If it’s your first ticket, you might not see any change in your rates. Unfortunately, the state matters, and so do other factors, making it difficult for us to give a blanket answer. We will tell you what we know.
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. It generally takes three tickets within three years to make you a high-risk driver and therefore pay for higher rates.
For instance, New York’s Department of Insurance notes that surcharges aren’t permitted if you have a single minor moving violation – other than a few that specifically allow surcharges for, which include:
- 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
If you live in a state that doesn’t allow an insurer to rate you on just one minor moving violation, you shouldn’t see a rate hike after one speeding ticket. If this is your second speeding ticket (or moving violation) within the last three years (some insurers look back five), then it’s much more likely your rates would go up because now you are showing a pattern of risky driving behavior. Remember, your driving record is a major rating factor.
In other states, it’s let up to the individual auto insurance companies to determine if they will surcharge for the first minor traffic violation.
Or, if you live in North Carolina the insurance regulator sets up the surcharge schedule with the state’s safe driver incentive plan (SDIP).
In North Carolina, a first violation for speeding 10 mph or less it can be forgiven, if it didn’t occur in a school zone. Other speeding offenses are listed as resulting in one,
two, or four SDIP points. One point equals a 30 percent increase in rates, two points mean a 45 percent increase, and four points lead to a whopping 80 percent increase.
In most states, different companies have different practices when it comes to raising premiums. Some auto insurance companies will consider the severity of your violation and raise your rates accordingly; others will raise rates a specific amount per violation. How much they raise your rates also vary greatly. One may raise your rates two percent for a speeding ticket of 5 mph over, while another will raise your premium 10 percent.
Because there are too many factors to simply say it will be $50 more a year, here is a real-life example:
- According to our Automotive Misery Index, the average California auto insurance policy 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.
If your rates do go up because of being convicted of a speeding offense, shop around for affordable auto insurance quotes and compare car insurance companies. Insurance companies rating systems vary greatly, so even if in your state they must surcharge for the ticket, they likely rate on other risk factors differently - - this means by comparison shopping you may save hundreds, if not thousands, on your annual premium.