How Long Will A Ticket Affect My Rates?

Haley Dyson
March 6, 2020

It’s bound to happen to all of us at some point in our lives. Whether you're speeding to get to work on time or are at fault in a fender bender at the grocery store parking lot, most of us will probably receive a ticket at one point or another. After the initial panic has dissipated, you are probably left wondering how much this is going to cost and how this will affect your insurance rates and premiums.

The average duration a ticket affects your rates is three years. However, various factors will dictate the exact total of the duration and how much the premium will increase. The main factors impacting an increase in insurance rates are which state you live in, the severity of your violation, and who your insurance carrier is.

Why Do Tickets Affect Rates?

Insurance companies always base their premiums on the amount of risk that they take on issuing a policy. The company bases this assessment on previous behavior. In the instance of car insurance, this will be based on driving history.

The most common traffic ticket is speeding which is an indicator of at-fault accidents. Speeding, then, increases the likelihood that the company will have to pay a claim due to your reckless driving. In order to compensate for this potential risk factor, insurance will charge you higher premiums.

The insurance company will check your driving history via a Motor Vehicle Report (MVR) when you first purchase a policy but will also routinely check up if any new tickets have appeared on your record. If they have, your coverage will increase to match. According to, the rate increase will usually occur when your policy is renewed. You can look up your own MVR from your state’s DMV for a small fee.

How Does Where You Live Affect Rates?

Different states adopt different ways of penalizing drivers for traffic violations. Besides financial incentive in the form of tickets, most states will give points on a driving record for infractions. Depending on the severity, you will receive 1-2 points for a traffic ticket and 1 point for an accident.

The duration of how long these rates stay on records differs by state. The majority of states will allow points to disappear off your record within two to three years. In Nevada, most points come off within a year. In Virginia, speeding tickets last for five years whereas California has the average of three years, except if it is a DUI or hit-and-run, which will stay on for a whole 13 years.

The average premium increase after just one accident differs greatly from state to state. New York has the smallest average increase of $80 while D.C. has the largest average at a whopping $1,041. California has an average of $608 after an accident.

How Does Speed Affect Insurance Rates?

As mentioned before, drivers that speed carry higher risks at causing accidents. Thus, your insurance companies will need to increase your premium when you are caught speeding.

The actual amount that it will increase depends on much over the speed limit you were cited with driving. For the most part, if the ticket is for under 15 miles per hour over the posted speed limit, your rate increase may be as little as 11 percent. If you were driving between 15-29 miles per hour over, it would increase about 12 percent. Tickets 30 miles per hour or over will result in an expected 15 percent increase in premiums.

Severity Of Your Violation

While speeding will likely increase premiums between 11-15 percent, other types of driving infractions will have differing results.

There are minor infractions that will barely affect your rates:

  1. Seat belt infraction: 3 percent increase
  2. Driving without a license or permit: 12 percent increase
  3. Talking on cellphone while driving: 16 percent increase
  4. Failure to stop: 19 percent increase
  5. Improper turn: 20 percent increase

More serious violations will result in higher increases:

  1. Highway racing: 71 percent increase
  2. Reckless driving: 73 percent increase
  3. A DUI: 79 percent increase

It is also possible that insurance companies will cease providing services for you if the infraction is serious, such as in the case of a DUI. If this occurs, you may want to pursue a nonstandard issuer for coverage. Nonstandard issuers specialize in services for individuals with blemishes on their driving records. An assigned risk plan could be available in your state

How Does Insurance Carrier Play A Role?

The duration can also differ due to how an insurance carrier’s policies differ from one another. How far back do insurance carriers look at infractions? As mentioned before, it is usually about three years. However, whether the company looks at the date of the incident or the conviction can vary.

Many companies offer a good driver discount after no accidents after five years, and others also offer driver forgiveness for having a record of being a safe driver. There are some insurers that have a policy that dictates if the driver is over 25 and has not had a similar violation in the last three years, they will not raise the driver’s premiums.

The length of time can vary from carrier to carrier. It is always a good idea to compare rates and carriers. We can help with that! You can give us a call at (877) 323-7750.

Tips On What To Do Next

1. One option is to take a defensive driving or accident prevention class. Many are available online. This 6-8 hour class could elicit a discount that softens the blow of an increased premium. It could even prevent points from being added to those who are eligible for this benefit.

2. It can also be a good idea to consider changing your coverage if your premiums have increased. You can see if you can, instead, increase your policy deductible which will then help alleviate the cost of premiums. An insurance agent can provide assistance in determining if this is the right option for you.

3. Keep your credit up. Not many people know that credit scores can affect how much your insurance carrier charges you. It is then smart to avoid debt, pay bills on time, and increase your credit score.

4. The most important step is to drive more carefully moving forward! In addition to helping keep you, your passengers, and other drivers safe, less tickets could keep your costs lower.

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