Do Traffic Violations Affect Insurance Premiums?

Last Updated on May 20, 2020

Your driving history has a huge effect on the price of your auto insurance. If you have a long history of driving safely, for example, then you’ll pay less than someone with multiple speeding tickets or collisions in the last five years.

Do ordinary traffic violations affect insurance rates? Will your insurance prices go up after a single speeding ticket? Will a parking ticket affect insurance rates? Today, we’re explaining everything you need to know about how traffic violations affect insurance premiums.

Do Traffic Violations Affect Insurance Premiums?

Insurance Companies Have Different Policies When It Comes to Traffic Violations and Tickets

The short answer to the above questions is this: companies have vastly different policies when it comes to the effect a traffic ticket has on car insurance rates.

Some insurance companies will forgive a single speeding ticket, for example, and your insurance rates will not change whatsoever.

Other insurance companies will immediately raise your rates for 3 to 5 years after a single moving violation. A moving violation is a ticket for an infraction made while you were driving – not parked.

Something as simple as littering can raise your insurance rates. A police officer may give you a ticket for littering, causing your insurance rates to rise.

Meanwhile, something as minor as a parking ticket is unlikely to have any effect on your insurance rates. Other similar types of “fix it” tickets are unlikely to have any effect on your insurance premiums.

Generally speaking, drivers with a long history of safe driving will not notice a significant increase after a single traffic violation. If you received your first speeding ticket ever, for example, and you have an otherwise clean record, then you might not notice any rise in your insurance rates.

However, if this is your second or third violation, then your insurance company will almost certainly increase your rates.

Different Traffic Violations Have Different Levels of Severity

Understandably, the type of ticket you receive will change how it affects your insurance rates. Being convicted of a DUI will have severe penalties with every insurance company in the United States, for example, while driving with a broken taillight will not have the same repercussions.

Low Impact Violation

Driving with a broken taillight, littering, or driving without a seatbelt are low impact violations unlikely to have a major impact on insurance rates. Noise violations, general equipment violations, parking violations, failure to produce registration, and failure to appear violations also fall into this category.

Medium Impact Violation

Getting caught going 10 miles over the speed limit is considered a medium impact violation. Certain states also consider distracted driving (like calling or texting while driving) a medium violation.

High Impact Violation

A DUI conviction and similar offenses are considered high impact violations. Reckless driving, failure to stop after an accident, major speeding violations, racing, fleeing from police, and driving on a suspended license also fall into this category.

Depending on where your traffic violation falls on this spectrum, your insurance premiums will change accordingly. Even a low impact violation can lead to a rise in insurance prices – although you can expect an average rise of about 5% to 8%.

Meanwhile, high impact violations like a DUI lead to an average rise of 90% to 100%, which means you can expect insurance prices to basically double after a DUI.

How Do DMV Points Affect Rates?

Most states use a points system to track driver violations. Your state’s DMV tracks the number of points you accrue over time. Each violation is worth a certain number of points. All points data is available to your insurance company.

Severe violations can stay on your driving record permanently, while lower impact violations may disappear in 3 to 5 years.

Most American insurance companies will ask you to disclose any traffic violations before applying for a quote. Many companies will ask drivers if they’ve had a moving violation in the past 3 years, for example. Most insurance companies will also ask if you’ve had a DUI in the past 10 years.

The more points get added to your driving record, the higher you can expect your car insurance premiums to be.

How to Determine Whether or Not Your Rates Will Increase

Will your insurance premiums rise after a traffic violation? How much more can you expect to pay per month? How long will the violation stay on your record?

As mentioned above, these answers vary widely between insurance companies. That’s why it’s in your best interest to call your insurance company and just ask. Your insurance company will explain their policies on various traffic violations.

Don’t be afraid to talk to your insurance company: they’re going to discover your traffic violation eventually. Unless you committed a violation in a foreign country, your traffic violation will almost certainly be accessible to your insurer. Violations committed in a different state are always shared with your home state.

Conclusion: Compare Car Insurance Rates Today

Different insurance companies treat traffic violations in different ways. A major offense at one insurance company might be a non-issue at a competing insurance company. That’s why it’s important to compare rates between companies. Take a few minutes to search for auto insurance online today. You might save hundreds of dollars per year on car insurance.

James Shaffer
James Shaffer James Shaffer is a writer for and a well-seasoned auto insurance industry veteran. He has a deep knowledge of insurance rules and regulations and is passionate about helping drivers save money on auto insurance. He is responsible for researching and writing about anything auto insurance-related. He holds a bachelor's degree from Bentley University and his work has been quoted by NBC News, CNN, and The Washington Post.
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