Drivers with traffic tickets could pay a lot more in auto insurance premiums than drivers without tickets.
Insurance companies base your auto insurance premiums on a number of factors, including your driving record, which shows how many traffic tickets you may have received. If you have even one ticket, your insurance company may decide to raise your rates because you're now perceived as an unsafe driver and a higher risk. If you get too many tickets your policy could get cancelled by your auto insurer and you could be put into an extremely expensive insurance pool for high-risk drivers, according to the Insurance Information Institute.
The effect of a ticket on your auto insurance rates depends on a number of factors, including the laws of your state, the laws of the state where you were ticketed, your insurance company's policies and your accident history. If you're ticketed within your home state, for example, the violation usually will go right onto your driving record. If the moving violation is not too serious _ you were speeding less than 10 miles an hour over the posted speed limit, for example – the state may wipe ticket from your record and your insurer would never know about the ticket.
Most states now report the tickets that they write to drivers' home states, so being from out of town may not save you from increased insurance premiums, according to Esurance.
If you do get a ticket, you may be able to limit the overall financial impact (fines and increased premiums) by contesting it in traffic court. If you have a good driving record, the judge might be willing to let you plead down the charge --10 mph over the speed limit instead of 20 mph, for example. That would probably mean a less dramatic increase in your insurance rates.
You also might see whether your state offers the option of going to traffic school as a way of keeping points off your driving record. Even if you have to pay for the school, it may cost you less in the long run than paying higher auto insurance rates.
Of course, the best option of all is to avoid getting a ticket in the first place. Edmunds recommends refraining from behaviors that are red flags to traffic cops:
• Don't go over the speed limit. • Avoid using cellphones behind the wheel. Thanks to state distracted driving laws, cops are on the lookout for improper cellphone use. • Keep a good distance away from other cars, and don't change lanes erratically. • Obey traffic laws. Make a complete stop at stop signs and red lights, signal lane changes and keep your mind on your driving to avoid attracting a cop's unwelcome attention.