Insurance companies base rates on how big a risk you are to their company. The more violations you get or accidents you cause, the more you’re going to pay.
An analysis done by insurance.com found that drivers with a one car policy with one violation on their record paid 18% more than those with no violations. Drivers with two violations paid 35% more, while drivers with three violations paid 53% more than drivers with no violations.
Violations aren’t equal in the eyes of the insurance company either, and some violations will hurt your pocketbook more than others. The more serious the offense, the higher your rates will go.
Here are the top violations costliest for car insurance, and their estimated premium increases, which will vary from state to state and driving record:
- Seat-belt infractions: Estimated premium increase: 3%
- No car insurance: Estimated premium increase: 6%
- Driving without a valid license: Estimated premium increase: 10%
- Running a red light: Estimated premium increase:10%
- Speeding: Estimated premium increase:10%
- Following too close/tailgating: Estimated premium increase:13%
- Reckless driving: Estimated premium increase:15% to 20%
- Driving while impaired/under the influence: Estimated premium increase: 25%
What to do if your rates go up
If your rates go up after a traffic violation, take steps to see if you can lower your premium, such as the following:
- Shop around. Compare prices to your current coverage and rate, then get quotes.
- Don’t discount your current insurer too quickly. Your current company won’t necessarily check your driving record for new violations every year. If they do, some insurance companies offer accident forgiveness policies and will waive accident surcharges for long-time customers.
- Complete a defensive driving class. In some states you can remove marks on your record if you take a driver’s safety course. Once completed, your insurance company might be required to lower your rate.
- Increase your deductible. You can lower your annual premium by raising your deductible. This may not be the right move for you if you cannot afford to pay a large deductable if you are in an accident.
- Maintain (or improve) your credit rating. The majority of auto insurers consider a low or bad credit rating a sign of greater risk when it comes to auto insurance, so maintaining or improving your rating can save you money.
For information about auto insurance visit your state’s insurance commissioner’s website.