Everyone makes mistakes – and sometimes those mistakes can lead to big consequences. If you get a ticket, for example, you’ll have to pay the fine. But the costs and consequences don’t end there. Your car insurance rates might increase, too. That means you’ll be paying for your mistake for a long time.

How Tickets Impact Your Rates

When you get a ticket for a moving violation, you will typically get points on your driving record. The exact rules vary from state to state, but in general, a higher number of points indicates more frequent or more severe driving infractions. After a certain number of years, the points will usually be removed from your record.

Car insurance companies can see these points. Because the same things that tend to result in points – like speeding – also tend to contribute to car crashes, insurers typically raise insurance rates based on these points.

Exactly How Bad Are Tickets?

Tickets are always bad news, but the degree of the impact will depend on a few things, such as:

  • How your insurance carrier calculates premiums
  • How many violations you have on your record
  • How serious the violation was

Some tickets are much more serious than others. For example, if you get a ticket for failing to wear a seatbelt, that’s usually a pretty minor ticket. (Although you should still always buckle up.) But if you get a ticket for reckless driving, you should expect bigger consequences. Depending on the type of ticket, the impact on your annual premium could be less than $100 or more than $1,000.

According to Property Casualty 360, data from the Zebra shows that a ticket for forgetting to turn on your lights might cost $68 per year, while a ticket for speeding in a school zone might cost you $342 per year. Things like DUIs and hit-and-runs can raise your rates by more than $1,000 per year.

And because your rates depend on a lot of other factors – like the type of car your drive and where you live – it’s also helpful to think about premium increases as a percentage of your current premium. According to WalletHub, a seatbelt infraction might raise your premium by 3%, while a first-time DUI might lead to a 79% premium hike. If you lose a safe driver discount, your rates might increase even more.

How to Keep Your Rates Down

If you get a ticket, it’s important to remember that the financial consequences can go way beyond the fine. To keep your rates down, you may need to take action:

  • Fight the ticket. If you think the ticket was unfair, make your case. Even if you can’t get the ticket dismissed, you might at least be able to get the ticket reduced.
  • Take a driving course. You might be able to keep points off your driving record – and therefore keep your insurance rates from increasing – by taking a driving course. Everyone can use a refresher sometimes, and the information you learn might also help you avoid future issues.
  • Follow the rules of the road. If you get a ticket and your rates go up, don’t lose hope. Eventually, the points will disappear from your driving record, and your insurance rates will go back down – as long as you don’t get any more tickets in the meantime. Keep your record clean and your rates down by following the rules of the road. Simple things like obeying the speed limit and staying off your phone can pay off.
  • Get a quote. If your rates are too high, you might be able to find a better deal with another insurance company. Although all companies tend to look at things like tickets when calculating rates, the premiums they charge can be vastly different. It never hurts to shop around.

If you have a ticket and want to see if your rates are the lowest they can be, get a quote from Jupiter Auto.