June 2019

How 26 Common Traffic Tickets Raise the Price You Pay for Car Insurance

How much do traffic tickets impact your car insurance rate? What are the most expensive violations, and how do they vary by state?

BASED ON A NATIONAL ANALYSIS OF 61 MILLION CAR INSURANCE RATES

Intro

If you’ve been caught speeding or forgetting to use your turn signal, traffic ticket fines are not the only price you’ll pay for breaking the rules of the road.

You can also face steep penalties when it comes to your car insurance costs. Drivers who have recent tickets or car accidents on their driving record are considered higher risk (i.e. they’re more likely to file an insurance claim). That means insurers will typically charge them higher rates.

How much more drivers have to pay for car insurance depends both on the type of violation and where they live. For example, a Pennsylvania driver could pay 13% more for insurance after getting a speeding ticket, while a North Carolina driver could pay 48% more for the same offense.


Here we take a look at how common traffic tickets and claims affect car insurance rates nationally, and the violations with the biggest impact in each state.


 

1) A Single Traffic Ticket Can Raise Car Insurance Costs as Much as 82%

The traffic violation with the single biggest impact on car insurance rates is leaving the scene of an accident — a “hit and run.” Drivers charged with this crime can expect to pay on average 82% (or $1,200+) more per year for car insurance.

However, insurance penalties for traffic violations don’t always line up with what drivers may assume is the most dangerous driving behavior. Getting a ticket for driving too slowly, for example, can spike rates nearly as much as speeding in a school zone.

 

How Driving Violations Impact What You Pay for Car Insurance

Violation
Insurance Rate Increase by %
Insurance Rate Increase by $
Hit and Run
82.2%
$1,209
Refusal of Breathalyzer/Chemical Test
74.1%
$1,089
DUI
73.9%
$1,086
Racing
73.7%
$1,084
Reckless Driving
70.4%
$1,034
Driving with a Suspended License
62.4%
$918
At-Fault Accident
42.0%
$617
Driving with an Open Container
34.9%
$513
Operating a Vehicle without Permission
32.8%
$482
Passing a School Bus
27.0%
$398
Improper Passing
23.4%
$344
Following Too Closely
23.3%
$342
Speeding*
23.2%
$341
Failure to Stop at a Red Light
22.7%
$333
Illegal Turn
22.6%
$332
Driving Wrong Way/Wrong Lane
22.5%
$331
Failure to Yield
22.4%
$330
Speeding in School Zone
21.0%
$308
Driving Too Slowly
20.7%
$305
Distracted Driving/Cell Phone Violation
19.7%
$290
Driving with Expired Registration
10.9%
$161
Failure to Show Documents
8.7%
$128
Not-at-Fault Accident
6.7%
$98
Failure to Use Child Safety Restraint
4.3%
$63
Failure to Wear a Seat Belt
4.0%
$59
Driving without Lights
3.4%
$51
*Speeding violations aggregated. See below.

Drivers can also face insurance penalties for getting into car accidents and filing claims for the damage. Who was at fault, the size of the claim, and the terms of the driver's insurance policy can all impact whether and how much a claim raises rates.  

 

How Claims Impact What You Pay for Car Insurance

ClaimInsurance Rate Increase by %Insurance Rate Increase by $
One Medical/Personal Injury Claim0.3%$4
One Comprehensive Claim4.4%$64
Two Medical/Personal Injury Claims5.5%$80
Two Comprehensive Claims10.7%$158

 

A medical or personal injury claim pays for medical treatments and recovery costs for those injured in a car accident.

A comprehensive claim pays for damage not caused by an accident. This includes theft, vandalism, animal, and weather damage.

 


 

2) The More Severe the Violation, the Bigger the Insurance Penalty

While violations like not buckling your seatbelt are pretty straightforward, others come with degrees of severity. If you’re caught speeding, for example, just how fast you were going over the speed limit will impact the size of your insurance penalty.

Annual Car Insurance Cost

Getting ticketed for driving 6-10mph over the speed limit increases car insurance rates about 20%, while speeding 21-25mph over the limit raises rates almost 26%.

 


 

3) The Most Expensive Violations Vary by State

Getting a ticket for a driving violation can raise your car insurance rate no matter where you live, but the additional costs vary dramatically across state lines.

For example, a drunk or drugged driving violation (DUI) can increase rates 181% ($3,200+) in California, while in Indiana the same offense raises rates only 42% ($480+).

Why? It all comes down to differences in risk, and how insurance is rated and regulated from state to state.

It's important to remember that some insurance companies may assign lower penalties — or none at all — even in states where drivers tend to see steep cost spikes for violations, so it's always important to compare insurance quotes.

Below are the violations with the biggest impact on car insurance rates in each state across the U.S. [Note: Click the state name to see the impact of all violations in that state.]

Driving Violations with the Highest Insurance Penalties by State

State
Most Expensive
% Increase with Violation
$ Increase with Violation
Alabama
Hit and Run
71.5%
$992
Alaska
Hit and Run
65.2%
$781
Arizona
Hit and Run
140.5%
$1,820
Arkansas
Hit and Run
52.7%
$788
California
Hit and Run; Refusal of Breathalyzer/Chemical Test; DUI; Reckless Driving
181.0%
$3,286
Colorado
Hit and Run
58.0%
$975
Connecticut
Hit and Run; Racing
94.3%
$1,461
Delaware
Hit and Run
89.4%
$1,635
District of Columbia
Hit and Run
68.9%
$1,031
Florida
Hit and Run
55.6%
$1,146
Georgia
Hit and Run
91.8%
$1,421
Hawaii
Hit and Run
397.4%
$4,296
Idaho
Hit and Run
65.8%
$670
Illinois
Driving with a Suspended License
55.7%
$681
Indiana
Hit and Run; Racing; Driving with a Suspended License
52.8%
$607
Iowa
Hit and Run; Racing; Reckless Driving
72.4%
$715
Kansas
Hit and Run
43.8%
$646
Kentucky
Hit and Run
55%
$1,053
Louisiana
Driving with a Suspended License
50.4%
$1,179
Maine
Hit and Run; Racing
58.4%
$523
Maryland
Hit and Run
53.5%
$710
Massachusetts
Driving with a Suspended License
99.9%
$1,275
Michigan
Hit and Run; Reckless Driving
182.6%
$4,917
Minnesota
Hit and Run; Reckless Driving; Driving with a Suspended License
62.8%
$809
Mississippi
Hit and Run
58.9%
$905
Missouri
Driving with a Suspended License
43.6%
$614
Montana
Hit and Run
53.5%
$743
Nebraska
Reckless Driving
61.3%
$788
Nevada
Hit and Run; Racing; Reckless Driving; Driving with a Suspended License
63.9%
$1,223
New Hampshire
Racing
102.4%
$1,132
New Jersey
Refusal of Breathalyzer/Chemical Test; DUI
74.2%
$1,239
New Mexico
Hit and Run
65.7%
$887
New York
Hit and Run
82.0%
$1,385
North Carolina
Hit and Run; Racing
360.3%
$3,411
North Dakota
Hit and Run; Racing; Driving with a Suspended License
64.7%
$857
Ohio
At-fault Accident
84.0%
$867
Oklahoma
Hit and Run
55.6%
$868
Oregon
Hit and Run
54.3%
$756
Pennsylvania
Hit and Run; Racing; Driving with a Suspended License
81.1%
$1,127
Rhode Island
Hit and Run
94.5%
$1,995
South Carolina
Hit and Run
60.3%
$826
South Dakota
Hit and Run
59.1%
$792
Tennessee
Racing
57.4%
$820
Texas
At-Fault Accident
43.8%
$801
Utah
Driving with a Suspended License
46.6%
$564
Vermont
Hit and Run
87.9%
$946
Virginia
Hit and Run
67.6%
$620
Washington
Hit and Run
64.3%
$776
West Virginia
Hit and Run
76.8%
$1,090
Wisconsin
Driving with a Suspended License
64.3%
$687
Wyoming
Hit and Run
72.5%
$996

 


 

4) What Drivers Need to Know about Driving Violations

 

Driving violations can impact insurance rates for years (but not forever)

Insurers typically consider violations on your record for three years after the infraction, though certain activities can impact auto insurance rates even longer. A DUI violation in California, for example, will impact a driver's insurance rate for 10 years.

While violations often no longer count after three years, drivers usually aren’t eligible for “good driver” discounts, which can further lower rates, until they’ve been violation-free for five years.

 

Insurance penalties can cost more than the traffic ticket itself

The insurance impact of most driving violations is often far more costly than the ticket itself, especially when you consider how costs endure for several years.

The legal fine for a speeding ticket is about $150 on average. On top of that, ticketed drivers are likely to see their car insurance costs rise $340+ per year — for three years — after the violation. That means one speeding ticket can cost drivers more than $1,000 in insurance penalties alone.

 

Insurance penalties after a violation differ from company to company 

How heavily you’re penalized for a traffic ticket differs from one insurance company to the next, just like it differs from state to state. While most insurers increase rates for drivers with violations, some may charge you less than others.

In addition to comparing rates to find the best deal, you may be able to lower your insurance rate by participating in a driver safety course accepted by your insurer.

 


 

Methodology

The Zebra’s 2019 State of Auto Insurance Report analyzed 61 million unique rates to explore pricing trends across all United States zip codes including Washington, DC. Analysis used a consistent base profile for the insured driver: a 30-year-old single male driving a 2014 Honda Accord EX with a good driving history and coverage limits of $50,000 bodily injury liability per person/$100,000 bodily injury liability per accident/$50,000 property damage liability per accident with a $500 deductible for comprehensive and collision. The driver’s driving history was changed to include violations in order to obtain rate differences.

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