Traffic Tickets Don't Usually Lead to Higher Car Insurance Costs


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SAN FRANCISCO--Feb. 20, 2013 -- Only 31% of Americans who received a traffic ticket in the past five years are paying more for car insurance as a result, according to new research released today by InsuranceQuotes.com, a Bankrate company.

Younger drivers are the most likely to face higher car insurance costs after receiving a traffic ticket. Forty-one percent of 18-29 year-olds reported higher car insurance premiums after a ticket versus 32% of 30-49 year-olds and 15% of those 50 and older. The most common increase is under $100 per year.

InsuranceQuotes.com attributes this to the fact that younger drivers, already perceived as riskier than their older counterparts, face more scrutiny from insurance carriers. Most carriers check young drivers' motor vehicle reports every six months, whereas many carriers do not regularly check older drivers' records.

Laura Adams, senior insurance analyst at InsuranceQuotes.com, offers the following strategies for limiting the impact of a traffic ticket:

  • Attend traffic safety school to wipe points off your driving record and improve your driving skills
  • Consult an attorney, especially if you have accumulated several points
  • Avoid getting an additional ticket, since many insurance carriers allow one minor moving violation every three to five years
  • Keep your vehicle registration, license plates and state inspection up to date so that you don't draw extra attention from law enforcement officials

Of course, some tickets are more serious than others. Insurance Quotes found that offenses such as driving under the influence of drugs or alcohol, reckless driving and leaving the scene of an accident almost always result in higher premiums. Sometimes, a carrier will even drop the offending driver's coverage entirely. People who commit several smaller violations are also more likely to face higher car insurance costs.

The survey was conducted by Princeton Survey Research Associates International (PSRAI) and can be seen in its entirety here: Traffic Tickets

PSRAI obtained telephone interviews with a nationally representative sample of 1,000 adults living in the continental United States. Telephone interviews were conducted by landline (500) and cell phone (500, including 243 without a landline phone). Interviews were done in English by Princeton Data Source from January 31 to February 3, 2013. Statistical results are weighted to correct known demographic discrepancies. The margin of sampling error for the complete set of weighted data is plus or minus 3.5 percentage points.

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