Question: If I get two tickets from one incident, will they both count against me for insurance purposes?
Answer: Internal rules and guidelines vary from one car insurance company to the next. However, in general, if you receive multiple traffic tickets related to one incident car insurance companies will only use one of the violations for rating purposes.
Each auto insurance provider sets its own underwriting rules for setting rates, which must be approved by state insurance regulators, so there are some companies that do charge for each offense you were cited for -- even if it’s the result of one event.
Rating on all violations is especially true if your state bundles some violations together. For example, if you’re in an accident that was the result of driving under the influence and your state notes this on your record as “accident with DUI,” both the DUI and accident will be more likely to be taken into account by car insurance companies.
Underwriting rules also differ on if the multiple tickets on the same day have to be issued at the same time for only one to affect your future rates.
Some car insurance companies’ rules say that if two or more violations or accidents occur on the same day, it will only use one of the violations or accidents for underwriting and rating purposes.
Other auto insurance carrier’s rules are stricter and state that if a driver is convicted of multiple violations (or violation and accident) on one day they must occur at the same time and same location for only one to be rated on. That is, if you’re unlucky and get a speeding ticket in the morning and another one that evening, then both would count against you. However, if instead you were cited for speeding and not using your turn signal at one traffic stop, only one ticket would be used for rating purposes.
Which violation is surcharged?
When only one violation is rated on after you’ve receive multiple tickets from one incident (or one day if that is your insurer’s rule), car insurance underwriting rules clearly state that the offense with the highest point charge will be the one rated on.
So, while you are getting cut a break on only one traffic offense affecting your rates, your auto insurer will be considering the more severe violation.
The hierarchy for determining the most severe chargeable item typically is (from most to least):
- Major violations – offenses such as leaving the scene of an accident, drag racing, fleeing from police, vehicular manslaughter, driving with a suspended license.
- At-fault accidents
- Minor moving violations – failure to yield, improper passing, and offenses of this nature.
- Non-chargeable incidents - parking tickets, accidents that don't meet monetary threshold to surcharge for.
To find out what your current auto insurer’s rules are charging for multiple tickets on the same day, contact your agent and ask. You may also want to request a surcharge schedule that lists all the violations your car insurance company will raise your rates for and by how much.
If your rates do rise because violations or accidents, don’t be afraid to shop around. Insurance company rating systems vary greatly, and another auto insurer may surcharge less for what is on your driving record and give you cheaper overall car insurance rates.