What’s The Worst Thing I Can Do To Drive My Insurance Rates Up?

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People do crazy things behind the wheel. We all know this. You probably saw something today that you thought was nuts.

But what’s the worst thing you can do, at least as far as your insurance company is concerned? What’s the driving violation that’ll drive your insurance rates up the most? And remember, each of these violations will continue to cost you on insurance for three years after it happens.

We took 16 of the worst offenders and matched them up together to determine which one will put the biggest dent in your wallet (along with a dent in your fender).


Round 1 Results

Speeding vs Driving Too Slow

Classic matchup. The tortoise and the hare. At first glance, it should be a runaway (ha!) win. And speeding does come out on top here as the worse of the two offenses, but driving too slow makes it closer than you’d think.

Nationwide, a speeding ticket will raise your insurance rates 23% a year, or an average of $341. Catch a ticket for driving too slow and that’ll raise your rates by 21%, or $305, on average.

Good job, good effort for the slowpokes, but the leadfoots advance.

Good job, good effort for the slowpokes, but the leadfoots advance.


Suspended License With a Surprise Win

The closest matchup of this round pits driving with a suspended license against causing an accident. Cruising around with a suspended license seems pretty low-key and not as actively bad as causing an accident, but in insurance terms, it’s way worse. Being found at fault will drive your rates up an average of 42% nationwide (around $617), while getting caught with a suspended license will ding you for an increase of over 62% ($918).


Final Four

None of These Are Good

Three of the four semifinalists will cause your rates to soar more than $1,000 per year, so suspended license gets dropped from the pack here and sending hit-and-run into the finals. On the other side, it’s a close call between DUI and reckless driving—both will increase your premiums more than 70%, but DUI works out to about $50 a year more for your insurance payments.

Three of the top four will cause your rates to soar more than $1,000 per year.

Hit & Run vs DUI

Battle of the Worst Offenders

These two will get you the biggest increase in your insurance but leaving the scene of an accident, or hit-and-run, will increase auto insurance premiums more than any other accident or violation, with an average increase of 82%!

Three out of four states say leaving the scene of an accident will result in the biggest hit on your annual auto insurance premiums, with Hawaii coming down the hardest. Your payments will increase nearly 4X with a hit-and-run in the Aloha State.
The best outcome, of course, is to avoid any of these incidents and keep your annual premiums as low as possible.


About This Info

These stats were taken from The Zebra’s 2021 State of Insurance report, which analyzes more than 61 million car insurance rates to examine how risk factors affect pricing. Insurance is regulated differently in each state, so car insurance prices also vary substantially by location. And with more than 650 insurance companies using a mix of some 43,500 rating factors, any given person could conceivably choose from millions upon millions of car insurance quotes. The Zebra’s annual report explores rates across all 34,000 U.S. zip codes and over the past 8 years to identify trends and critical factors impacting rate changes, and what that means for the 250 million U.S. drivers in 2019.

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