Traffic Violates Cause Car Insurance Spikes
Are you looking to save money on your automotive coverage? While finding the best policy is important, your driving record is just as important - if not more important! According to a new study, the number of traffic offenses on your record can mean the difference between a monthly premium that is manageable and one that is sky high.
For example, drivers who purchased a plan last year with one ticket on their record had a monthly premium that was 18% higher on average than drivers with no violations. With two violations, drivers paid 34% extra, and with three they had to pay more than 50% extra! If you are 65 or older, violations have a magnified effect - just two violations in this age range and you will see a 57% increase.
The analysis examined 32,000 single-driver, one-car insurance policies purchased in 2010. The study found that a number of factors associated with receiving a ticket affected insurance rates.
Types of Violations
The following are infractions that will affect your monthly premium:
- Driving under the influence (DUI)
- Careless driving
- Running red lights or stop signs
- Failure to yield
- Illegal passing
- Improper U-turn
- Failure to use a child restraint
Time is of the Essence
The raw number of offenses on your record doesn't necessarily make a huge impact on your driving record; it depends on the time period between the offenses. For instance, if you've been caught breaking traffic laws twice in the last six months, your car insurance rates will likely go up significantly. However, if you have two offenses that are five years apart, your rates should not go up substantially.
The amount of time between offenses is critical to establishing patterns in driving quality and responsibility—rare infractions tend to be seen as exceptions to otherwise good behavior, while frequent infractions are linked to poor driving habits.
Consider Points Before Buying
Some good news is that you can ask to see how insurers calculate their rates before you purchase a policy. Ask to see their point tables or schedules so you can know exactly what they charge for different driving records. That way, you can make the best decision.
Keeping Your Premium Low
Of course, avoiding tickets and driving safely are the best ways to avoid the pitfalls of infraction-related rate hikes. But you can also do a few other things:
- Take a Defensive Driving Course
In many states, taking a defensive driving course will reduce or eliminate points from your license, and consequently reduce your car insurance premiums.
- Be Sure to Shop Around
The more options you find, the more likely you are to find the optimal policy for you.
- Raise Your Deductible
By raising the amount you are willing to pay out of pocket in an accident, you take on more responsibility for accident repairs and thus will reduce your monthly payments. Just make sure you have enough in savings to pay for the maximum should you need it.
- Look Online
The best way to get low prices fast is to shop for car insurance online.