Nov 23

Jon Zimmerman

How Just One Speeding Ticket Affects Your Car Insurance Rate

by Jon Zimmerman

"Here’s a Traffic Ticket.  Please drive more safely next time."

These are every driver's least favorite words to hear.  Perhaps you were speeding, failed to signal, or were traveling alone in a high-occupancy vehicle (HOV) lane, or perhaps you were doing nothing unusual yet caught the attention of a law enforcement officer.  After you've received your traffic ticket and even paid the fine, the real damage to your wallet isn't done. The long-term impact can include employment and driving privilege issues, and for most people a sharp increase in car insurance premiums. Quite often after you have received even just one ticket, you will see an increase in your premiums for several years.  But how much will it cost?

According to's analysis, just one speeding ticket for between 1 and 14 miles per hour over the speed limit increases your insurance rates by an average of 11% per premium period.   Other offenses led to larger increases, such as Reckless driving (22%), DUI first offense (19%), Driving without a license (18%) and Failure to stop (15%). Those were just averages, actual increases can vary widely -- from a 10% to 120% increase for the same ticket from different insurance carriers.  Other factors include, but are not limited to, age, type of vehicle, and marital status. 

Not every ticket affects your insurance—for example, nonmoving offenses do not affect a driver’s insurance premiums, but occasionally even a nonmoving offense can affect one’s driving privilege. 

Are there ways to avoid the long term insurance effects of a traffic offense?

For all moving violations the best way to avoid an insurance increase is to successfully contest the ticket.  However, if for whatever reason that is or was not possible with your last ticket, make sure to shop around as rate increases vary dramatically from provider to provider. The top 5 auto insurance (link to providers in Washington State are State Farm (13.1% of policies), Farmers (9.6%), Safeco (6.3%), Pemco Mutual (4.0%) and Geico (General) (3.5%).