You may be surprised to learn that receiving even a single speeding ticket can increase your car insurance rate. This is because car insurance companies calculate auto insurance premiums based on driver risk. Thus, your driving record is used as a key component for assessing how much risk you pose as a driver.
Some traffic violations are assessed as more risky than others. Insurance companies may not much care that you have 10 parking tickets, for example. However, a speeding ticket can instantly place you in the “high-risk driver” category. Some insurance companies may even use your speeding ticket to place you in the “reckless driver” category, especially if you’ve had other moving violations that have already deducted points from your driver’s license.
If your insurance company decides to raise your car insurance rate, that increase is typically an additional 10% of your current premium. If you were cited for extreme speeding (i.e., going 15+ miles over the speed limit), your insurance rate could be increased over 10%. Fortunately, your increase is typically applied when your policy comes up for renewal, so you may not see any premium change for six months or even a year. Also, some states do not deduct points from your license if you were going only 5 to 10 miles over the speed limit.
Some states have tried to combat the practice of insurance companies raising their rates after just one speeding ticket; several states have enacted laws that prohibit insurers from raising their rates as long as the driver was not engaged in extreme speeding. However, insurance companies often get around these laws by dropping good driver discounts for high-risk drivers. The only way to make sure that your insurance company will not raise your rate is to find out if it has a “one speeding ticket” waiver (many companies do).
Another method by which you may be able to avoid a car insurance rate increase is by attending a driver safety course. Such a course typically lasts four hours and has the added benefit of reducing your fine by up to 18%. After you complete the course, your driving record will not show that you were convicted of speeding or that you had points deducted from your license; instead, your record will state “adjudication withheld.” Such recourse has its limitations, however: In most states, taking a driver safety course to remove a speeding ticket from your record can only be taken advantage of once a year. If you receive more speeding tickets later in the year, you will not be able to undo them by attending additional driver safety courses.