You were driving home from work, jamming out to your favorite tunes. Nothing could bring you down! Except for a police officer. Who pulled you over for speeding. You didn’t even realize you were speeding! And now you’re wondering, “Will my rates increase from a ticket?” We’ll explain how a speeding ticket (or parking ticket) could impact your insurance rates.
Traffic Tickets & Car Insurance
Speeding tickets fall into the category of traffic tickets. This type of ticket is issued by police officers when your car is in motion and you do something that’s against the law, like speeding or running a stop sign.
Traffic tickets can leave a mark on your driving record, which many insurance companies rely on to help determine car insurance rates.
“The better your record, the lower your premium,” explains the Insurance Information Institute (III). “If you’ve had accidents or serious traffic violations, it’s likely you’ll pay more than if you have a clean driving record.”
So yes, traffic tickets can cause the price you pay for car insurance to go up, but usually not right away.
Parking Tickets & Car Insurance
What about unpaid parking tickets? Do parking tickets raise insurance rates, too? Unfortunately, they could, but in a more roundabout way. Parking tickets are issued for violating local or municipal parking laws. In other words, your car isn’t moving. Parking tickets don’t go on your driving record, but they can still cost you if you don’t pay the fines. Here’s how.
1. A Suspended Driver’s License
It may feel satisfying, even righteous, to ball up a parking ticket and toss it in the trash. Please try to avoid this urge! If a parking ticket goes unpaid, the DMV may respond by suspending your driver’s license or blocking your registration.
A suspended license can be a red flag for some insurance companies—a red flag that could result in higher auto insurance rates.
You’re better off paying a parking ticket than getting your license suspended due to non-payment and then having to shell out extra cash on hefty car insurance rates for months to come!
2. A Block on Your Registration Renewal
Unpaid parking tickets can lead to a hold on your car registration renewal. You can’t legally drive your car without valid registration. If you get pulled over with an expired registration, then you could get points on your driver’s license, a fine or citation, or have your vehicle impounded.
While an expired registration alone won’t impact your car insurance rates, the consequences of driving without it could. How much your rate increases will depend on your car insurance company and your state.
3. Drama with Debt Collection Agencies
The ticket issuer can also send your debt to a collection agency, but not before doubling or tripling the original fine by piling on late fees. Collection agencies can then report your debt to credit bureaus, hurting your credit score and raising one more red flag for insurance companies. If you have bad credit, you could pay higher premiums for your policy and some companies could choose not to insure you.
On the flip side, “Establishing a solid credit history can cut your insurance costs,” explains the III.
How Long After Getting a Ticket Can Insurance Rates Change?
Insurance companies usually adjust your premiums when your policy is up for renewal. It could be a few months or a few weeks from the time you receive a ticket. If you’re concerned about saving money, work with Direct Auto Insurance. Even if you’ve been dinged by a traffic violation, we’ll connect you with a policy that meets your needs. Call, click, or come into your local Direct Auto for a free quote today.