How Much Does My Car Insurance Go Up If I Get A Traffic Ticket?

Car Accident insurance going up

The first thing I did when I got home after receiving a speeding ticket was call my car insurance company to find out how much my car insurance premiums would go up. Interestingly, they couldn't give me a straight answer.

If I get convicted and don't go to traffic school, I will receive one point on my driving record for the 10 mph over the speed limit violation.

When I asked my USAA car insurance agent for specifics, she kept on ducking the answer. For all of you who have received a traffic ticket or will get one, this post should help give you a good idea of what's at stake when it comes to car insurance premiums going up.

Traffic Tickets Don't Hit Your Record Immediately

Let's say you got a traffic ticket this morning. Your car insurance company isn't notified today. The insurance company might not even be notified for six months. This means your car insurance will stay the same for quite a while after the violation.

Your auto insurance company is notified after the ticket is processed and resolved. If you fight your ticket, you'll have to set up a court date.

There might be some delays or extensions in the court date for whatever reason. Even after the verdict is done, it takes time for the court to process the violation. Thank goodness for government inefficiency in this case!

Besides the time it takes for your car insurance company to get notified for your violation, insurance companies generally renew every 6 months.

Let's say your renewal date is June 30th and you get a ticket on July 1st. Even if your July 1st ticket is resolved in one month on August 1st, your new auto insurance premium rate won't kick in until January 1st next year.

So theoretically, if you are trying to save money you can attempt to keep delaying your hearing date to the maximum extent of the law.

How To Keep Your Car Insurance Low If You Get A Ticket

It takes about three weeks after getting pulled over to get a traffic ticket by mail in California where I live. If you're also a resident and haven’t attended traffic school in CA in the past 18 months, and your ticket says you are eligible to attend traffic school, you can go – either online or in person.

Online is generally much faster (4 hours) vs. in person (8 hours) because you can read faster than the instructor can speak. In addition, you don't have to commute to a destination or risk getting sick. Or worse, get another traffic ticket while driving to traffic school!

If you don’t get a notice within three weeks of the ticket, the law says that it’s your responsibility to call the traffic court that issued the citation and ask for one.

You’ll still have to go to the court and pay a fee and maybe a fine before attending traffic school. Plus you've got to also make sure you go to a DMV-approved traffic school. Going online is definitely the more efficient way to go.

Related: How Much Car Insurance Do You Really Need?

Traffic School Solution For 1 Point Tickets

Traffic school is generally an option for people with a minor violation, i.e. less than 2 points. An example of a two point violation is going 20 mph over the speed limit, or getting a DUI.

Let's say you already went to traffic school within the past 18 months and get another minor violation ticket. You can still go to court and put in a special request to go to traffic school.

The whole point is to keep your car insurance rates as low as possible and prevent a suspension of your drivers license. Each state has a different traffic school system, so check accordingly.

But before you go to traffic school, you need to also ask yourself how much is your time worth. Perhaps the 4-8 hours for traffic school could be better used to produce something of greater value than the cost of the increased car insurance premium from your ticket.

Or, you might strongly prefer to spend 4-8 hours with your children or ailing grandparent. Put a value on your time before going to traffic school.

Points Don't Last Forever On Your Driving Record

Each state has a different point and driving record system. In California, points stay on your record for three years and then drop off. If you get a DUI in California, the violation lasts for 10 years.

What you need to calculate is the probability you will get another point within the record period. At some point, your license will be suspended if you get too many points in a certain time period.

In California, if you accumulate 4 points in a period of 12 months, your license will be suspended for 6 months. In addition, you will also be on probation for 1 year. Both your suspension and probation will come into effect 34 days after you receive your Order of Probation/Suspension in the mail.

Related: Car Insurance Basics Everyone Should Know

How Fast Do Points Fall Off Your Driving Record By State

Below is a list of all 50 states with the amount of time it takes for the points to fall off. The source is, the happiest place in America, terms subject to change.

Alabama: Two years.

Alaska: Two points are reduced for every year of violation-free driving.

Arizona: Three years.

Arkansas: Three years.

California: Three years.

Colorado: Two years.

Connecticut: Two years.

Delaware: Two years.

Florida: Three years.

Georgia: Two years.

Hawaii: No point system.

Idaho: Three years.

Illinois: No point system.

Indiana: Two years.

Iowa: No point system.

Kansas: No point system.

Kentucky: Two years.

Louisiana: No point system.

Maine: One year.

Maryland: Three years.

Massachusetts: Six years.

Michigan: Two Years.

Minnesota: No point system.

Mississippi: No point system.

Missouri: Eighteen months.

Montana: Three years.

Nebraska: Two years.

Nevada: One year.

New Hampshire: Three years.

New Jersey: Three points deducted for every year of driving violation free.

New Mexico: One year.

New York: 18 months.

North Carolina: Three years.

North Dakota: Three years; however, one point is deducted for every three-months of violation-free driving.

Ohio: Three years.

Oklahoma: Points reduced to zero if you drive three-consecutive years without a violation.

Oregon: No point system. Pennsylvania: Three points removed for every 12 months of violation-free driving.

Pennsylvania: For each 12 months you drive without getting a violation that results in points, a suspension, or a revocation, the state will trim 3 points from your record. 

Rhode Island: No point system.

South Carolina: Two years.

South Dakota: Complicated system, but points do begin falling off after 12 months.

Tennessee: Two years. Texas: Three years.

Utah: Two years, provided you maintain a spotless driving record.

Vermont: Two years.

Virginia: Two years

Washington: No point system. Washington D.C.: Two years.

West Virginia: Two years.

Wisconsin: Five years.

Wyoming: No point system. 

Calculate Your Estimated Car Insurance Premium Increase

My speeding ticket for going 35 mph in a 25 mph zone was for $234. When I asked my USAA car insurance agent what would happen to my $285 every six month premium, she said, “It's hard to tell. But most certainly the biggest hit to your wallet will be the ticket, and not the premium increase, if any.”

I currently have a good driver's discount of $85 per six months and another good operator discount of $35 per six months. The agent said that since I haven't had any tickets in five years, my good driver's discount would remain.

She then said I'm allowed one, 1-point ticket every three years to retain my $35 good operator discount. So in other words, I will continue to receive a $120 discount every six months.

Related: How To Save Lots Of Money On Car Insurance

Example: USAA car insurance premium increase for a traffic ticket

I proceeded to ask my USAA car insurance agent what about the premium price increase itself due to the traffic ticket. She said that it's hard for her to say.

Next, she said I won't know for another six months at least because my premium renewal is coming due soon, and I haven't even gotten the ticket notification in the mail.

She said my premium *might* adjust upward a little bit for the ticket, but perhaps not at all based on my record. When I pressed her on a percentage increase from the cases she's seen, she wouldn't corroborate. But, she seemed to nod that a 5%-10% increase in premium was in the ball park.

In other words, my 6-month premium might go up from $285 to $300 – $314 every six months. That's $58 a year.

$58 X 3 years (the length a point stays on a CA driving record) = $174. But points lose their strength after each year. So perhaps the real cost over three years is $150 instead of $174.

Now I compare $174 to the cost of my time for attending driving school (4-8 hours) and the time and penalties for going to court and losing (3-5 hours + penalty for losing) to see whether everything is worth it or not.

Car Insurance & Traffic Tickets: Put Things In Perspective

Everybody seems to focus on the cost of insurance going up as the big repercussion of getting a ticket. The real costs are an accident, injury or death.

And then finally an increase in car insurance premiums if you aren't a repeat offender within a specified window. If you do have a history of getting tickets, then the implications will be much costlier.

Because city and county governments all around our country mismanage programs, they are starving for as much revenue as possible. When you spend $6 billion dollars MORE than proposed to re-build the Bay Bridge, it's easy to see why cops are on overdrive writing tickets.

Finally, it's always good to shop around for car insurance right after you get a ticket. Why? Because this is when your existing car insurance company might hit you up with higher premiums.

New auto insurance companies looking to win your business have a higher incentive of forgiving your ticket if you go with them.

Related posts:

Your Homeowners Insurance Policy Likely Needs To Be Updated

Get An Umbrella Policy To Protect Your Wealth

How To Get Cheaper Car Insurance

Check out AllState, one of the most popular online auto insurance companies to find the lowest prices. AllState has been around forever and provide the best rates.

I recommend you at least get a competing car insurance quote so that if your existing auto insurance company really tries to jack you, you've got a competitive bid to make sure they don't.

Photo credit: One day this picture I took will win an award. Look at the emotion of the fella sitting on the ground after wrecking his $500,000 Porsche Carrera GT. He was going 70 mph in a 25 mph zone and lost control. FS.

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50 thoughts on “How Much Does My Car Insurance Go Up If I Get A Traffic Ticket?”

  1. Kathleen Caulfield

    Thanks for all the info. Helped enormously. I am frantic about this as I travel extensively but have a clean record however points are costly and last 3 years. It’s not the price of the ticket but the pain that endures. My ticket is in a small town in Wyoming and will be appearing. Since I know this is revenue based am going to ask if I could pay the fine amount on another non traffic related plea. Has anyone done this?

  2. San Francisco parks are a popular place to get tickets without expecting them. Not coming to a complete stop, parking an inch into the red zone, you name it. I’ve been hit with tickets in Golden Gate Park and in my neighborhood when I forgot about street cleaning. Street cleaning is SO random in SF that you have to check signs wherever you go. I didn’t notice a considerable increase in my premiums after I got my tickets, but I’ll be sure to watch closely going forward now!

  3. Queens, NYC. I got a 16 MPH over speeding ticket in 2015, with no other accidents or tickets for over 20 years. Top tier credit for over 10 years. That single ticket increased my insurance premium $1100 per 6 months ($658 to $1764). Insurance companies look back 5 years from date of conviction (not the offense date). Do the math. That’s $11,000 (thousand) over 5 years. On an otherwise spotless credit/driving history. That’s robbery, plain and simple. I’m waiting for a fender bender. Ambulance, lawsuit, settlement. I will feel no shame walking into the ambulance chasers office with “soft tissue injuries”.

  4. Brooklyn, NYC –> I got a moving violation ticket in 2014. (Improper passing.) I did not plead guilty until late summer of 2015. When I pleaded guilty to “improper passing” 3 points right away went onto my driver record. Upon renewal of my insurance policy the premium went up with $450/6 months. (LexisNexis Risk Solutions & Explore Information Services LLC – some kind of data mining agencies – handed over my data to my insurance agency.)
    Because of a 3 points of moving violation my insurance premium jumped over 30%! For 39 months I have to pay higher insurance premium. (In the past I had only no-fault accidents and excellent credit score without any premium increase.)
    If you have a chance do not pay your fines right away. Do not plead guilty. Clog the courts. Adjourn as many times as you can and keep clean driving record. In worst case scenarios -cell ticket, speeding- get a lawyer. (The lawyers fee is approx. $150-200.) A lawyer can help you to dismiss your cell ticket,…etc.

    1. I agree. It’s never about money but the record. I recently got a ticket while I was driving the only car in the road. Probably get an attorney for this. I had clean record for 3 years.

  5. In MA, no tickets for 10+ years. Received a speeding ticket, my rate went up 40%! I’m looking at approx. $3900. over 6 years. What a joke, not a funny one!

  6. Pingback: How To Not Get Pulled Over For A Traffic Ticket: Race And Sex Matter! | Financial Samurai

  7. Been driving legally since early March 2015, just went with Geico auto insurance. (left my parents Nationwide policy).
    Anyways, I was stuck in traffic due to a wreck on the freeway (Not a good morning for me as I was having stomach issues). Finally got off the freeway (now 23 minutes late to work) and saw an open road. I shifted and was soon reached 78 (in a 40…). It is a road I never take so unfamiliar with hiding places for the cops… To give you a picture it’s a 2011 Mustang GT (Kona Blue, 6 speed with a 5.0 Coyote) so it is fun to open it up every now and then. Saw a black Tahoe fly up behind me, I immediately knew…. Pulled over, went threw the usual “What is your emergency?” and let him know. I haven’t gotten the insurance paper since I just enrolled with Geico a week earlier (parents don’t share the mailbox key) so I got the citation and failure to maintain financial responsibility… I ended up being 41 minutes late to work…. 41 MINUTES!
    After reading this article it seems my insurance may not go up until the new year. But what I am currently worried about is the ticket cost for speeding and any other “negatives” that are coming along with this… Right now monthly insurance is $385 (I am 19 with a 412HP car) so I assume it will jump up to $450+….

    Yes, I pay for my own stuff.
    Any helpful comments about the ticket This will be my first so I need some help and I’d rather my parents not know for a few years….?

  8. I got a ticket for 25 over, on the interstate. my ticket is $445 the TEP class is $280.. but i have a baby who breatfeeds that i’ve never left except for once- which I didn’t leave her she just couldn’t see me for twenty minutes and she has extremly severe seperation anxiety.. my ticket was 6 points.. how much will it increase my insurance? and even if I did the TEP would it benefit my insurance or not?

  9. John Florez

    Ok so I have insurance thru USAA, my son is under my insurance and recieved two speeding tickets, my question is how much more do I have to pay a month?

  10. Hi there – now that you’ve probably received your new premium quote – what ended up happening to your rate? I just got a moving violation in NV (I live in CA), already did traffic school only 6 months ago, so am trying to figure out if I try to hire an attorney to fight it down to a “parking ticket” (I heard that can be possible) or just pay it and roll the dice on what happens with my premium. I’m also curious – if I call my insurance company to ask the these questions, aren’t I admitting that I got a ticket, and can they use that info to change my premium?


    1. I ended up going to dang online traffic school, so nothing happened to my new premium quote b/c my ticket was expunged.

      I paid something like $220 at the end of the day (and 1 hour of my time online)

  11. debs @ debtdebs

    Great information provided here, Sam. Interesting about the insurance impact taking so long to catch up, but it stands to reason. Have you decided if you are going to fight the ticket or not?

    1. I’ve decided to fight it by dropping by court and making an appointment. I got the notice in the mail. I want to go through the experience, present a case to the judge, and write about it. It’ll be fun!

  12. Wow I didn’t realize a lot of things you highlighted in this post. Insurance can be so tricky and man so can parking signs in SF! I misread one once (boy did I feel stupid after that) and got dinged a bad fine. So now I’m super paranoid about parking signs. There are weird rules about driving around cable cars and trams so always best to err on the side of caution to avoid tickets esp since more transit cameras are getting installed. Hard to fight a ticket in court if you get caught on camera.

  13. Presumably you’re not paying for collision too?

    And man Washington is looking better by the minute. High quality of living, no income tax, low crime, no point system!? Does that mean their rates always stay the same or are they just higher in general, I wonder?

  14. I always take traffic school! California has high enough rates without a point or two. Now you can even take it online. Same number of hours, but you can do it on your time.

  15. I’ve never had a speeding ticket but I’ve defended a couple of them in court back in my lawyering days. By a couple, I mean exactly 2. Both for my wife unfortunately. Not only did I not get paid for my legal expertise, I also had to pay the tickets to clear them up.

    The first one didn’t cost us anything on insurance, just the $150 or so in fine and court fees. In North Carolina, you get a freebie if you plead to 9 mph over the speed limit, and it doesn’t hit your insurance. You can almost always plead to a “9 over” as long as you weren’t doing anything crazy like 30+ mph over, or DWI or severe speeding in a school zone or work zone.

    The second one took a while to hit the insurance for some reason. We pled it down to the least possible (9 over again) and it was a few points on her (our, really) insurance score. Our 6 month premiums went up from $250 or so to $450. Can’t recall if it was for 6 months or a year, but at some point the first ticket fell off the insurance record (3+ years passed) and we were down to only one ticket on the record and back to our $250-275 per 6 months insurance.

    In our case, the insurance is really what costs a lot of money and not the tickets themselves (at least after the first one). Get multiple tickets and the insurance rates go up exponentially (or you get dropped from coverage).

    It really varies by state, and even by county. The next county over is pretty slack and let you plead to “improper equipment” which carries no insurance points. Not the case in our county with a more strict District Attorney.

    1. Wow, that is a large jump to $450 from $250. Sounds like the time and effort was not worth it in the end. Interesting to note you have a plead of 9 over. Given they say I was going 35 in a 25, I can’t imagine them denying my “please” of 9 over. I was going with the flow of traffic during rush hour 6:45pm. I’m not constantly checking my speedometer, especially since I wasn’t speeding in the first place.

  16. My insurance has never gone up from a ticket, and at one time, I got a lot of them. The only thing that I’ve ever had impact my premium were collision claims.

    An insurer can’t raise your rates for a comprehensive claim (i.e. windshield replacement) but it is a factor used against you when you shop for new insurance.

    Also, generally, it’s up to insurance companies to pull your driving record and with many policies, they don’t bother. At least in my state, there is no automatic insurance notification. Underwriting would have to pull your driving record at renewal and decide that you were a higher risk. Usually that only happens if you’ve already had another collision claim because they do not review most policies every 6 months.

    1. Insurance companies actually do pull your driving record. I know this from first hand experience, I worked for Allstate in my younger years. I was doing work for the underwriting department. I saw plenty of files with driving records.

      1. My mother and I worked for State Farm, but each insurance company operates differently. It also depended on what risk rating you got coming in. If you had a mutual policy, which I did, they never pulled it. All I know is that my rates should have increased and I never was rated for a ticket.

    2. That’s pretty amazing your premiums never increased during the time you got multiple tickets. Why do you think that is?

      Now I think there’s no way in heck my insurance premium will go up since I haven’t had a ticket in 8 years.

      1. You’re probably fine, especially with only one infraction. If not, the lovely people in your insurers underwriting department would make the adjustment.

        As for my tickets, we are talking at least 1 a year but a couple of years ago, I got 2 in 5 days (I then slowed down). I have had none in over 2 years.

        My insurance company broke policies down by tiers, mutual and star with a number of stars if I remember correctly. They just didn’t monitor traffic violations for their top tier clients. I suppose that’s another reason to have good credit! My Mom worked for the insurance company longer than I did but my experience was the norm for my policy and for hers, as she and my father also are/were fast drivers.

        I got my two tickets in 5 days out of state but both were listed as reporters. I have Progressive now and have seen my claim record but they did not rate me based on tickets. They did rate me for the comprehensive claims.

        All insurance companies are different though. AllState could definitely be more picky about tickets. I guess that’s a consideration when shopping for insurance, that or slow down. ;) Like I’m one to talk

        1. I think so too. My biggest thing is experiencing the traffic court system and fighting the $250 ticket. As a writer, I want to know what it’s like so I can help others who will go through the same situation as me.

  17. Good to know! I’m now super motivated never to get a ticket! Somehow, Mr. FW, Frugal Hound, and I all have perfect driving records. None of us has ever gotten a ticket (miraculously, if you ask me). I think it might be partly due to the fact that we don’t drive all that frequently. Hope I didn’t just jinx us…

  18. Thanks for sharing this story with us. The real answer is that no one knows how car insurance is adversely affected after a ticket. The insurance industry as a whole is a quasi-statistical/fantasy algorithm that only few insiders really know about. The same reason gas prices are different everywhere you look and airline seats all have different prices. I can see why your insurance agent never gave you a true black / white answer. They couldn’t.

  19. Sam,

    I was sort of thinking that you were speaking some weird foreign language with the “point system” gibberish, then I saw your list of states.

    In my state (Illinois), drivers are issued a citation on the spot, and your driver’s license (the card itself) is taken by the officer. So, your driver’s license is now the traffic ticket until you either go to court or pay your fine.

    Basically, they hold your driver’s license for ransom.

    1. Impressive! So what happens if you get pulled over again after getting pulled over? HOpefully the previous officer has logged into the system that you are in this grey zone for a while and they have a record, and there’s not double fines or whatever.

      Pennsylvania is super relaxed. 6 point a year before needing to write a written note of apology of some sort. And points come off every year, instead of 3 years like in CA.

      1. Well if you get pulled over, shortly after the first citation, and hand the officer your traffic ticket instead of your driver’s license, I’m certain you won’t be let off with a warning!

        The best thing to do is to simply go to court if you have the time. Most often the judge will simply put on “court supervision” and issue a smaller fine, provided that you have a relatively clean driving record. And with court supervision, your state record will never show a traffic violation.

        The next best thing is to go to the court house at your convenience and buy your license back by paying traffic fine. But this would go on your driving record and may affect your insurance rates at some point.

      2. A side note: In the olden days (when I was a teenager), the police officer would actually staple your driver’s license to the court paperwork.

        So you got your driver’s license back from the court with staple holes in it. This would be quite the tip off to the next police officer whom pulled you over!

  20. I would not recommend shopping for auto insurance after a ticket to save premium. Nor do I recommend having the cheapest auto insurance as possible. You also want service and you want to know your insurer will pay. If you are fortunate to have USAA or access to it – use them. Not only are they usually the cheapest, but their service is impeccable. The last thing you want is to have to fight with your insurer when you really need it. If you do the small premium savings will be immaterial. So if you are willing to change insurer just to save a few premium dollars, perhaps you don’t have the right insurer anyway.

    Besides I find that once you start looking at things like that, the time spent in choosing and switching is way more than you thought. Better to just take a driver’s ed course.

    1. In negotiations, it’s ALWAYS good to have leverage. Hopefully your car insurance company won’t screw you, but just in case, it’s important to have another quote so that if they try, you can go back with conviction and say “nuh, uh.”

      It’s the same thing with negotiating a salary and/or promotion. Those who don’t get paid, “trust the system.” Those who get paid actively stay on top of the market and get verbal and written bids away every couple of years.

      You need to know the alternatives, otherwise, how will you ever know for sure you’re getting a great deal?

  21. I think people in general vastly overestimate (in their minds) the harm done by a single ticket. If you are a serial offender, that may be something else. But the vast majority of us only get tickets occasionally – maybe once every 5 years on average (if that). I would (a) take a driver’s ed course online – do it while watching a favorite show/movie, (b) hire an attorney who in my experience costs less than the ticket and can do all the work for you, or (c) just pay the ticket and move on. Don’t overthink it. If you are super busy at the time, then do (b) or (c). I live in Texas. In Texas, these are fairly easy to deal with. Other states may differ.

  22. I like the state by state comparison, good information. I have never gotten a speeding ticket, but that doesn’t mean that I don’t speed sometimes (I normally go 35mph on a 25mph zone), but I guess I’ve been lucky or my state is not looking to hand out tickets like candy.

    1. Good question. You’ve got to go by the State rules where you got the ticket wrt to penalties and going to court. But I think your driving record will get marked based on your state of DMV registration.

  23. Great analysis! Too many people try to save money just for the sake of saving money without thinking about the value of their time.

    Speaking of insurance, the Diablo only costs $900 a year to insure. I could not believe that! My insurance is American family and I am sure my multicast discount helps. Always try to have all your insurance in the same place to get those discounts.

  24. Jay @

    Great info on the state by state rundown. You had a post a few weeks ago where I commented that I had an absurdly high fine due to double fining which was somehow legal in GA. I moved to a big city shortly after and sold my car thus cancelling my insurance! That’s how you beat the system!


  25. Sam, Thanks for the timely post! I just recently had a friend who went through this and it put her into a tailspin. Really enjoy your posts!

    1. Sure, no problem! I hope it helps your friend. My finding is that unless s/he is a repeat offender, s/he shouldn’t worry too much. S/he can always shop around too as the space is really competitive.

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