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How much the tickets affect your insurance will vary depending on the type of tickets, your whole driving record, and other factors. There are also ways you can mitigate this increase.
More Tickets Means Higher Premiums
Perhaps the most important thing an insurance company uses when deciding how much to charge you for insurance is the amount of risk you represent as a client. How likely are they going to be to have to pay a claim stemming from you and your vehicles?
Since insurance companies don’t have a crystal ball to look into to tell them how much you are going to cost them, they use several factors that help indicate which clients are likely to be at higher risk.
One of these is your driving record. If you have already had several accidents, this indicates to the company that you routinely participate in risky driving behaviors and are likely to be filing similar claims in the future.
If you have had several traffic citations, this is also an indication of risky or illegal behavior. This is especially true if the tickets are for things like speeding, driving under the influence, having an open container in the car, running red lights, etc. These moving violations have a much more deleterious effect on your insurance than, say, a parking ticket.
How much a ticket will cost you will vary depending upon how many you’ve had in the last three to five years, the type of ticket, and by company. If you have too many tickets, some companies may not want to cover you any longer.
If this is the case for you, visit your state’s department of insurance site. Many states have programs to help cover high-risk drivers. For example, in Texas the program is called the Texas Automobile Insurance Plan Association (TAIPA).
If you get so many tickets that your license is revoked, you probably won’t be able to get insurance on yourself until you get your license reinstated.
Other Factors in Determining Insurance Cost
Though your driving record, including the number of tickets you have received, is an important consideration for insurance companies, it isn’t the only one. There are several other factors they use when determining your premium and any rate hikes.
Insurance companies look at your age and gender. Statistically men have more accidents than women do, so they typically pay a bit more. Young drivers pay the highest premiums of any other age group. Their rates don’t usually drop until they reach the age of 21 for females or 25 for males. This is assuming they have clean driving records. A 24-year-old male with several tickets probably won’t see a decrease at 25.
Insurance companies also consider where you live and your driving habits. If you live in a city with a high number of traffic accidents each day, you’ll probably pay more than if you lived in a small town or rural setting. If you commute every day, that costs more than someone who takes the subway routinely or works from home.
The kind of car you drive also plays are part in your insurance costs. Before buying a vehicle, call your insurance company and ask what your premium will be with this kind of car. If you are looking at a luxury or sports car, expect to be charged more than you would for most other cars.
Your credit score can affect your insurance premium. For more information about how insurers determine your premium, read Insure U’s Guide to Auto Insurance.
Take Defensive Driving
Even if you do receive a traffic ticket, there are a few ways you can help to reduce your higher premiums because of it. If you are given the option, rather than just paying for the ticket, take a defensive driving course. If your state allows it, taking this course will do three very good things:
It will keep the ticket from appearing on your driving record. If your state works on a point system that will keep you from accruing points from this infraction.
It will keep your insurance from going up because of the ticket and give you a discount. If the ticket never appears on your record, you’ll never receive a rate hike because of it. Besides this, most insurance companies will give you a discount for taking the course. If you apply what you learn, it can help you avoid getting more tickets in the future.
If you choose to take defensive driving, you’ll still have to pay court fees as well as the registration fee for the course. Most states will only allow you to take defensive driving once a year to dismiss a ticket. So if you get more than one ticket a year, it will only help so much.
Taking defensive driving courses is easier than ever these days.
Many states allow you to take them online, which makes them extremely convenient. Other businesses offer a combination of meals and a course with comedy flair, intended to make learning safety a fun experience.
Raise Your Deductible
Another way you can help reduce your premiums after receiving several tickets is to raise your deductible. If you have comp and collision on your insurance, the Insurance Information Institute says you can lower your premium by as much as 40% by raising your deductible to the $1,000 level.
The deductible only applies to the comp and collision portion of your insurance, so this won’t bring down your liability costs. The deductible is the portion of the repair you’ll have to cover before the insurance covers the rest of the cost. By agreeing to pay more of this out-of-pocket, the insurance companies reward you by not charging you so much.
If you want to bring down your costs even more, see if you can drop comp and collision altogether. If you are still paying on a car loan for the vehicle, then you won’t be able to drop them. The lender requires that you have this coverage for the life of the loan.
However, if you have an older car that is paid off, you might consider it dropping this coverage. Of course, this would mean you would get no money from the insurance company to help pay for repairs or to replace your car if you cause an accident. But if you can afford to cover this cost, then this can drastically cut your insurance bill.
Search for Extra Discounts
You can also go over your policy with your agent or a representative of the company to see if you are missing any discounts you’re eligible for. These discounts can help chip away at your high premium.
If you own a home or have renters insurance from a different company than your auto insurance, you are probably missing a big discount. Companies that offer both will give you a discount, usually a pretty hefty one, on both the home and car insurance if you buy both from them. The Federal Citizen Information Center (FCIC) says you can save anywhere from 5% to 15% on your homeowners insurance alone by combining them. You can also save hundreds on the car policy.
There are many other discounts available. If you are a high school or college student, see if your grades qualify for a good student discount. Make a list of safety features on your car. Then ask your agent if they can give you any discounts, especially for things like anti-lock brakes or an advanced airbag system.
Finally, you can also shop around to see if you can get rates any cheaper from other companies, even with multiple tickets on your record. There are many, many insurance companies in business these days, giving you many options in which to choose.
Since each company figures costs a bit differently, you’ll probably get a variety of prices when you get several quotes. Just be sure they are all giving quotes for the same level of insurance coverage so you can get a real idea of how much you’ll pay for the policy you need.
Whether you have several tickets on your record or not, experts suggest everyone re-evaluate their insurance once a year to make sure they have the coverage they need. This is also a good time to compare rates to see if you can get a better price elsewhere.
While this can take some time, it can be worth the savings. Of course, we make it easy to compare quotes. You only have to enter your information once, and we bring you several quotes in just seconds!
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