How Traffic Tickets Affect Insurance Coverage

Although you may be a safe and responsible driver, accidents do happen that can negatively affect your insurance coverage.  Depending on the traffic violation and state laws, the consequences are often felt in higher premiums or even potentially cancelling your insurance coverage altogether. While non-moving violations such as a parking ticket usually don’t affect coverage, several minor moving offenses occurred within a considerable short amount of time can prove as detrimental as one serious violation.

Understanding How Points Impact Insurance Coverage

The Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV) applies a point system to reflect any incurred driver infractions. Insurance coverage and premiums are based on your driving record, and any traffic violations on record. Obviously the more points you have on your record, the more you can expect to pay for insurance coverage.

The point system varies among states and insurance coverage providers when calculating points incurred from traffic offenses. In general, however, major infractions carry the maximum amount of points that go against your driving record. For example, a DUI may carry up to 12 points, whereas a speeding ticket may only rack up 2 points. Insurance providers typically review your driving record about twice a year or whenever your policy is up for renewal. Traffic violations remain on your driving record for 3 years, although the duration also varies according to state laws.

Also depending on the state and infraction, it may be possible to attend a defensive driving course to erase points from your record, as well as prevent your insurance coverage rates from dramatically increasing. If you accumulate a specific number of points within a certain time frame, don’t be surprised if you find your license suspended.

Tickets Sure to Catch Your Insurer’s Attention

Due to various state motor vehicle laws, there’s nothing set in stone regarding what does or doesn’t affect insurance coverage, however, the following tickets are almost always a guaranteed to negatively impact your vehicle insurance coverage:

  1. Driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs
  2. Responsible for an accident
  3. Reckless driving
  4. Racing
  5. Intentionally fleeing the police
  6. Leaving the scene of an accident
  7. Driving with a suspended or revoked license
  8. Speeding (assuming it’s your first in 3 years)
  9. Driving illegally on a one-way street or wrong side of the freeway
  10. Driving without insurance.

Tickets that Incur Less Points

While the tickets listed above carry the most points that go against your insurance coverage rates, the following infractions have a lesser impact on premiums:

•    First speeding ticket
•    Driving with an expired or restricted license
•    Expired vehicle registration
•    Driving in a HOV lane
•    Failure to wear seatbelt
•    Failure to secure a load on your vehicle
•    Broken tail light or cracked windshield
•    Loud exhaust/muffler
•    Littering while moving.

It’s always a good idea to check with your insurance coverage provider to review your driving record periodically or if you have questions or concerns.



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