One of the reasons to fight a traffic ticket is the potential for increased insurance rates in the event of a conviction. While many clients want to know what they can expect to happen to their insurance if they are convicted, unfortunately we can never predict or speak in terms of an exact number. There really are too many factors at play, including the particular insurance company, your age, driving history, sex, type of car driven, where you park your car, etc. Thus, the best I am usually willing to offer is a vague but accurate statement–convictions for moving violations simply aren’t good for insurance.
I recently came across a study insurance.com completed last year. While there still is no way to predict exactly what will happen to insurance after a conviction for a moving violation, the study at least give some people an idea about the potential increases.
Insurance.com surveyed more than 32,000 auto insurance policies sold through their site in 2010 and found that costs jump a substantial 18 percent higher after one moving violation and a way more substantial 53 percent after three violations when compared to rates for drivers with no violations.
On average, drivers with no violations pay $1,119 annually for car insurance. By contrast, drivers with three violations pay $1,713.
Insurance.com analysis reveals the effect that moving violations have on the average auto insurance policy:
0 Violations – Average annual premium cost of $1,119
1 Violation – Average annual premium cost of $1,318, an 18 percent increase
2 Violations – Average annual premium cost of $1,497, a 34 percent increase
3 Violations – Average annual premium cost of $1,713, a 53 percent increase
Remember that these are annual increases. The increase might very well last 3 yrs or until the conviction(s) in question no longer are counted against you by the insurer.
Also remember to keep in mind how many other variables are in play. These statistics are averages based on the number of convictions, but each individual in the study lived in different places, drove different cars, were of different ages and were convicted on different violations. We can’t expect a conviction for failing to signal on a turn to be treated the same as reckless driving or a high speed in a work zone would be.
While the study does at least provide some baseline numbers to work off, the real conclusion is the same one we’ve been working with all along. Tickets are not good for insurance. Try not to get them. If you get them, it may very well be worth while to fight them and try to avoid or minimize conviction. If you are convicted, take a defensive driving class to help lessen the damage.
Scott Feifer, Esq.