In most cases, your car insurance rates won't rise after just one speeding ticket. It generally takes three tickets within three years for you to be classified as a "high-risk driver," and therefore pay higher rates. These are general guidelines; it depends on state laws, how much you were speeding, your previous driving record, and your insurance company.
How much your rates will rise is an even trickier question to answer. This can be greatly affected by your insurance company. Different companies treat traffic tickets differently. Some are okay with offering a low rate to a driver with a spotty driving record, while others will consider you an insurance risk and raise your rates drastically and immediately. If you've recently seen your rates rise, it may be time to start shopping around for car insurance to get a better rate.
Because there are too many factors to say exactly how much your rates will increase after any given ticket, here is a real-life example:
- According to a CarInsurance.com study, the average car insurance policy in California costs $1,747 a year.
- If you have a clean driving record, then most California companies offer a discount. That discount is typically a 25 percent savings ($437). So, using these averages, a driver with a clean driving record is paying $1,310 a year for car insurance.
- One speeding ticket could remove that discount and increase your rate by 10 percent. That is a $611 increase a year, or $1,833 over three years; companies usually surcharge for three to five years.
The good news about having a ticket on your record is that with your current auto insurance company it won’t affect your rates until they next time they check your driving record, which likely will be at your next renewal. If you want to know in advance how much your surcharge is likely to be, ask your auto insurer for a copy of their surcharge schedule.
Tickets that raise your rates
- Speeding more than 15 mph over the speed limit
- Driving while intoxicated or impaired by drugs or alcohol
- Operating a vehicle while attempting to avoid apprehension by law enforcement officers
- Leaving the scene of an accident without reporting it (hit-and-run)
- Operating a vehicle in a race or speed test
- Driving without a license or knowingly allowing an unlicensed individual to drive your car
Tickets that don't raise your rates
- Your first speeding violation
- Driving in an HOV lane
- Driving on an expired license
- Driving on a restricted license (for example, if you are a young driver who is only supposed to drive during the day)
- Seatbelt violation
- Expired registration
- Broken tail light or cracked window, loud exhaust, etc.
- Failure to secure a load