How Traffic Violations Really Affect Your Auto Insurance Rate

When applying for car insurance, one of the most important questions you’ll receive from the company is, “Have you had a violation in the past # of years?” For some companies, it may be five years and for others three, but no matter what, if you check “yes” next to that question, you are probably biting your nails in anticipation of what your car insurance quote will be.

Since many people don’t conduct comparison quotes to determine whether a violation has increased their rate or not, it’s hard to say whether it makes a huge difference. But some say, yes, moving violations make a huge difference.

Study Shows Moving Violations Makes Rates Jump

A study conducted by in May 2011 found that after surveying 32,000 auto insurance policies sold through the website in 2010, the auto insurance quotes jumped significantly with each moving violation.

Here is a breakdown of the website’s analysis:

  • 0 violations: Average annual premium $1,119
  • 1 violation: Avg. premium $1,318 (18 percent increase)
  • 2 violations: Avg. premium $1,497 (34 percent increase)
  • 3 violations: Avg. premium $1,713 (53 percent increase)

The difference in premium costs makes it apparent that moving violations are significant when obtaining a car insurance quote.

What exactly constitutes a moving violation? Here are some examples:

  • Running a red light
  • Speeding ticket
  • Driving under the influence of drugs or alcohol
  • Improper passing
  • Reckless driving
  • Making an unsafe U-turn
  • Failure to use a child restraint
  • Failure to yield or stop at a sign
  • Fleeing from the police
  • Driving the wrong way down a street or divided highway

The fact that even one speeding ticket could mean a $200 jump in your rates is enough to get on the right track while on the road. But what do you do if you already have violations on your driving record but still want to avoid the high cost of coverage?

Lowering Car Insurance Rates with Moving Violations

So have you committed one or more driving violations within the past few years but are still hoping to get your hands on some affordable coverage? It’s not impossible. In fact, there are some options that could help lower your rates more than you think.

1. Discounts: One great way to take the edge off of costly premiums is to look for auto insurance discounts. You could snag discounted rates for everything from having an automatic seat belt and anti-lock brakes to working a specific profession or taking a driving class. Inquire with insurance companies about their discounts. You might be surprised by how much you could save.

2. Pay-as-you-drive Insurance: Pay-as-you-drive (PAYD) insurance is another option to consider because it charges policyholders based on their driving behaviors in the present, not in the past. Depending on the company you work with, you may be asked to install a tracking device into your car to monitor how often your drive, how many miles you’re driving and what your driving habits are in general. Some companies apply discounts to current coverage using this system while others use your driving habits as a basis for determining premiums. Either way, some find this route to be a much less expensive option.

3. Buy High-Risk Auto Insurance: A third option is to purchase high-risk auto insurance. This coverage applies to people who have a poor driving record or other circumstances that make them appear to be a risk to insurance companies. While this type of coverage is inherently more expensive the standard coverage, you might work with the insurance agent to see if there are some discounts you could take advantage of to lower the premium.

Of course, the best way to apply for auto coverage is to not have any moving violations at all, especially now that you see that they do indeed make a difference. But if you have to have any on your record, it’s good to know that there may be ways to lower your rates.

Stacey Bumpus started writing as a youngster, creating little fun newsletters to distribute to her elementary school friends. But it wasn’t until she completed her bachelors and masters degrees in communication that she realized her fun pastime could become a career.

After spending years in corporate communications, she discovered that freelancing was her cup of tea and fell in love with finding the latest financial news. Now, providing news and tips about taxes, mortgages, banking and even logging her efforts to save toward retirement, she’s not only fulfilling her childhood passion, but also helping others manage their finances responsibly.