Auto insurance rates are directly tied to the likelihood that someone will file a claim. And speeding increases the chance that you’ll get into an accident. It makes sense that a speeding ticket could have a pretty big effect on your insurance rates.
But not so fast — there’s more nuance than you might suspect.
Does a speeding ticket affect your insurance?
In some cases, your first speeding ticket might not increase your insurance rates at all.
Your chance of avoiding a rate increase may be higher if this is your only recent ticket and you were driving a few miles per hour over the speed limit.
Insurance companies might be forgiving of a one-time mistake. Some companies even have first-ticket forgiveness programs in select states.
Additionally, even though your speeding ticket might get added to your motor vehicle record (MVR) immediately, your insurance company may not know about the infraction until it pays to see your MVR. They normally take into consideration your speeding ticket around the time you are renewing your policy.
If you’re considered a high-risk driver, perhaps due to your age or previous tickets, the insurance company may check your record more frequently. Otherwise, it might only check your MVR if you renew or want to change your policy.
As a result, you won’t see the immediate effects of your speeding ticket even if it leads to an increase on your insurance rates. You might not get charged the higher rate right away.
How much does insurance go up after a speeding ticket?
When a speeding ticket impacts your rates, the amount can vary depending on your overall driving history, where you were driving, and how fast you were going.
These annual averages might not reflect your situation, but they can give you an idea of how different types of speeding tickets impact insurance rates.
According to The Zebra’s 2018 The State of Auto Insurance report, the annual average premium without any speeding tickets was $1,427. The increase after a speeding ticket depends on how fast you were driving when you got a ticket:
- Six to 10 mph over the limit: $281 (a 20 percent increase)
- 11 to 15 mph over: $298 (a 21 percent increase)
- 16 to 20 mph over: $329 (a 23 percent increase)
- 21 to 25 mph over: $348 (a 24 percent increase)
- Speeding in a 65 mph zone: $401 (a 28 percent increase)
- Speeding in a school zone: $293 (a 21 percent increase)
A 2017 study from NerdWallet took a look at how rate increases vary by state. It shows the average annual rate increase for a driver who gets a ticket for going six to 10 mph over the limit:
- Illinois – $54
- New York – $159
- Texas – $175
- California – $353
- Florida – $617
Both studies assumed that this was the driver’s only ticket. If they had other blemishes on their driving records, the increases might be higher.
From traffic infraction to criminal offense
Driving extremely fast can lead to a reckless driving charge, which can come with a slew of other consequences. The definition varies, but reckless driving could be when you’re driving above a certain speed (such as 80 mph), or when you’re 20 or more mph above the posted speed limit.
In addition to increasing your insurance rates, reckless driving could be a misdemeanor. You might have to pay additional fees, get your license suspended, serve jail time and wind up with a criminal record.
How long does a speeding ticket affect your insurance?
Back to the repercussions of less-serious speeding tickets. Fortunately, insurance companies won’t hold the ticket over your head forever.
Your MVR might keep a permanent record of your ticket. But many insurance companies only look back three to five years for minor violations, including speeding tickets, when determining rates. Once that time is up, your ticket might not impact your insurance rates.
If you currently have a speeding ticket on your record that’s a little over three years old, this could be a good time to shop around and see if you could get a lower rate by switching auto insurance providers. However, this completely depends on the lookback period of the insurance companies you’re looking at.
The insurance look-back period and rate increases is different from a state’s point or demerit system, which determine your driving privileges and whether you can keep your driver’s license. While there’s often overlap in which violations can increase your rates and put points on your driving record, these are two different systems.
For example, in California, a speeding ticket could add one point to your record for three years and three months. But even after the point falls off your record, an insurance company with a five-year lookback period might charge you higher rates due to the ticket.
Keeping speeding tickets off your record
There is a way to keep your speeding ticket from showing up on your record. You can attend traffic school. This isn’t a one-time solution. Generally, you can go to traffic school to avoid having speeding tickets on your record once every two years.
In California, it’s every 18 months. Completing traffic school will dismiss your speeding ticket, eliminate one point on your driving record, and stop a rise in your car insurance rates.
The rules can vary depending on state laws, how fast you were driving, and whether you have other recent tickets. You could check with your state’s DMV to learn about your options.
What else affects your insurance?
Tickets are one of many factors that can impact your auto insurance rates. Even after you get a ticket, you might be able to lower your auto insurance by focusing on some of the other areas:
- If you have multiple types of insurance, you may be able to get a multi-line discount by purchasing more than one policy from the same company.
- You might be able to increase your deductible or lower your coverage limits.
- See if your insurance company offers a discount for using a telematics device.
- Ask about other potential discounts. You might already qualify for some, such as an infrequent driver discount, and be overpaying for your current policy.
- In most states, a poor credit history could lead to paying more for auto insurance. Make sure you pay your bills on time to build a good credit history.
If you think you might be paying too much for insurance, get quotes from other companies and see if it makes sense to switch. Insurance companies use different factors, and weigh factors differently, which is why you’ll receive a range of quotes for similar coverage.