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Q

How much will my insurance increase if I get a speeding ticket in a school zone if I can not take the defensive driving course?


A

If it was your first ticket, you might not see any change in your rates, but your first ticket can affect your rates more than subsequent tickets.

Some states have laws governing when and why auto insurers can change policyholders' premiums; often, insurers are not allowed to raise your rates after just one speeding ticket or other citation, but they do remove any discounts and that is where the rate change is felt.

Different companies have different practices when it comes to raising premiums. Some companies will consider the severity of your violation and raise your rates accordingly; others will raise rates a specific amount per violation.

Because there are too many factors to simply say it will be $50 more a year, here is a real example:

The average Tennessee auto insurance policy costs $775 a year.

If you have a clean driving record most Tennessee companies offer a discount. That discount is typically a 25% savings ($194). So, using these averages a driver with a clean driving record is paying $581 a year for car insurance.

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One speeding ticket would remove that discount and typically increase the base rate by 2%. That is a $157 increase per year, or $471 increase over 3 years (companies usually surcharge for 3 years).

Because of so many factors, it is easier to get a car insurance quote and then change your violation information to see the difference in premiums.

Defensive driving courses are not designed to help with insurance costs, but they are sometimes an added benefit. Here are the benefits of taking a defensive driving course:

  1. No points will be assessed against your driver's license.
  2. Attending a defensive driving course to satisfy the violation can be entered on your driver history record as an "adjudication withheld."
  3. The civil penalty you must pay will be reduced in most cases.

Most Insurance companies still recognize (charge for) violations even if a safety course was taken to satisfy the state.


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