How Tickets Can Affect Your Car Insurance Rates

by Hank Coleman

How speeding tickets affect car insurance ratesWhat is one of the first things that you think about when you get pulled over by the police for speeding or some other traffic violation? I know that one of my first thoughts goes to my car insurance and how much my car insurance premium may go up if I get a ticket. We all understand that tickets affect insurance rates, but many of us do not know how do speeding tickets affect insurance rates and how other violations play into our rates. Now, has done the leg work for you with a new study that they have just published dissecting how much auto insurance rates increase for common driving violations. analyzed over than 490,000 car insurance quotes from 14 different car insurance companies over a two year span. They looked at drivers who had 14 of the most common driving infractions and compared them with drivers who had clean driving records. Their study estimated the annualized premium increase that drivers could expect for certain combinations of driving infractions, and the study also takes into account and controls for personal attributes such as their state, time with insurer, marital status, age, and other factors to comprise your car insurance premium.

Based on’s study and analysis, here is how much common tickets can impact your car insurance rates on average:

1. Reckless driving: 22% increase
2. DUI first offense: 19%
3. Driving without a license or permit: 18%
4. Careless driving: 16%
5. Speeding 30 mph over the limit: 15%
6. Failure to stop: 15%
7. Improper turn: 14%
8. Improper passing: 14%
9. Following too close/tailgating: 13%
10. Speeding 15 to 29 mph over limit: 12%
11. Speeding 1 to 14 mph over limit: 11%
12. Failure to yield: 9%
13. No car insurance: 6%
14. Seat belt infractions: 3%

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While this ranking is not all inclusive of the many possible driving violations that you can be flagged for, it does paint a very interesting picture of what you can expect from your car insurance company if you receive a ticket. One thing that jumps out at me is that not wearing your seat belt only typically gets you a 3% increase in your car insurance premiums. While things like improper turning and passing can earn you a severe penalty. I would bet that your life insurance company would love to have that seat belt information so they can increase your rates for that policy instead.

Also, keep in mind that many car insurance companies do not always penalize drivers for their first infraction. You may receive a pass for your first ticket in a several year span, but you can believe that you will be hit with higher premiums sooner rather than later if your poor driving continues.

What about you? Do you think that these car insurance rate increases are accurate? Have you been hit with higher premium increases because of a ticket? Is it just me, or is it crazy that a seat belt violation only nets you a 3% increase on average? I’d love to hear your thoughts in the comment section.

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About Hank Coleman

Hank Coleman is the founder of Money Q&A, an Iraq combat veteran, a Dr. Pepper addict, and a self-proclaimed investing junkie. He has written extensively for many nationally known financial websites and publications. Hank holds a Master’s Degree in Finance and a graduate certificate in personal financial planning. Email him directly at Hank[at]

Hank Coleman has written 578 articles on Money Q&A. Learn more about Money Q&A on Twitter @MoneyQandA and @HankColeman.

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{ 14 comments… read them below or add one }

Modest Money

Those are some hefty insurance increases due to traffic violations. I’m not positive, but I think our insurance here in BC works a bit different in that regard. We have a points system where different infractions result in different amounts of points. These all have to be paid off when you renew your insurance. I guess it’s ultimately the same thing though. We still get dinged twice for any tickets.


Elizabeth @ Simple Finance

Wow, so I am not the only one who always thinks about my insurance premiums first! Good to know I’m not alone. I’m shocked at the very minor differences between a minor speeding ticket (up to 14 mph over) and a mid-range ticket (15-29 mph over) – 11% jump vs 12%. I mean, if I’m going to speed, I might as well go really fast judging by those numbers!


Hank Coleman


I hate to admit it, but that is exactly what I thought when I read those numbers. Not much difference in penalties for a lot of different speeds.


Smart Military Money

Some of those increases make sense to me. I can see how the seat belt increase is so low because you’re only endangering yourself in the case of an accident. But you’re correct in saying life insurance would love to know what customers drive without seat belts.

Why does the seat belt increase seem low to you, Hank?

I’d expect a DUI to do more damage. That’s the most irresponsible thing you can do in a vehicle.

-Christian L.


Hank Coleman


I totally agree with you. DUI is definitely the most irresponsible thing you can do. I was just trying to make the point that I was surprised that not wearing your seat belt would be such a low impact. I would think that as a society if we are trying to influnce drivers’ decisions that we (insurance companies) would put more of a penalty on that as well like they rightly do for DUI.



It does seem interesting that a seat belt violation would only result in a 3% increase with all the emphasis that is put on safe driving. Overall, I do think this list is a great reminder that tickets affect both short and long-term finances. Thanks for putting it together.



Well, expectation for rates are differ from people to people . But in my personal opinion this is little bit higher . If the rare has no chance to decrease than there should a room for flexibility because sometimes people have to take turn immediately for many emergency case. I am sure many people should agree with me that its effect for only irresponsible situation.


SB @ One Cent At A Time

Good statistics to get the perspective on the subject. I have got one ticket so far and that didn’t have any apparent impact to my premium though


From Shopping to Saving

Wow. I had no idea that a lot of those other tickets could play a role. That super sucks! I guess I gotta be more careful while driving…..


Paul @ The Frugal Toad

Had no idea tickets could increase your premiums by that much! Good thing I haven’t had a ticket since High School!


Jai Catalano

I haven’t gotten a ticket in a long while but when I was a youngen I would have to spend a lot on insurance because the tickets kept adding up to more insurance.



Those are some pretty painful numbers. I bet the numbers can get even worse if you went shopping for car insurance. Modest Money makes a good point in that each state in the US or country can have their own unique regulations on how scoring and pricing is done. In California, you are allowed to have one minor violation in a 3 year period to still be considered a good driver, which is supposed to provide preferential pricing.


Greg Fowler

It is interesting to note that many proclaim a traffic will not increase your insurance rates which I have relayed that is not true. The stats of reckless driving is higher than a DUI? I find that interesting, but I am sure the insurers raise it based on their process of actuary science. Also, it is interesting to note that many times if you are an older driver you could fly under the insurers radar with no increase particularly if you pay they dues on time to the DMV, etc and no other traffic violations from the recent past or about three years or more.


Gerald Vonberger

It’s really helpful to see all the percentages of increase in insurance rates you can expect with different offenses. The increases are pretty big all things considered. I’m definitely going to have to drive more carefully now and be especially careful with my speed. Speeding sounds like the easiest way to raise your insurance rate.


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