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How do speeding fines affect car insurance?

Chelsey Tucker graduated with a Bachelor of History degree from Metropolitan State University in 2019. She now writes about insurance with her specialty being life insurance and has been quoted...

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Dan Walker graduated with a BS in Administrative Management in 2005 and has been working in his family’s insurance agency, FCI Agency, for 15 years. He is licensed as an agent to write property and casualty insurance, including home, auto, umbrella...

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Reviewed byDaniel Walker
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UPDATED: Mar 19, 2020

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The lowdown...
  • Auto insurance rates are determined by looking over a person’s history and habits to place them in a risk class
  • If you are cited for speeding, you don’t have to worry about your rates going up until after you’re convicted of the offense
  • When a driver on the policy has been convicted, the insurer will apply a surcharge to the policy at next renewal
  • Not only can speeding tickets lead to a surcharge on the premium, it could place a driver in a new risk class
  • The average surcharge for a speeding ticket countrywide is between 11 percent to 15 percent of the policy premium

When you’re pulled over for speeding, you have a lot more to worry about than just how much you’ll be fined if you plead guilty in court.

In many states, drivers who’ve been cited for going over the speed limit are paying a base fine plus a large surcharge that covers state and government operations. This is why speeding costs drivers so much money.

The surcharge that’s assessed by traffic courts isn’t the only surcharge you’ll be assessed. In addition to a traffic ticket surcharge, you’ll probably also face an insurance surcharge.

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Long after you’ve paid off your fine, you’ll be reminded of your mistake when you pay inflated insurance premiums. Here’s how speeding infractions affect your insurance standing and your rates:

Do speeding tickets affect insurance rates?

Auto insurance is one of those products that you have to buy but that you don’t really want to familiarize yourself with.

It might not take an expert to buy an auto insurance policy, but if you want to be an informed consumer you should at least have a basic understanding of what does and doesn’t affect your premiums.

Not only can speeding tickets affect someone’s rate, they can affect their ability to qualify for a policy through some insurers when they have a flawed driving record already.

Insurers will run each driver’s motor vehicle reports each term to see if there are new convictions. If something comes up on the report, it’s possible that the premium will change.

Why do speeding tickets affect your car insurance premiums?

It’s reasonable to assume that only things that cost the insurer money, like a claim, would change your rates after your initial policy has already been issued.

People who think this are misguided because speeding tickets and other moving violations can affect your rate when you buy a policy or when you renew it.

One of the big questions is why an episode of speeding that didn’t result in an accident would lead to raised rates. While it doesn’t seem fair, it’s all because of how the industry works.

When insurers are setting rates, they consider all of the factors that can affect the likelihood that a driver will have a loss. Since studies show that a driver who’s speeding is a lot more likely to have an accident, their rates will go up.

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Does everyone’s rates go up after a ticket?

While insurers do have cause to increase your rates after a traffic conviction, your rates don’t always go up.

In fact, policyholders were surveyed and only 31 percent of them reported that their rates were surcharged after they were ticketed and then convicted for speeding. Here are some of the reasons why:

  • Pulling Motor Vehicle Reports records is expensive and insurance companies don’t want to pay the fee each term so they don’t run each driver’s MVR each renewal unless they are already in a risky driving class
  • Some companies won’t surcharge safe drivers with clean records if it’s their first infraction in several years
  • If a driver on the policy had an infraction that fell off, the new infraction may not look like a rate increase
  • You have completed traffic school so the infraction can’t be seen by insurers

When will your rates go up?

If your policy is subject to a surcharge, you won’t see it right away. It’s all dependent on how long it takes for your charge to turn into a conviction, when your policy is set for renewal, and if you’re convicted.

If you plead guilty, you might be surcharged sooner than if you went to court and fought the ticket.

Legally, insurers can’t raise your rates or put you into a new risk class during your current term. Your rates are guaranteed, as long as you don’t make changes to your policy until the term renews.

Then, at the renewal, the new convictions and violations can be considered when determining a new final rate. Wait until the renewal after you’re officially convicted of the offense to sigh a breath of relief.

How much is a speeding ticket surcharge?

If you’re surcharged for the ticket, the increase in your rates can vary from carrier to carrier and from state to state.

Some state officials are very strict when it comes to surcharges that are applied for a non-accident related offense. Others want to buckle down on speeding and allow larger insurance penalties.

Surcharges can also change based on how fast you were going. If you were only going a few miles per hour over the speed limit, you’ll probably see a smaller increase than someone who was knowingly speeding 20+ mph over the posted limit.

While there aren’t fixed surcharges used state by state, here are the surcharge averages:

  • Speeding 1 to 14 mph over: 11 percent
  • Speeding 15 to 29 mph over: 12 percent
  • Speeding 30 mph over the limit: 15 percent

Other Ways That Speeding Tickets Can Affect Your Insurance

You might think that an 11 percent premium surcharge doesn’t sound all that bad, but in some cases that is not where the increase ends.

If you already have a ticket or accident, you could lose your Good Driver Discount because of the speeding ticket. Since the Good Driver Discount brings premiums down by 20 percent, one speeding infraction could lead to extremely high rates.

Some auto insurance companies are known for offering lower rates to drivers who have less than perfect driving records. If you want to find one of these companies, get several quotes to research which carriers are geared to drivers with spotty records.

To do a rate comparison quickly, use our online brokerage-style quoting tool and then buy insurance through a reputable insurance company.

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