Money Matters: Study finds traffic tickets don't spike insurance price

Reported by: Brittany Price
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Updated: 3/06/2013 10:41 am
Getting slammed with a speeding ticket in Texas costs a driver about $150 out-of-pocket on average.

It's a situation many drivers have been faced with. Encountering the lights, the sirens and the pricey ticket.

The next fear is thinking about how much it will increase insurance costs.

"Many people assume if you get a violation you're immediately going to get higher premiums, but that's not true," Doug Whiteman, Bankrate.com Insurance Analyst said. 

Whiteman said Bankrate.com's recent study reveals surprising news. Only 31 percent of Americans who received a traffic ticket in the past five years are paying more for car insurance as a result.

"They don't keep constant tabs on your driving record as many people might think. It can be kind of expensive and kind of time-consuming," Whiteman added. 

Whiteman noted research shows a driver's age impacts the consequence.

"Fifteen percent of motorists who were 50 years or older saw higher insurance costs as a result of a traffic ticket," Whiteman said.

While 41 percent of 18 to 29-year-olds did report higher premiums after a violation.

"We do find that for drivers in their 20's, especially under 25, the insurance companies do tend to keep tabs on their driving records because those motorists are seen as more of a risk," Whiteman said. 

Whiteman said for all ages there are strategies to limit the financial impact.

Number one, avoid getting an additional ticket.

"In fact if you have multiple violations those do add up and you are more likely to see higher insurance costs as a result," Whiteman said. 

Second, attend a traffic safety course to wipe points off your driving record.

"That might show your insurance company that you're willing to improve," Whiteman said.

Also, consider staying with your current provider. 

"If you decide to jump to another insurance company that new company may in fact look up your driving record before giving you a policy while your current insurance company may not be as likely to do that," Whiteman said. 

While Bankrate.com's study found minor traffic tickets don't raise insurance costs premiums for most driver, major offenses like driving under the influence of drugs or alcohol almost always result in higher premiums.

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