Minor Traffic Infractions Cause Major Insurance Woes
New study shows moving violations can cause dramatic increases in insurance premiums
The findings of the study, which are based on a 45-year-old married woman with a clean driving record, further demonstrate how poor driving habits can quickly become a financial burden. Car insurance isn't cheap. It costs an average of $912 per year, according the National Association of Insurance Commissioners. With minor violations resulting in higher premiums – going 1-15 mph over the speed limit results in an average 21 percent ($191) increase, according to the study – tacked on to the cost of a ticket, drivers that don't follow the rules are being subjected to significant monetary pain.
Violations that resulted in the most serious surges in insurance premiums are DUIs (93 percent higher insurance costs) and reckless driving (82 percent), according to insuranceQuotes.com. Seemingly minor infractions were much more costly than one might expect. For instance, improper passing (21 percent increase), tailgating (19 percent increase), failure to yield (19 percent increase) and driving in the carpool lane (18 percent increase) all led to higher insurance rates on average.
Seat belt violations had the smallest impact on insurance rates, increasing offenders' premiums an average of just five percent.
"Even points on your license from minor infractions increase the likelihood that a policyholder will file a future claim. That increased risk is what causes an insurer to increase rates," said Laura Adams, senior analyst at insuranceQuotes.com.
What to do if you're ticketed
No one is perfect and traffic violations can happen to even the most vigilant driver. If you are cited for even a minor infraction, you can help prevent your insurance rates from taking a bigger toll on your wallet by taking a safety class.
"Drivers who commit moving violations can take safety classes to improve their skills and remove blemishes from their records," said Adams. "Many of these courses are offered online and can be completed in just a few hours. Otherwise, these infractions can lead to higher car insurance costs for up to three years."
Adams said that not all carriers factor violations into your rate the same way. Thus, you should shop around and make sure you're getting the best price for your situation, especially after receiving a moving violation.
You can see how a few different kinds of moving violations can affect your insurance rates by heading to insuranceQuotes.com and using the calculator on the right side of the page.
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