Do you typically find yourself over the speed limit on the freeway? Have you made a illegal turn in an unfamiliar part of town? Being cited with a traffic violation can happen easily unless you're a really cautious driver. And depending on the type of ticket, they often cause your insurance rates to go way up.
How Do Tickets Affect Your Rates?
Every state has their own point system which they use to assign demerit points for each type of violation. Obviously, the more demerit points you accumulate, the higher the rate at which your insurance premiums are set. And if you rack up too many points in too short a period, the state may even revoke your license. The general logic is that a reckless driver that receives tickets is unsafe and thus is a high risk to insure.
Other Factors Affect Car Insurance Rates
Traffic violations are not the only factor that affects your insurance premium. Components such as location, age, gender, and occupation all come into play. Regarding the demerit points on our driver's license, the more tickets you get, the higher your score and insurance premium.
To be sure, not all violations carry the same value. For example, being convicted of a DUI or exceeding the speed limit has a higher impact on your premium than failing to use a turn signal. Also, remember that parking tickets do not affect your rates since they are not a traffic violation.
Though most insurance companies assign a similar risk value to convicted traffic violations, there is a degree of variance between the formulas they use to calculate your premium. Therefore, your insurer too is a variable in how the ticket affects your rate. You may want to shop around after an increased premium to verify that your insurer is offering you the best rate.
Lowering Your Insurance Premiums
Unfortunately, once convicted of a traffic violation there is little you can do to remove it. Some state traffic courts do, however, provide the option of a driving course. If you attend and successfully complete this class it may reduce the impact of the ticket on your driving record and insurance premium.
Also, there are various unrelated means to lower your premium. The difference in premiums between insurance companies can be surprising. What one company considers a high risk factor, another company may not place as much emphasis on. Be sure to shop around and look into purchasing a policy online, for which many insurers offer a discount. And consider paying for an entire block of insurance up front (6 months to 1 year), which will also land you a good discount. These little tricks can help counter balance your insurance premium after a traffic violation.