Maybe you just got pulled over for the first time or received a ticket you don’t think you deserved. In the moment, all you’re probably thinking about is staying calm and hoping the cop doesn’t dock you for much. When you see your insurance rates increase, however, you’ll wish you had fixed that taillight last week.
The extent to which these violations will affect your car insurance rates depends on the state you live in and the insurance company you work with. Most importantly, the severity of the violation is taken into account; for instance, a DUI will follow you longer than a speeding ticket or fender bender.
You don’t want to let one minor accident or speeding ticket raise your rates. That’s why a lot of drivers try to clear their records to ensure they’re getting the best rates. It might seem like a tough process, but with persistence and the right auto insurance provider, the rewards will outweigh the risks.
Compare: Car insurance quotes
Contest a ticket
If your citation was questionable, it might be worth the effort fighting the ticket. Certain factors can override your ticket, such as a speedometer that isn’t working properly or if you were speeding to the hospital.
Address “fix-it” tickets immediately
If a cop gives you a ticket for something involving repairs to your vehicle (like a broken headlight or a car registration violation), resolve it right away. These violations sometimes have a deadline to meet, which – if you resolve the problem with your vehicle and pay a dismissal fee – will dismiss your case. This could keep the ticket off your history, which means your insurer may never see it.
Get your record expunged
In many states – Alabama, Arizona, California, Colorado, Florida, Georgia, Illinois, Indiana, Kentucky, Missouri, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New York, North Carolina, Ohio, Oklahoma, Oregon, Tennessee, Texas, Utah, and Washington to be particular – you can request that violations be removed from your record. Different states require different qualifications for expungement. For instance, in Maryland, your record will be cleared 3 years following your conviction if your driver’s license has never suspended, you haven’t been caught committing another moving violation and you have never been convicted for leaving the scene of an accident that resulted in injury or death. This is a significant way to lower car insurance rates, as many insurance companies look back several years into your driving record.
Take a safe driving course
If the ticket is for a minor violation, you might be able to dismiss your ticket after completing a driver safety course. You might even be able to find an online traffic school with an eligible course; you’ll receive all the benefits without having to leave the comforts of your own home! Make sure this course is approved before you pay for it; not all courses may be approved by your state.
Getting a ticket isn’t the best feeling in the world, but minor violations won’t follow you for long.