Review expert tips on how to save on auto insurance with accidents or citations on your driving record.
Why you can trust The Zebra
If you’ve been involved in an at-fault accident, filed a claim, or received a citation for a serious moving violation, you could be a candidate for high-risk car insurance. Auto insurance coverage for drivers with bad records is usually expensive, but the increase in rates you receive depends on your company, your driving history, and the state in which you live.
If you are found at-fault for causing an auto accident, you should expect your car insurance rates to increase. In Alabama, the average insurance rate following an at-fault crash is $1,953 compared to the U.S. mean of $2,012. A serious incident like an at-fault collision will remain on your insurance record for up to three years!
|Location||With At-Fault Accident — Annual Rate||No At-Fault Accident — Annual Rate||Yearly Rate Increase|
The best car insurance company after an at-fault accident in Alabama is USAA. USAA’s usual price increase after a crash is $853, leading to a total rate that's 44% less expensive than the average among all insurance companies. If you've been found at fault in an accident in Alabama, steer clear of State Farm and Mid-Century, which penalizes at-fault drivers more severely.
|Insurer||Annual Premium With an At-Fault Accident|
Among the common violations that earn drivers the "bad driver" tag is speeding. In Alabama, average car insurance rates rise by $314 per year post-speeding ticket, up to an average per-year price of $1,672.
|State||With a Speeding Ticket — Annual Rate||No Speeding Ticket — Annual Rate||Annual Rate Increase|
The best way to get cheap auto insurance after a speeding citation is to shop around and weigh the available options. The cheapest car insurance after a speeding ticket in Alabama is available via GEICO. GEICO’s average rate after a citation is $400 less than the state average. If you've been ticketed for speeding in Alabama, Mid-Century probably won't be your cheapest option.
|Insurer||Annual Premium With a Speeding Violation|
If you are issued a distracted driving citation, your car insurance won't be cheap. In Alabama, car insurance rates typically increase by $165 each year. That's a 12% increase from the usual annual premium in Alabama, and 4% less than the national average cost of car insurance with a distracted driving offense.
|Location||With Distracted Driving — Annual Rate||No Distracted Driving — Annual Rate||Annual Rate Increase|
The best way to find affordable auto insurance after a distracted driving ticket is to compare carriers. The cheapest auto insurance company after being cited for distracted driving in Alabama is GEICO, with a typical rate of only $813 per year, 47% less than the average distracted driving insurance rate by all insurers.
|Company||Annual Rate After Distracted Driving|
Racing is treated as an extremely serious violation. Car insurance companies typically penalize racing citations severely — in fact, Alabama car insurance rates increase by $800 annually after a citation for racing. That is a 59% increase in the usual annual auto insurance premium in Alabama!
|Location||With a Racing Citation — Annual Rate||No Racing Citation — Annual Rate||Annual Rate Increase|
If you've been cited for racing, do your due diligence and seek out the most affordable rates. In Alabama, start your search by checking out USAA, with prices 24% cheaper than the state average after a racing violation.
|Insurer||Annual Rate With Racing|
Among the most serious driving violations, reckless driving is a surefire way to end up paying more for car insurance. Auto insurance companies raise rates by an average of $895 annually following a reckless driving citation. That's 66% greater than the typical auto insurance rate in Alabama and 8% less than the national average price increase for a reckless driving violation.
|Location||With Reckless Driving — Annual Rate||No Reckless Driving — Annual Rate||Annual Rate Increase|
If you're cited for reckless driving, compare insurance companies to find the best premium. In Alabama, the most affordable carrier with a reckless driving ticket is USAA.
|Insurance Company||Annual Rate With Reckless Driving|
If you're looking for car insurance as a high-risk driver, your best option is to do plenty of research and compare policies from trusted insurers.
Traffic laws in Alabama are in place to protect drivers and pedestrians from injury and death. Laws in Alabama forbid such infractions as excessive speeding, reckless driving, distracted driving, and racing. In addition, laws are in place to identify who is at fault for an accident and what events constitute an at-fault accident.
The statutory speed limits in Alabama are:
In certain locations and where posted, Alabama may enforce minimum speed limits. In such places, it is unlawful to drive under the posted minimum speed limit in normal weather and road conditions.
You may also be considered speeding in Alabama if you are driving unreasonably fast for conditions, such as inclement weather like rain, snow, or heavy winds.
Traffic fines for speeding in Alabama differ depending on the county in which the infraction has taken place. Additionally, fines are often increased for speeding 25 miles per hour or higher over the posted limit.
Individual county speeding fines are listed by county on the Alabama Traffic Service Center website.
In addition to county-imposed fines, speeding in Alabama will also result in the accumulation of points against your driver’s license:
Receiving 12 to 14 points over a two-year period will result in a license suspension for 60 days. More points equate to lengthier suspension periods.
Points remain on your record for two years, after which they will no longer count against you. However, your traffic conviction itself will remain on your record.
Alabama law considers reckless driving to be defined as driving any vehicle “carelessly and heedlessly in willful or wanton disregard for the rights or safety of persons or property, or without due caution and circumspection and at a speed or in a manner so as to endanger or be likely to endanger any person or property.”
In other words, driving dangerously in Alabama may result in you being charged with reckless driving.
A first-time reckless driving conviction in Alabama results in:
Penalties for a second reckless driving conviction in Alabama are:
A third conviction within a year of a prior conviction may result in license revocation.
You are guilty of distracted driving in Alabama if you are operating a wireless device, such as a phone, while actively driving on the road. This includes using a device to send or read texts or emails, watch videos, or otherwise operate the device.
You are, however, allowed to use the voice-activated features of your device while driving in Alabama. Since Alabama does not have a hands-free law, you are allowed to hold your device while driving. You are also allowed to select a contact to call, but cannot send or read any communication with any contacts.
You are also allowed to use the GPS or navigational functionality of your device while driving, provided that your destination is pre-programmed before driving.
Any mobile device use is prohibited for drivers who are 16 years old. In addition, 17-year-olds cannot use a phone while driving if they have had their license for less than six months.
Read here for more on texting and driving statistics.
The penalties for distracted driving in Alabama are:
Racing in Alabama is defined as one or more vehicles conducting a:
In Alabama, a drag race is further defined as two or more vehicles competing in an attempt to outdistance one another or to compare relative speeds or acceleration over a certain distance or within a certain time limit.
Racing in Alabama is further defined as one or more vehicles attempting to outgain or outdistance another vehicle, to arrive at a destination before another vehicle, or to test the physical stamina or endurance of a driver over a long-distance route.
An offender’s first conviction for racing in Alabama will result in:
A second racing conviction in Alabama leads to:
A third or subsequent conviction for racing in Alabama results in:
In addition, in 2015 a new law not only increased the penalties for drag racing in Alabama, but made it possible to be fined simply for observing or organizing a drag race.
Alabama is considered an “at-fault” state. In the case of an accident, fault can be assigned to a driver and they will be held liable for the cost of damage, injury, and other loss.
Accidents must be reported to the Alabama Department of Public Safety within 30 days of taking place if the accident resulted in injury, death, or damages exceeding $250.
Drivers in Alabama are required to maintain mandatory liability insurance with minimums of:
Driving or at-fault accidents in Alabama without the required minimum liability insurance results in a fine of $200 for the first offense.
A second offense results in a fine of $300. Three or more offenses lead to fines of $400 for each occurrence.
In each case, failure to pay the fine within 45 days will result in a 90-day license suspension and $100 reinstatement fee.
Sources and references:
The Zebra is not an insurance company. We publish data-backed, expert-reviewed resources to help consumers make more informed insurance decisions.