It’s a nightmare shared by every driver: You’re cruising along, maybe in a bit of a hurry. You glance down at the speedometer, and notice you’re inching up past ten miles over the speed limit. You know you should slow down, but you’re running late to meet that cute guy/girl/your grandma for dinner, and anyway, surely you won’t get caught, right?
Then: sirens. Flashing lights in your rear view mirror. A few excuses and a lot of sweating in your seat later, and you’ve got a pink slip of paper in your hand that’s telling you your bad judgment is about to cost you a pretty penny. But what it’s not saying?
Unfortunately, the cost of that speeding ticket isn’t merely its face value. It’s not even the sum of the face value and all the time you’ll have to spend with grandma to make it up to her. That ticket is also going to ratchet up your car insurance rates. We dug into our numbers for you to find out just how much.
How A Speeding Ticket Affects Car Insurance Rates
1 Speeding ticket = Increased premium by $737 or about 18 percent.
2 Speeding tickets in one year = Increased premium by $1839 or about 34 percent.
There you have the cold, hard numbers. Our metholodology: Using zip codes from every state in the country, we ran a mock profile through our car insurance comparison platform. Our fake driver, whom we’ll call Mr. Lead Foot, was male, forty years old, driving a new-ish nice-ish car and with good credit. First, we ran his rates across zip codes from each of the 50 states assuming he had incidents on his record. Then, we added one speeding ticket, and finally a second speeding ticket, to see the effect on his premium. We kept all other factors, including coverage, the same.
It’s good to remember, though, that not all speeding tickets are alike, and non-moving violations are likely to affect your rate less than these numbers. One other tiny bit of silver lining: Your rate likely won’t change immediately, but instead when your current policy expires. Also, these figures will vary from driver to driver and state to state, in addition to from one insurance company to the next. But the fact remains, your driving record affects your car insurance rates more than any other factor (besides the coverage you choose, of course).
One more important fact—and two pieces of advice
It’s especially important to avoid multiple violations in a year, in order to maintain a car insurance rate you can afford. Want proof? In our study, we also found that two speeding tickets were more costly for a driver than just one at-fault accident. If you do find yourself with a blotch or two on your record, though, don’t panic. Instead, shop around. Comparing tons of car insurance companies will help find you one that can offer a decent rate, even with a few honest mistakes on file. Also, consider taking a defensive driving course, which can lower your rates as well.