From DUI to Speeding: The Effect of Traffic Tickets on Car Insurance Rates

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Traffic violations are essentially of two kinds: moving violations and non-moving violations. Moving violations include offences such as speeding, seat belt infractions reckless driving, driving under influence (DUI), and illegal lane changes. Non-moving violations include parking violations and imperfect paperwork.

Zimlon has analyzed how some commonly committed offences can increase your premium by a certain percentage  in 11 major states and in the nation as a whole.

StatesDriving under influence (first offence)Reckless drivingSpeeding 30 mph over limitSeat belt infractionImproper turn
National Average75-80%70-75%30-35%1-5%15-20%
North Dakota70-75%60-65%20-25%1-5%10-15%
South Carolina55-60%55-60%30-35%1-5%15-20%

The following chart shows three states with high-end, middle-level, and low-end price increases for various traffic violations.


Insurance providers usually hike rates near the end of the year when your policy is up for renewal. The look-back period (history check) on your driving record varies by state and by the company. For smaller offenses, it’s usually a period of three years, while for bigger ones, such as DUI, some providers look back to a maximum of 10 years. A prominent example of such a state is California, where insurers are not authorized to offer a “good driver” discount until 10 years after a DUI violation.

A common question about traffic tickets pertains to violations committed outside of one’s state. Remember that these violations are preserved in your driving record. The 45 states that are part of the Driver’s Licence Compact exchange information regarding traffic violations. Non-member states are also involved in this exchange, even though they are not officially included in the pact. Moreover, if your driving privileges are suspended in the state you are visiting, your home state typically tends to suspend your license as well.

However, just because you have been booked for a driving offense, you are doomed to pay higher rates for the rest of your life. Different companies have different approaches to driving offenses, so shopping around can give you a better idea of the extra percentage you may be charged  for committing a traffic violation. Also, getting a traffic ticket will not instantly increase your insurance amount. It will happen only when your insurer sees your driving record – usually at the end of the year. Similarly, even if a violation falls off your record, your rates won’t drop until your insurance is up for renewal.

Find a comprehensive analysis of all the ways to you can save on your car insurance, here.

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