You may have heard that getting a traffic violation summons will make your auto insurance rates climb.
This is true.
The insurance company studies your driving history when determining your premium. If the company sees a driving record that indicates you have been issued moving violations and/or speeding tickets, they look at you as someone who is at risk of being involved in a car accident. To the insurance industry, an auto accident translates into a claim that will likely obligate a payout of funds to cover related damages. This is why they will raise the premium.
While each insurance company follows its own set of rules when it comes to a rate increase, most will consider your overall record before applying a raised premium or surcharge.
The more serious the traffic violation, the more of an increase in premium for the driver as the following illustrates:
- A motorist that has been found guilty of driving under the influence of alcohol will suffer very serious repercussions in regard to rates
- A driver that was caught speeding above the posted limits will have a more measured jump in rates, but this also depends on how fast he or she was going
- A parking ticket or violation for not using your seat belt typically will not affect insurance rates
Drivers should be aware that the insurance companies raise rates upon a legal conviction. This is why it may pay to fight a ticket in court if it was issued without genuine justification. It is a good idea to speak to your insurance agent if you are unsure about how to proceed following a driving violation summons.
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Summary: The most effective way to keep auto insurance rates down is to drive safely. If you do get a traffic ticket, your rates may go up. Here is a quick summary on the topic.