Do Written Warnings Affect Your Auto Insurance Rates?
Last Updated on August 31, 2021
Receiving a written warning while driving seems serious. But do written warnings raise car insurance premiums?
Written traffic warnings will not raise car insurance premiums. A police officer may give you a written or verbal warning if you have committed an infraction. However, the DMV and your insurance company rarely obtain a copy of that warning, making it unlikely for a written warning to raise insurance premiums.
Keep reading to discover everything you need to know about written warnings and how they impact insurance premiums.
Warnings Do Not Impact Car Insurance Premiums
If you have committed an infraction, then a police officer may pull you over. At this point, the police officer has two main options.
In some cases, the police officer gives you a ticket or a citation. This is a formal penalty for your driving actions. The DMV and your insurance company will receive a record of the ticket or citation, and this incident will appear on your driving record. Most insurers raise premiums 5% to 15% for minor citations – like speeding violations. However, some insurers ignore one or two minor citations on an otherwise clean record.
In other cases, the police officer will give you an oral or written warning. If you committed a minor infraction and have an otherwise clean driving record, then the police officer may let you off with a warning. Warnings should not raise insurance premiums.
Written Warnings May Appear on your Driving Record
In some states, written warnings appear on your driving record. The DMV can view written warnings about your driving behavior. In these states, it’s possible for your insurer to view written warnings.
However, even in states where insurers can track written warnings, it’s unlikely for these warnings to raise car insurance premiums. If you have a written warning on your record with zero other driving violations, tickets, or citations, then it’s unlikely for your insurer to raise premiums based exclusively on that warning.
Oral warnings are unlikely to appear on your driving record. Although the police officer may record the incident, the incident is not reported to the DMV.
A Combination of Tickets and Warnings Could Raise Insurance Premiums
A warning will not raise insurance rates on its own. However, if you have written warnings and citations on your driving record, then you could pay higher insurance premiums.
Let’s say you have two written warnings for speeding violations in the last three years. A police officer pulls you over for speeding a third time. The police officer sees you have two previous warnings for speeding. Then, the police officer gives you a speeding ticket.
Your insurer can view your speeding ticket and other citations on your record. In many states, your insurer can also view your written warnings. Your insurer will conclude that you are a higher-risk driver to insure because of your history of speeding violations. At this point, your insurer could raise rates. A combination of tickets and warnings could raise insurance premiums.
If you have a clean record with a single written warning, then it’s unlikely for your insurer to raise rates. Written warnings are for minor offenses. Once you have a combination of written warnings and citations, however, premiums could rise.
Police Officers Can Choose to Submit your Written Warning to the DMV
In many states, a written warning stays between you and the police department. The police department may keep a record of the written warning and give you a copy of the warning. However, the police department does not report the written warning to the DMV.
In other states, however, the police officer can choose to report the written warning to the DMV. If it’s a minor offense on an otherwise clean driving record, then the police officer may decline to report the written warning to the DMV, making it impossible for your insurer to see it.
However, if the police officer feels the offense was serious, then the police officer may choose to submit the written warning to the DMV. Once the DMV receives a copy of the written warning, the warning appears on your driving record. Your insurer can view the written warning, and it could impact insurance premiums.
To check if there are written warnings on your driving record, contact the DMV and request a copy of your record.
Multiple Warnings Can Lead to a Ticket
If you have multiple warnings about your driving behavior, then it could increase your chances of getting a ticket. A ticket will raise car insurance premiums.
When a police officer pulls you over, the police officer can view previous infractions, citations, warnings, and incidents. Even if the oral or written warning was not submitted to the DMV, the police department may keep a local record.
If the police officer sees you have one or more warnings for traffic offenses, then it increases the chances of you receiving a ticket. The purpose of a warning is to prevent a driver from engaging in that behavior again. If you continue to drive dangerously after a warning, then a police officer could give you a ticket or a citation.
If you receive a ticket or citation, then it will always appear on your driving record at the DMV, and your insurer will be able to view the incident. Some insurers raise rates after a single ticket or citation, although others ignore minor violations.
Verbal Warnings Versus Written Warnings
A police officer may give a verbal warning for a minor incident. If the police officer feels the incident was more serious, then the officer may issue a written warning.
Typically, verbal warnings take place between you and the police officer. The police officer may record the incident in the local police database. However, verbal incidents are not reported to the DMV and cannot be viewed by your insurer.
Written warnings also typically remain on the local database and cannot be viewed by the DMV or your insurer. However, the police officer may give you a copy of the written warning and make a note in the local database. In some states, police officers also report written warnings to the DMV automatically, making it easy for your insurer to see written warnings.
Final Word on Written Warnings and Insurance
Written warnings could appear on your driving record. However, written warnings are unlikely to affect insurance premiums.
Although insurers can view written warnings in some states, few insurers raise premiums based on those written warnings.
To determine if you have written warnings on your driving record, contact the DMV and request a copy of your driving record.