Cars and money go together like Daisy Duke and denim. Driving may not seem that expensive at first considering today’s low gas prices, but the costs add up. In fact, the total cost to own and drive a car is $8,558 a year. If you’re a bad driver, your expenses are even higher.
One driving expense that never seems to go down is your insurance. Unless you just hit the magic age of 25 or switch companies, premiums have a funny way of always finding a route higher. We’re not talking about simple inflation adjustments either.
In AAA’s latest driving cost study, insurance costs increased 10% year-over-year in 2016, the biggest mover in the study. This is “likely attributable” to lower fuel costs, leading to more miles driven, when in turn leads to an increased number of collisions and insurance payouts. Other hits to the budget like maintenance, depreciation, and registration-related expenses were all a distant second at only 3%.
While how much money you spend largely depends on what kind of car you drive, simply being a bad driver and getting caught is one of the easiest ways to send your premiums soaring. A study from insuranceQuotes finds a single moving violation can hike your insurance rate by as much as 94% on average.
For example, one conviction for driving under the influence or driving while intoxicated results in a national average premium increase of 94.32% in 2016, consistent with the past two years. Less serious violations like not signaling and failure to yield can still cause your premiums to jump double digits.
“Insurers base their rates on experience, so the violations that cause premiums to jump the most are the ones that, over the years, insurers have found are strong indicators that the driver is likely to have an accident in the future,” says Mike Barry, spokesman for the nonprofit Insurance Information Institute, in the study. “Seen that way, this study makes a lot of sense.”
Let’s take a look at the 17 ways bad driving will cost you money.
As the table below shows, the five most expensive violations are DUI/DWI, reckless driving, speeding by 31 mph or more, speeding by 16 to 30 mph, and careless driving. However, even not wearing a seat belt may cost you an extra 5.76%. In other words, if you make yourself seen as a riskier driver, your insurance company will likely adjust your premiums to compensate for it. That’s the business they’re in.
The average price hike you receive for a violation also depends on where you live. Some states do not penalize as heavily as others for violations. For example, the average insurance price increase after a DUI is a whopping 334% in North Carolina but only 15% in Maryland.
If you live in Illinois, you can expect an average increase of 99% after a speeding violation of more than 30 mph, compared to only 9% in Missouri. The differences are a result of different state regulations and premium factors.