Traffic tickets and auto insurance

Have you ever been pulled over for speeding and wondered how it will affect your auto insurance? While you probably don't need to worry about one or two minor tickets over your driving career, there are some violations that will cost you big-time.

Insurance companies use your driving history to help determine your rate, as this tells them what type of driver you are and what risk you pose of filing a claim after an accident. In most cases, there is a strong correlation between risky drivers with many speeding tickets and the rate of accidents. Simply put, the more tickets you have, the more likely you are to cost your insurance company money. So, to keep your insurance rate as low as possible, it's best not to have any violations on your record. Here's how getting pulled over can impact your insurance rate:

Speeding tickets
Speeding and other traffic violations can have a bigger effect on your insurance rate compared to a parking ticket. Bankrate found that speeding between one and 15 miles per hour over the speed limit can increase your insurance rate 21 percent. Your insurance rate will increase with higher speeding violations, with costs rising an average of 28 percent for speeding tickets where drivers were going 16 to 30 mph over the legal limit. For those who speed more than 30 mph above the limit, insurance rates can rise as much as 30 percent or more.

Even one ticket can hurt your finances, as speeding can increase the likelihood of injury and death in accidents, and many times it is the cause of crashes. However, for a long-time driver with no history of moving violations, one small speeding ticket might not have such a large impact. For younger drivers, the price increases can be much more severe.

Driving under the influence
It is against the law to drive under the influence of alcohol after a certain threshold, and doing so can result in the most expensive insurance rate hikes. While the blood alcohol content limit differs from state to state, the impact of getting a DUI on your driving record will be wholly negative for your car insurance no matter where you live. According to Bankrate, the average insurance policy will rise 93 percent after a driver receives a DUI. In an effort to reduce the number of injuries and deaths related to accidents where drivers were under the influence, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration has called for stricter laws punishing violators.

"Highway deaths claim more than 30,000 lives each year and while we've made substantial progress over the past 50 years, it's clear that we have much more work to do," said U.S. Transportation Secretary Anthony Foxx. "As we look to the future, we must focus our efforts to tackle persistent and emerging issues that threaten the safety of motorists, cyclists and pedestrians across the nation."

This means that penalties may continue to become steeper over the coming years. Drivers will not only be faced with higher insurance rates, but much bigger consequences as well.

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