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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It’s probably safe to say that we all have bad habits – it’s just that some of us have habits that are worse than others. When it comes to bad driving habits – well, those that don’t end up killing you could still cause your car insurance rates to spike to ridiculous levels.

If you’re tired of paying sky high rates on your car insurance, you may want to consider how exactly you spend your time behind the wheel. One of these bad driving habits could lead to a ticket, or even worse, an accident, causing your rates to soar within a matter of seconds.

Using Your Mobile Phone While Driving (Texting & Driving)

Everybody does it – so that must make it okay, right? Well, not quite. More and more states are banning the use of cell phones and texting while driving, but that doesn’t stop the average driver from sending and receiving text messages or talking on the phone.

Illustration of Texting & Driving Charges Raising Auto Insurance

This image illustrates by state how your auto insurance can increase if you receive texting & driving violations adding points to your driving record

This does not include the penalty you get which varies state by state which are:

RankStates Which Penalize for Texting & DrivingPenalty 1st offence, 2nd offense
1California$20 for the first offense and $50 for subsequent convictions.
2New YorkFirst offense ranges from $50 to $200, if you get caught again within 18 months, the fine goes up to $250 for the second offense and up to $450 for the third
3Michigan$400 first offense
4Maine $500 first offense
5Oregon$500 first offense
6Indiana$500 first offense
7Utah$750 first offense
8Alaskaup to $10,000
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And there are four States which do not have a texting & driving ban, but there are stipulations which are:

States W/ No Texting & Driving BanWith Stipulations
ArizonaBans all cellphone use by school bus drivers
MontanaNo Ban
Missouri Bans text messaging for drivers under age 21
TexasBans text messaging for school bus drivers and drivers under age 18
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Statistics show that 20% of drivers regularly send and receive text messages while behind the wheel. When you take out elderly drivers and consider that many individuals probably weren’t entirely truthful about their behind-the-wheel antics – the percentage probably jumps to 30 to 40%.

Whether you’re answering a call, texting, or Googling your own name, you’re putting yourself a far higher risk of an accident. With just one accident on your record, car insurance companies have a solid reason to boost your auto insurance rates into the stratosphere!

Other Distracted Driving Behavior in Vehicles

RankTypes of Distracted Driving
2Using a cell phone or smartphone
3Eating and drinking
4Talking to passengers
6Reading, including maps
7Using a navigation system
8Watching a video
9Adjusting a radio, CD player, or MP3 player
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Credit to Distraction.gov

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Eating While Driving Or Anything Which Causes an Auto Accident

I’ll never forget my first accident. En route to the local mall, the car in front of me stopped short. I was probably following the car a little too close, but I managed to stop in time. The fuel-company van behind me, however, did not. He plowed into my car, which caused my car to smash that car that stopped short in front of me!

Percentage Increase in Auto Insurance After an Accident by State

StatePercentage Increase Avg. Yearly Premium
New Jersey76%$1,905
North Carolina52%$1,060
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So what was the reason why the driver behind me failed to stop? McDonald’s French Fries – Seriously! The driver was chowing down on some good ol’ fast food, and at the right moment, dropped some fries on his lap. He looked down to pick them up, and by the time he looked up, his van and my car had become one.

Illustration how an auto accident will drastically increase your auto insurance rates state by state example

I’m sure that my story is one of many, and insurance companies most certainly know that. Eating while driving may not be as distracting as using a cell phone, but all it takes is one or two French Fries to divert your attention away from the road, and cause you to hit another car or pedestrian.

Illustration – Affect of Auto Insurance “At-Fault” Car Accident

second illustration state by state how an auto accident will drastically increase your car insurance

Eating on the road may help you save time, but it could lead to an accident on your record, and subsequently, higher car insurance rates.

Cool Apps To Help In Time of an Accident

AppReviews / Avg *CostiOS / Android**
Accident Report500+ / 4.4FreeY / Y
Auto Accident!100+ / 9.8.99Y / Y
AxiKit Accident500+ / 9.7FreeY / Y
C.A.R. - Car Accident Report1000+ / 5.9FreeY / Y
iWrecked500+ / 3.9FreeY / Y
Navbug Accident100+ / 2.74.99Y / Y
Help! I Crashed My Car100+ / 2.7FreeY / Y
Crashmate Accident0 / 0FreeY / Y
Unfall Assistent0 / 0.99Y / Y
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And if you need to do some research after an accident here are some articles:

1Strategy to Lower Rate with Car Accident History
2Auto Accident Apps & Ratings
3Top Tips to Get Cheap Insurance After an Accident
4Overcoming Insurance Fraud Charges
5Critical Steps to do After a Car Accident
6SR-22 Insurance
7Car Accident Compensation
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Speeding, Speeding, & More Speeding

Left the house late and now you’ve got to rush to work? For most of us, that pretty much sums up our mornings. Believe it or not, that morning rush could lead to higher car insurance premiums. All it takes is one cop to catch you going 65 in a 40 one morning for you to get hit with a ticket and points on your license.

Impact of Speeding & Points on Your Driver License

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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Yeah, I know – you probably think you have the system down, and can’t get a ticket. You know all the police traps, and keep your eyes peeled for cops hiding out in the distance. Most of us are pretty good about knowing how to avoid a ticket in normal circumstances. Those techniques are meaningless, though, during the morning rush.

Graph illustrating how moving violations will increase your auto insurance. It is an before and after example.

Note: Your rate will vary according to the moving violation, points added to your license, and the State you reside in.

Usually Get Speeding Tickets When Most Vulnerable

In fact, we often speed when we’re most vulnerable to getting a ticket – rushing to work, for example. In those moments, our minds are clouded, and we simply don’t take notice of our surroundings as well as we might when not trying to get to work in 10 minutes instead of the normal 15-20.

One speeding ticket with points could cause your insurance premiums to make a significant jump. An accident that resulted from speeding could have an even larger impact.

second illustration showing how other moving violation will increase your auto insurance. before and after rate example.

Note: Your auto insurance rate will vary. Depending on the points applied to your driver license and State you reside in.

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Accidents and tickets are two of the major causes for auto insurance rates to substantially increase. Want to secure a lower rate the next time you apply for car insurance? Cut these bad driving habits out of your routine to improve the way you drive on the road. You’ll cut the risk of an accident or ticket by more than half, and in no time, you’ll qualify for that good driver discount and watch your auto insurance rates drop instead of soar.

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