Nobody likes getting a traffic ticket, especially for speeding. It’s embarrassing, it takes a huge chunk of time out of your day, you may be forced to fight it in court, and it can cost a fortune. How can the whole process get any worse?
Well, it can hike up your auto insurance premiums, for one thing, and that’s just the start. Speeding tickets are an insurance nightmare for customers, and to understand why, you need to approach it from an insurance company’s perspective.
Why Tickets Raise Your Rates
The job of any insurer is to cover you against the unlikely; the less likely you are for something horrible to happen, the cheaper your insurance is because it’s unlikely the insurer will need to pay out the policy. Car accidents are inherently difficult to insure because you have an expensive item (the car) that can be destroyed, and other liability outside that (i.e., if you hurt somebody while crashing your car, you could be at fault). And all of this is staked on said expensive object, which is very heavy, and moving at high speeds. Even if you never break the speed limit, a three-ton object going, say, 35 miles an hour can really do a number on itself, its passengers, and anything that happens to be in the way if things go wrong.
And the data about, say, speeding is pretty straightforward: it kills. It raises the odds of something horrible happening, and the faster you go, the more likely you cause an accident. So, if you’re going to make it more likely for insurance companies to force them to pay up, they’re going to make you pay more to cover their potential losses.
How Much Will My Rates Go Up?
Depending on your record:
- Getting ticketed for not wearing a seat belt will get you a 3% hike in your insurance.
- Tailgating is good for at least 10 percent, possibly more, as it’s a good way to get in a nasty accident.
- Speeding is the most common, and that’s generally good for 1 to 2% more on your policy per mile you were over the limit. Considering most police won’t pull you over for going 26 in a 25, you’re likely facing a 5 to 10% increase from one minor ticket, and up to 20% for serious ones.
Much depends on your record, as well. If you have a history of speeding, your rates are going to be higher. But if you have a long history of driving responsibly, and this is your first ticket, insurers are likely to go lighter on you.
Is this immediate? Not as a general rule. It takes time for tickets to be processed and insurance companies to be informed. But when they are informed, generally it will come back to bite you when you go to renew your insurance. You are, of course, free to not renew, but it’s worth remembering that other insurance companies will have the same problems your old one did.
So, play it safe and drive the limit. It will protect you, it will protect others, and it will keep your money where it belongs: in your wallet.