If you recently received a traffic ticket after doing a Furious 7 move on the road, you might be concerned about a spike in your car insurance premium. However, depending on your ticket history, you may not have to worry about coughing up more cash. A recent study by insuranceQuotes.com found that traffic tickets don’t always affect rates. It is actually becoming less likely that a ticket will result in rising insurance costs. Only 19% of drivers who received a ticket within the past five years are paying more for car insurance. This is a 12% decrease from 2013, when 31% of drivers saw a rise in costs as a result of a traffic ticket.
You are more likely to avoid a rate hike if you were stopped for a minor violation, you have a good driving history, or your insurance policy has incident forgiveness. You also will avoid a hike if your insurance provider fails to check your record.
“Insurers typically don’t know as much about you as you might think,” said Laura Adams, senior industry analyst for insuranceQuotes.com. “Oftentimes, unless you’re a young driver, they are unaware of minor tickets and violations you receive on the road.”
However, this doesn’t mean that you can drive recklessly without consequences. If you are a repeat offender and you’ve racked up several speeding tickets and moving violations, you will likely see a spike in your rates. Car insurance companies will look at your traffic ticket history and the more tickets you have, the higher the possibility that you will get into an accident. You will be seen as more of a risk and more likely to cost the car insurance company money.
Here are four ways to limit the impact of a traffic ticket or avoid one altogether.
1. Take a defensive driving course
In some states you can complete a defensive driving course online and have your ticket removed from your driving record. Check with your state’s Department of Motor Vehicles for more information on how to locate a course. You can also find an online course when you visit the National Safety Council and American Safety Council websites.
2. Consult a traffic attorney
If you want to fight your ticket, consider reaching out to a traffic attorney. Most will provide a free consultation. A traffic attorney will be able to review your case and determine if you might have a shot at fighting your ticket. If you are able to have the ticket forgiven, this will keep the mark off your driving record and reduce the possibility of a future increase in your premium.
3. Keep information current
“Make sure you update your vehicle registration, license plates, and state inspection. Letting one of these expire can draw extra attention from law enforcement,” said Adams. Also make sure your car is in good condition. A taillight that is burnt out or a broken headlight will surely get you pulled over and ticketed.
4. Be more careful on the road
The best way to stay out of trouble is to take preventive measures. That means obeying traffic laws and keeping your vehicle in good working order. The top trigger for traffic tickets is speeding, according to insuranceQuotes. Roughly 66% of survey respondents reported this was the reason they received a ticket. This was followed by running a red light (14%), driving without a license (11%), not wearing a seat belt (9%), and driving while using a mobile device (6%). The last offense can not only result in a ticket but also put you in grave danger. The National Safety Council estimates 1 in 4 car accidents involve cell phone use.