Not All Traffic Tickets Go on Record
The only ticket you can get slapped with and forget about after you’ve paid the fine is a parking ticket.
Other tickets have the potential to hit you twice: the stress and fines associated with getting the ticket and the potential affect it can have on insurance premiums.
Remember that laws vary from state to state and that there isn’t a “master” list of tickets that will get you noticed by your insurance company. Every ticket written isn’t reported to the insurance company right away and each ticket affects insurance premiums in different ways.
So when should you worry and when can you rest easy? While we’ve provided some examples to guide you, never assume anything after you get a ticket. The internet research you pull isn’t always right so it’s typically best to call your insurance provider before jumping to conclusions.
Tickets That Get Noticed
- A moving violation is typically a more serious offence than a nonmoving violation. By the same token, several nonmoving violations over a short period of time could catch an insurer’s attention as much as one large moving offence.
- More than one speeding ticket in three years.
- If you’ve caused an accident.
- Racing other cars.
- If you drive without proper insurance.
- Driving with a license that is revoked or in suspension.
- Fleeing from the police (should be a no-brainer).
- If you drive the wrong way on the interstate or on a one-way street.
- Tickets You May Pay and Forget
- Your first speeding ticket.
- If you drive in an HOV lane.
- If you drive with an expired license.
- Driving with a restricted license (driving at night, even though you’re restricted to daytime driving).
- Caught without a seatbelt.
- Driving with expired tags.
- Driving when the car’s condition could impair driving (broken taillight, cracked window, loud exhaust, etc).
- Driving with unsecured loads.
- Littering while you’re behind the wheel.
Your Driving History Follows You for Better or for Worse
While every insurance company has different policies regarding first tickets, many tend to go the more forgiving route on first time offences as well as other out of the ordinary moving violations.
Most insurance policies come up for renewal every six months, which is why insurers will typically check your record around the same time. Violations stay on driving records for about three years (although this may vary state-to-state). If you speed and get caught but your rates don’t seem to spike right away, be forewarned that it could happen anytime within three years of the incident.
Tickets Related to Cell Phone Usage
While many states can ticket you for talking or texting while you’re driving, not all insurance providers will penalize you for these kinds of violations. Dealing with these kinds of infractions is still new to insurers as they gain experience. As texting and talking while driving becomes in illegal offence in more and more states, insurers are certain to treat these kinds of violations more seriously in the future.
California is a state that tickets drivers for talking or texting while driving but those tickets don’t carry any points. Most states use a points system to keep an eye on people’s driving history. Points accumulate when drivers get ticketed for more serious offences like moving violations or causing accidents. A version of the points system is used by insurance providers to determine your insurance rates.