Leslie Kasperowicz holds a BA in Social Sciences from the University of Winnipeg. She spent several years as a Farmers Insurance CSR, gaining a solid understanding of insurance products including home, life, auto, and commercial and working directly with insurance customers to understand their needs. She has since used that knowledge in her more than ten years as a writer, largely in the insuranc...

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Joel Ohman is the CEO of a private equity-backed digital media company. He is a CERTIFIED FINANCIAL PLANNER™, author, angel investor, and serial entrepreneur who loves creating new things, whether books or businesses. He has also previously served as the founder and resident CFP® of a national insurance agency, Real Time Health Quotes. He also has an MBA from the University of South Florid...

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Reviewed by Joel Ohman
Founder, CFP®

UPDATED: Jun 24, 2020

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Traffic tickets are never fun. However, to avoid surprises in the future related to your ticket, you should know exactly how traffic tickets can affect your car insurance rates. This might even encourage you to avoid the next one.

Below are 5 of the major ways that different types of traffic tickets may cause you to pay higher insurance rates. It also offers tips to drivers on how to prevent traffic tickets from causing an increase in points when it comes to your car insurance.

Less serious driving tickets

If a driving ticket is somewhat routine, as in a ticket for an infraction like speeding or not making a full stop at an intersection, the consequences may not be as serious as long as the ticket is dealt with properly within the specified timeframe.

Please note that “dealing with the ticket” does not necessarily mean that you have to pay the ticket and forget about it. If you have sufficient reasons to believe that you did not commit the infraction, you should certainly consult a lawyer and take the time to fight it.

Believe it or not, many judges are actually quite sympathetic to the plight of certain drivers and you can actually get your fine or charge reduced or done away with. If that happens, the driving ticket does not affect your insurance at all.

Table – Speeding Tickets & Impact On Insurance Rates

Moving ViolationRate Impact
Speeding >10 MPHModerate
Speeding <10 MPHLow
Reckless DrivingSevere
Running a Red LightModerate / Severe
Failure to Yield / Stop Moderate / Severe
Improper PassingModerate
Illegal U-TurnLow / Moderate
Wrong WayModerate
Fleeing from PoliceSevere
Failure to Use Child RestraintModerate / Severe
DUI / DWISevere
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Points to consider:

  • Regardless of whether you choose to fight the ticket or pay the fine, do so within the time period that is specified on the back of the ticket.

  • Understand that paying the ticket is the same as pleading guilty to the infraction in court. After this plea, you can then sometimes choose to go to traffic school to avoid having the ticket appear on your driving record and thus increase your insurance rates.

Chart of Moving Violations & Affect on Insurance

This graph illustrated how moving violations can affect your car insurance, such as reckless driving, speeding, and DUI.

Note: As illustrated by the graph your insurance rates are raised depending on the moving violation. The cost of insurance can easily double with a DUI.

2nd Chart – Moving Violation Affects

This is a second graph illustrating how improper passing, failure to yield or stop, illegal U-turn can affect your car insurance.

3rd Chart – Worst Moving Violations & Affects

This graph illustrates how the worst moving violations can drastically raise our car insurance.

Note: Careless driving is not “reckless driving”. A good example is changing lanes without using your signal.
*If you are speeding over 20 MPH over the posted speed limit, or over 80 MPH on the interstate, you can be charged with reckless driving.

Tickets for DUI

Tickets that are issued for driving under the influence are more serious and can affect your auto insurance in serious ways.

  • If you lose your drivers license because of the DUI charge, this is considered a serious offense by most insurance companies. Your insurance will face an automatic hike in price.

Whether you believe you are guilty of the DUI charge or not, one option is to immediately seek out legal assistance with a lawyer experienced in handling DUI charges. Even if there is a slight chance of getting the charges dropped, a lawyer may be able to help you keep your license, thus shielding you from additional points in your auto insurance rates.

Out-of-State Traffic Tickets

Many people believe that just because they have a policy with a state insurance company, they are safe and don’t need to pay fines when issued tickets out of their state. This is far from the truth. All insurance companies are connected by law to a central database which the Department of Motor Vehicles. Your ticket will be reported to your insurance company no matter where it was issued to you.

This means that even out-of-state tickets need to be taken care of immediately:

  • If you plan on fighting your ticket, you may be able to do so in absentia with the help of a traffic ticket attorney that is licensed to do business with the court in that state.

  • Make sure that you keep up with the attorney and let your insurance company know that you are handling the ticket within the timeframe specified by the authority that issued you the ticket.

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Multiple Driving Tickets

Many auto insurance companies have special policies that virtually “Guarantee” a sizable rate hike if you accumulate too many driving tickets within a short period of time. It is always best to check with your auto insurance company beforehand to make sure that you don’t do business with a company that has a policy like this.

However, if you are already have a policy from this type of insurance company, your best bet is to get ahead of the situation and call your insurance company before the government reports your ticket.

Ticket Point System

Insurance companies do not use the same point system as DMV in your state. How it is determined you can’t know, but it is most likely determined by risk and cost.

States with No Point System

7Rhode Island
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Just because there isn’t a point system for the following states doesn’t mean your off the hook to losing your license. In most of the states, without a point system, if you rack up 4 moving violations in 24 months you can lose your license for 30 to 60 days.

States with the Point System

You can lose your driver license if you get too many points. Here are a couple of examples.

  • In New York, if you get 11 points in 18 months you can lose your license.

  • In Florida, if you get 18 points in 18 months your license is suspended for 3 months. 24 points in 36 months and you lose your license for a year.

  • In Virginia, if you get 18 points in 12 months or 24 points in 24 months your license is suspended.

Tickets That Result in a License Suspension

Even if your auto insurance company does not have a policy that raises your insurance rates for the accumulation of too many tickets, state and federal law usually has a limit on the amount of tickets issued to you within any set period of time. If you go over that number, your license will automatically be suspended.

In order to avoid this, you may have to take some action with the court that changes the status of your traffic ticket from an infraction to a misdemeanor. This should only be done with the council of a traffic ticket attorney.

So, now you know how traffic tickets are going to cost you more than the basic fine resulting in higher insurance premiums and license suspension, it is in your best interests to keep yourself well informed of traffic laws in and outside your state. Also, do your homework to find out various options available to you before deciding to pay the fine and admit to the violation.

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