Getting a speeding ticket is a scary and frustrating thing. You have to deal with getting pulled over, which is not fun at all, and then you’re usually given a pricy ticket. And yet, unfortunately, speeding tickets happen to most drivers at one time or another.
While it may seem that the biggest price in a speeding ticket comes from the check you have to cut when you get the ticket, getting pulled over can ultimately have a much bigger impact on your car insurance rates. The role that speeding tickets play in determining your insurance rate is controlled by a lot of different factors, including your insurance company. While there’s no way to know exactly how your insurance company will react to a speeding ticket (though you can ask what their policy is), there are a few things to keep in mind regarding speeding tickets and insurance prices.
Excessive speeding can increase your insurance rates
The most important thing about speeding tickets is that they’re not all created equal. The reason that speeding tickets can increase your insurance price is because insurance companies see a speeding ticket as a warning sign that you may drive recklessly and get in an accident somewhere down the road. A mild infraction, such as going 50 MPH in a 45 MPH zone, is unlikely to have a huge impact on your rates. Excessive speeding, on the other hand, can greatly increase your rates, as can reckless speeding, such as speeding in a construction zone or near a school.
How often you receive a speeding ticket plays a role
Your speeding ticket is usually taken within the context of your driving record. If you’ve been driving for 10 years and don’t have any speeding tickets on your record, then your speeding ticket will likely have a minimal impact on your insurance rates, or quite possibly no impact at all. On the other hand, if you have a history that includes past offenses – especially dangerous ones like reckless driving or driving under the influence – then your speeding ticket will be seen as a more dangerous violation, and that will likely be reflected in your insurance rates.
Frequency also has an impact on your insurance prices. If you receive multiple speeding tickets within a short period of time, your insurance rates will likely rise quite a bit.
Increased insurance rates are not permanent
Insurance companies always look at your entire driving history when creating your insurance prices, so a speeding ticket is unlikely to cause permanent damage to your rates. Many insurance companies have programs that allow your rates to return to normal if you go a specific amount of time (such as a year or two years) without getting another speeding ticket. So even though a speeding ticket may have a negative impact on your insurance prices, don’t let it bum you out too much. Instead, try extra hard to avoid getting a ticket in the future, so you can get your prices back down again.
Contest your speeding ticket
Just because you were pulled over and given a ticket doesn’t mean your insurance rates will automatically go up. Your insurance company only pays attention to what’s on your driving record, which means that if you can successfully contest your ticket, it won’t have any impact on your insurance rates.
Even if you don’t win outright when contesting a ticket, you can often get a judge to drop the ticket in exchange for community service time, or a driving school course. Doing so may seem like a hassle, but it gets the ticket removed from your record, which can save you a lot of insurance money down the road.
The best way to keep your insurance rates low is to drive safely and avoid getting tickets. But tickets happen to almost everyone, so it’s important to know exactly how they’ll impact your insurance rates, so you don’t have to worry too much. As long as your record isn’t too covered with tickets, you should be just fine when it comes to your insurance prices.
This article originally appeared on YourMechanic.com as How Speeding Tickets Affect Your Car Insurance and was authored by Brady Klopfer.