A former insurance producer, Laura understands that education is key when it comes to buying insurance. She has happily dedicated many hours to helping her clients understand how the insurance marketplace works so they can find the best car, home, and life insurance products for their needs.

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Leslie Kasperowicz holds a BA in Social Sciences from the University of Winnipeg. She spent several years as a Farmers Insurance CSR, gaining a solid understanding of insurance products, including home, life, auto, and commercial, and working directly with insurance customers to understand their needs. She has since used that knowledge in her more than ten years as a writer, mainly in the insuranc...

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Reviewed by Leslie Kasperowicz
Farmers Insurance CSR 4 Years

UPDATED: Oct 19, 2021

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Safety is the most important feature when purchasing a vehicle. Being issued a seatbelt violation can affect your car insurance premiums in a variety of negative ways that could require months to remedy.

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By practicing safe driving methods, including the easiest one of all, fastening your seatbelt, you can prevent your insurance payments from increasing. In some cases, you could even receive a decrease in policy premiums for a continued safe driving record. Of course, in many states, not wearing a seatbelt is not a primary offense meaning cops have to find another reason to pull you over. It’s not nearly as hard for them to catch you in another violation as you may think. The bottom line is one extra click when you get in your car could save you money if you get pulled over and on your insurance costs.

Why do insurance companies love seatbelts?

When motorists utilize their seatbelts, it is an advertisement that they are not only safety conscience, but they are respect the law. Seatbelt laws are nationwide and standard in all states. Click it or get a ticket is the well-known motto that has been around for many years.

Seatbelts were first mandated to be included in the production of all newly manufactured vehicles in the United States in 1968.

It was not until 1984 that the use of seatbelts became a government-mandated law. The first state to impose this law was New York.

Since that time, insurance companies have recognized that seatbelts have statistically proven to prevent serious injuries and fatalities. By offering lower premiums for using seatbelts, motorists have been incentivized to utilize this safety feature more often than those who do not.

Most importantly for insurers, seatbelts can save them money. When you wear a seatbelt, you can still be in an accident. You can also still get hurt. But seatbelts significantly reduce your risk of serious injuries or death. So they lower the risk of serious hospital bills that have to be paid by your insurance company. This makes not wearing your seatbelt a high risk activity that can increase your auto insurance rate.

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Are you responsible if your passengers don’t wear their seatbelts?

The driver of the vehicle is the person who is responsible for any and all events that pertain to the covered vehicle. That is why the driver must have some type of insurance safeguarding the vehicle and all of its passengers. States have differing laws. In driver’s ed, they’ll often tell you that you are responsible for your passengers and whether they wear their seatbelts.

If the driver is wearing his or her seatbelt but the passengers are not, the driver is the person responsible. If they are under age, you would receive the ticket. As passengers get older, some states will issue them the tickets. If you get a ticket, it doesn’t matter who wasn’t wearing their seatbelt. Your insurance premium could go up.

What if you don’t feel comfortable wearing a seatbelt or it restricts your ability to drive safely. There are a myriad of companies that produce seatbelt accessories for this specific problem. However, be sure to do a little research on the company and product before purchasing.

The Better Business Bureau (BBB) is a wonderful tool to utilize when trying to validate a company’s product like seatbelt extenders.

Seatbelt extenders are a common solution for motorists to give their seatbelts a better fit. This is common for shorter drivers. However, if that product is not up to snuff, it may not serve its intended purpose in the event of an accident. The BBB offers reviews and ratings of companies, such as this one regarding seatbelt extenders.

How much of an impact do seat belt violations have on your insurance rates?

Wearing a seatbelt is the law across the United States. There is no way around it. Every state has some type of punishment for those who dare to violate this law. Drivers are responsible for all passengers under the age of 18 years old to be properly seated and safely buckled in.

According to the Governors Highway Safety Association, seatbelt laws are divided into two categories: primary and secondary. The primary law states that police officers may detain and issue a ticket to a driver or passenger for not wearing their seatbelts without having any other traffic violations. The secondary law states that the police officer may only issue a seatbelt violation citation if it is in conjunction with another main traffic violation. For more information on this, visit their website.

Drivers and their passengers are required by law to be buckled into their seat when the vehicle is in motion. This also includes child safety seats. Failure to properly buckle in can lead to severe penalties. Since children cannot be held responsible for their own safety, the driver of the vehicle is. If the child is improperly fastened in or not in a seatbelt at all, the fines can be disastrous. Depending on their age and height, children must be buckled into car seats or booster seats.

The Insurance Information Institute (III) provides detailed information as well as videos that show the proper use of seatbelts for children. The improper fastening of a seatbelt on a child can lead to serious injury or even death. For more information on the proper use of seatbelts for children visit III’s website.

Do insurance companies get notices about your tickets?

Faster than the speed of light, it seems that insurance agencies know all of your naughty traffic mishaps before you do. There is no way to prevent your insurance carrier from knowing of your driving misdeeds.

By receiving a ticket for not wearing a seatbelt, the insurance agent assumes that you are not practicing safe driving techniques. This can and most often does lead to an increase in your premiums.

What you should know is simple. Any time you request an insurance quote, your new insurance company will request a copy of your driving record. So they’ll know about any tickets on your record. Your current insurance company will most likely not check your record unless you give them a reason to (such as not paying your premium on time). It costs them time and money every time they do it.

What happens if they do check your record? Some insurance companies take non-moving violations more seriously than others. Generally speaking, they will raise your rates for tickets if they see them.

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How effective are seatbelts at preventing serious injuries?

Insurance companies play the role of a bank when their customers have an accident. They pay for the damages that are incurred when you have the misfortune of being involved in an accident. The money you pay for your policy is used for payment of damages so that you do not have to suddenly pay out thousands of dollars at one time. You may think a seat belt ticket is just an inconvenience. Not wearing your seat belt could be much more serious than you may think, and not just for front-seat passengers.

Insurance agencies do not want to take risks without balancing it out even for a minor infraction. The lower risk you are to them, the less money you will need to pay for your policy. The higher the risk you appear to them, the higher your premiums will be.

By not wearing your seatbelt and being issued a ticket for it waves that horrible little red flag to your insurance company that you are not following mandated safety laws which bumps you into the category of high risk.

Do teen drivers increase your risk of accidents?

According to J. D. Powers, teenagers are the least likely drivers to use their seatbelts. This leads to a saddening statistic of teenage deaths that could have been prevented. A recent study showed that approximately 10% of teenage drivers admitted that they usually do not use their seatbelts.

Because teenage drivers have less driving experience and often fail to realize driving hazards, insurance rates are much higher. Policies that offer coverage to teenagers are more stringent because of the higher risk that they pose not only to themselves, but to other motorists as well.

Insurance rates are usually higher for males under the age of 25 simply because statistics show that younger males are involved in more accidents and typically do not use seatbelts. Males under 25 years old who reside in urban areas pay even higher rates due to the likeliness of being involved in an accident.

Any type of driving accident can be detrimental to all parties involved. But injuries that can be prevented from the use of seatbelts are unnecessary. They can lead to serious, and sometimes fatal, injuries that could possibly cost insurance companies thousands of dollars in damages.

Buckle Up and Save a Life

Even though this saying may be old and we have heard it more than a thousand times, it still rings true. By spending a few seconds clicking your seatbelt and being adamant that all passengers in your car do the same, you are not only protecting them but you are also being safety savvy by keeping your insurance premiums down.

When you do not wear your seatbelt, you may not be caught the first time or even the second time. But rest assured, somehow somewhere you will be caught and issued a citation.

Not only will you have to pay what could amount to a very steep seatbelt ticket, but your insurance company is guaranteed to be notified. The system is designed to hurt your wallet not only by mandating that you pay for the seatbelt ticket, but you will also have to deal with the long term effects of a spike in paying your insurance premiums for up to 12 months or longer.

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There is Hope for Seatbelt Violators

There is always a silver lining in bad situations. If you are fined for a lack of seatbelt usage, you will feel the effects of it through your car insurance premiums increasing. However, there is hope. If you do not receive any other traffic violations, you can always inquire with your insurance carrier to decrease your premiums based on your current safe driving record.

A decrease in your insurance premiums may not materialize immediately, but follow the safety regulations of the road and eventually your insurance carrier will recognize this. Prove that you have learned your lesson and are safety conscious, and you will be rewarded.

Even teen drivers can lower their insurance rates by establishing a clean driving record, which reflects a lack of traffic violations.

Establishing a good credit score can help to lower insurance rates for your future policies. Show that you are a responsible adult by driving safely, wearing your seatbelt, and avoiding traffic citations. Keep your credit score clean and even teenage drivers can qualify for car insurance discounts.

To get your free quotes on auto insurance, simply enter your ZIP code in the FREE toolbox found on this page to begin saving today!