Auto insurance after a ticket can be expensive — use this information to save.
Why you can trust The Zebra
The Zebra partners with some of the companies we write about. However, our content is written and reviewed by an independent team of editors and licensed insurance agents, and never influenced by our partnerships. Learn more about how we make money, review our editorial standards, reference our data methodology, or view a list of our partners.
Having traffic tickets, moving violations, and other infractions on your driving record can make it difficult to find cheap car insurance. Most drivers know that a speeding ticket affects your insurance rates, but many don't realize just how much of a premium increase to expect. Even a first offense can cause your rates to increase substantially, as an average speeding violation increases rates by about $385 per year. Essentially, if your record reflects a number of moving violations or accidents, insurers will consider you a high-risk driver.
It's likely that your state's department of motor vehicles employs a point system to track infractions. While it's not likely that these point values will matter to your insurer, you can rest assured that the traffic violations that they represent will. State laws differ widely, but all driving infractions will reflect poorly on your ability to find cheap insurance. It's likely that you'll also be discounted from certain discounts or other perks, such as for being a safe driver.
While the term “violation” is broad, this article focuses on the traffic violations most likely to trigger a car insurance rate increase. Below you'll find an analysis of car insurance rate increases from top providers for the following driving violations: speeding (16-20 MPH over the limit), driving with an open container, reckless driving, and DUI.
Of the violations we analyzed, a speeding ticket is the least costly. On average, a speeding ticket will raise your car insurance premium an average of $385 per year. If you’ve been ticketed for driving 16-20 MPH over the speed limit, USAA and State Farm may be the cheapest car insurance options for you. See the below table to see how this ticket affects your insurance costs.
|Insurance company||Premium without violation||Premium with speeding ticket||% Increase|
Although the violations are similar in nature, an open container violation on your insurance record will cost you half as much as will a DUI violation. On average, this citation will increase your premium by an average of $537 per year. State Farm and USAA offer the cheapest car insurance after an open container ticket.
|Insurance company||Premium without violation||Premium with open container violation||% Increase|
Reckless driving is generally defined as careless driving, improper driving, or driving without due care and attention. A reckless driving citation is costly from an insurance perspective. On average, it will bump up your annual premium by more than $1,000. If you’ve been cited for reckless driving and don't qualify for USAA, consider starting your search with State Farm and Progressive.
|Insurance company||Premium without violation||Premium with reckless driving violation||% Increase|
DUI citations are fairly common across the US, but that doesn’t make them inexpensive. In most states, a DUI or DWI violation is the most expensive ticket you can receive, insurance-wise. On average, having a DUI on your record will increase your annual premium by $1,099 — making it the third most costly violation a motorist can be cited for. If you’ve been charged with a DUI, your best bet for cheap car insurance is going with State Farm if you do not qualify for USAA.
|Insurance company||Premium without violation||Premium with DUI||% Increase|
While it can be difficult to find cheap car insurance with a violation on your record, you shouldn’t be complacent and take the first quote you receive. Let’s break down some cost-cutting solutions.
It’s a sad truth that vehicles don’t age like fine wine. From an insurance perspective, this means the level of coverage you once carried on your 2000 Mazda might no longer be necessary. Insurance agents advise if your vehicle is worth less than $4,000, you may not need physical — collision and comprehensive — coverage. Also referred to as full coverage, physical damage coverage is only required if you have a loan or lease on your vehicle. If you own your vehicle outright, the only coverage you’re required to carry is your liability coverage. Dropping physical coverage may save you some money each month.
|Coverage level||Average annual premium|
You can determine the value of your vehicle by using Kelley Blue Book and NADA guide online (we recommend using both). If your vehicle is worth more than $4,000 but you’re still looking to save, consider raising your deductibles. By raising your deductibles, you take a great amount of financial responsibility from your insurance company, in turn lowering your premium.
Another benefit of raising your deductibles is the reduced financial incentive to file a claim, which can be exceedingly costly.
Because your insurance rates are already higher after a ticket, use caution when adding an at-fault accident to that by filing a claim. If you’ve been in an at-fault accident and you’re thinking about filing a claim, consider the suggestions below.
We’ve used the phrase “at-fault collision claims” very specifically here. Uninsured motorist property damage and comprehensive claims are, by definition, rated as not-at-fault accidents and thus affect your premium significantly less. Moreover, if you’re the at-fault driver in an accident and the other party does not want to pay out-of-pocket, you're essentially out of luck.
While there will be discounts for which you won't qualify based on your insurance record, there are alternatives worth considering. While some of these are small, they can add up to give you some much-needed relief:
Just because you have violations on your driving record, doesn’t mean you’re going to be facing higher premiums for the rest of your life. Most states and car insurance companies stop charging you for violations after three years (with the exception of California, which rates DUIs for ten years).
In the meantime, your best bet for finding an affordable insurance policy is to look at as many insurance providers as possible. However, the cheapest company for you will depend on the violation you’re charged with and the myriad of other factors that are considered when insurers calculate your insurance quote. We can help you do most of the legwork by helping you compare rates from insurance companies across the US to find the cheapest premium even with violations or imperfect driving history. Simply enter your ZIP code below to get started on saving.
The Zebra is not an insurance company. We publish data-backed, expert-reviewed resources to help consumers make more informed insurance decisions.
The Zebra’s insurance content is written and reviewed for accuracy by licensed insurance agents.
The Zebra’s insurance content is not subject to review or alteration by insurance companies or partners.
The Zebra’s editorial team operates independently of the company’s partnerships and commercialization interests, publishing unbiased information for consumer benefit.
The auto insurance rates published on The Zebra’s pages are based on a comprehensive analysis of car insurance pricing data, evaluating more than 83 million insurance rates from across the United States.