When you receive a ticket for a traffic violation, such as speeding or drunk driving, your insurance company assigns you demerit points much as the Department of Motor Vehicles does. However, insurance points are separate from the DMV’s. If you get enough points on your record from the state government, you can lose your license. The insurance company cannot take away your license, but it can raise your insurance rates. The more points you have, the higher your rates can go.
If you are worried about the effect a ticket may have on your insurance, you may wish to challenge the violation in court with the assistance of a traffic ticket lawyer Sacramento. The amount that your insurance rate may go up after a ticket depends on a number of different factors.
Your Accident History
You may be pleased to know that traffic tickets do not necessarily stay on your record forever, although some serious offenses may. If your driving record is clear for the past three years, you are unlikely to see a significant increase in your insurance. However, multiple violations can rack up insurance points and raise your rates. If the situation gets too serious, your insurer may eventually refuse to renew your policy.
The Type/Severity of the Violation
Different violations can affect your insurance rates in different ways. Generally, however, a more severe offence will hike your insurance rates up higher. Therefore, a first-offense DWI or DUI, which is a very serious charge, can increase your annual rate by $1,131, whereas a violation like lawyer texting and driving, which is not as severe but still quite serious, could increase your rate by $344 per year.
Speeding is an interesting case. Your rate increase can vary depending on how much faster than the speed limit you were traveling:
- One to 15 miles per hour over the limit: $288
- 16 to 29 miles per hour over the limit: $317
- 30 or more miles per hour over the limit: $427
Your State of Residence
Where you live also affects how much your insurance rates can increase. In California, the average rate increase after an accident is $608 per year. The greatest average rate increase, $1,041 per year, is in the District of Columbia. This is significantly higher than the next greatest average rate increase of $893 per year in Kentucky. New York sees the lowest average rate increase of $80 per year.
Your Insurance Company
Not all insurers treat violations the same way. The length of time that you have to pay higher rates after an accident can vary by company. You should also know that you may not see the rate increase right away. The insurance company may wait until it renews your policy to increase your premium. The length of time that minor violations stay on your record can also vary between companies.
If you are generally a safe driver but worry about the effect that one accident could have on your insurance, you can ask about the availability of accident forgiveness, which prevents a rate increase after your first accident. Your insurer may also offer a good driver discount.
Keep Your Record Clean
Your insurance company cannot hold your ticket against you if you successfully challenge the ticket in court. Having the best speeding ticket lawyer on your side can improve your chances of success.