If you are caught driving recklessly, however, the ticket will be reported and could cause your rates to increase. Speeding more than 15 mph over the limit, following too closely, or failing to yield for an emergency vehicle are examples of tickets that might be cause for concern.

Alternatives to Wipe the Ticket from Your Record

Most states offer ways that you can have the ticket removed from your record, especially if it is your first offense. In larger states like California, the option to go to traffic school rather than accept the ticket is available. You must sign the ticket at the time the officer issues it. Other states might require you to visit the courthouse to negotiate a way to keep the ticket from being included in your driving record. You might be able to pay a smaller fine and perform community service or go to a specific traffic school instead of having the ticket charged to your record.

Consequences of Accepting the Ticket

It may seem easier just to accept the ticket, pay the fine, and be done with it. If you don’t actively seek alternatives to accepting the ticket, your insurance rates are far more likely to increase. Traffic tickets can add points to your driving record, which increase your risk level in the eyes of the insurance company. Anything you can do to remove the ticket from your record will save you money in the end, especially if you have had tickets or accidents on your record previously.

State Laws Vary

Each state has different requirements for reporting tickets to insurance companies. You might have to pay additional fees in order to take traffic school and remove the ticket from your record. Many states place a restriction on how many times you can attend traffic school to protect your driving record. Some states will only allow you to use driving school as an alternative if you were caught speeding within 25 mph of the speed limit. To learn about the options available in your specific area, contact the courthouse that issued the traffic ticket. The clerk will give you more information about specific traffic ticket alternatives.

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