Getting a speeding ticket is definitely a low point of most people’s days, but the real frustration and stress can come later — once you start to see the impacts of the ticket on the rest of your life. In particular, you may be wondering how receiving a speeding ticket can affect insurance rates and accessibility. This is a legitimate concern, and — often — the immediate cost of the ticket and any associated court fees pales in comparison to the long-term impacts on your auto insurance rates.
Let’s take a closer look at what you need to know about how a speeding ticket may affect your insurance and what options you have to alleviate some of those impacts.
Why Do Speeding Tickets Affect Insurance?
Understanding the way speeding tickets impact insurance starts with understanding the reason that speeding is a violation of the law in the first place. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) lists speeding as one of its top concerns. According to the NHTSA, speeding has been involved in nearly one-third of all traffic accidents for more than two decades. Considering that traffic accidents are the eighth leading cause of death worldwide and the top cause of death for people age 5-29, there is a legitimate public interest in reducing speeding violations.
Insurance companies are basically taking a bet on the behavior of those who use their services. For an insurance company, the best bet is on someone who takes the fewest risks. Multiple factors go into determining an individual’s auto insurance rate, and most of these factors are designed to determine how risky — generally speaking — that person can be expected to behave when behind the wheel. For example, individuals who are younger tend to have higher insurance rates because younger drivers are less experienced and typically more impulsive. Likewise, individuals who have previous accidents on their records — especially if they were found to be at fault — may have trouble finding affordable insurance.
Speeding tickets are one factor that help an insurance company determine risky driving behavior. Someone who has speeding tickets on their record looks riskier to an insurance company than someone who does not. Logically, rates are higher for riskier drivers, so the addition of a new speeding ticket can also mean an increase in insurance rates.
How Do Speeding Tickets Affect Insurance?
Determining exactly how much a speeding ticket is likely to raise your insurance rates is a complicated process. Insurance companies typically use complex algorithms to determine their rates. Some factors that are under consideration when you get a speeding ticket include how many previous speeding tickets you’ve received, how far over the speed limit you were going, and how your speeding ticket factors into the laws of the state.
While the State of Louisiana does not have a statewide “points” system, the Office of Motor Vehicles does keep track of individual driving records, and these records are used when determining auto insurance rates and accessibility. Louisiana also participates in the Problem Driver Pointer System (PDPS), which is a nationwide database of driver’s license history. This means that even if you move to another state, violations recorded in the national database can continue to impact your insurance rates.
Different insurance agencies will use their own calculations to determine just how much insurance rates will rise in the face of a speeding ticket. Some agencies do not raise rates for a first offense. Others raise rates based on a variety of factors and how they interact with one another. One auto insurance calculation tool estimates the average premium increase by state. For Louisiana, the tool found that a speeding ticket — regardless of how much over the speed limit — could raise annual insurance rates by 20-21%.
What Options Do You Have?
A speeding ticket has the potential to cause serious financial disruption to someone’s life. Reporting for The Atlantic, Maura Ewing found that the financial impacts of speeding tickets are particularly pronounced for individuals who already had fewer financial resources at the start. The investigation explained that many people find themselves buried under the weight of traffic tickets, court fees, and the increased long-term financial burden of higher insurance rates.
The bottom line is that a speeding ticket can carry serious costs that aren’t immediately obvious. Often, the best way to deal with these potential impacts is to contest the speeding ticket from the outset. There are multiple ways to contest a speeding ticket, and the approach is dependent upon the details of how the officer issuing the ticket did so in the first place.
Navigating the details of a speeding ticket and how to contest it can be complicated and confusing, but you don’t have to do it alone. Reaching out to a qualified, experienced speeding ticket attorney can make the process a lot easier. It’s important to keep in mind that the cost of the speeding ticket extends beyond the fee itself. A speeding violation can have long-term impacts on insurance rates, so successfully contesting it can save you a lot of money in the long run.