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Since your car insurance company is on the hook if you hurt someone or damage your or someone else’s property while driving, it makes sense that they would consider your driving record when determining how much to charge. That’s because statistically, drivers with past moving violations are more likely to be involved in -- or the cause of -- an accident and end up costing insurance carriers much more over the life of the policy.

But not all violations are treated the same when carriers are determining your rates.

To get a better idea of how certain violations impact your auto insurance, let’s look at a hypothetical shopper named Jim:

Jim is 25 years old, rents his home in San Francisco, and drives a 2010 Honda Accord to work every day.

Since he has a clean driving record over the past 5 years he pays $184 each month from a reputable car insurance company.

So what would happen to Jim’s great rate if he got a speeding ticket? His rate from the same carrier would rise 18% to $217 a month. That’s almost $400 a year more for car insurance in addition to the cost of the ticket itself! For many carriers it makes no difference whether the ticket was for 5 mph over the limit or 20 mph. A speeding ticket is a speeding ticket - and you’re going to pay more.

If Jim runs a red light, things get even worse. His premium rises from $184 to $230 per month. That’s a 25% rise and will cost him $500 more per year!

Caught for a DUI? Jim’s premium would shoot up to $300 a month -- a 63% rise that would cost him almost $1,400 more each year for the same coverage!

Pretty much every car insurance company is going to charge more for higher risk drivers than those with clean records so your best bet to keep car insurance costs down is to take extra caution when on the road. That said, different insurance carriers do treat violations differently so if you do end up getting a violation, it pays to shop around. Some carriers only look at the past 3 or 5 years while other look back as far back as 7 or 10 years. So if you have a violation on your record from several years ago, it might make sense to shop around to find a better deal. CoverHound is here to make that process painless.

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