This post is part of EverQuote’s Traffic Ticket Series. Learn more about other traffic tickets and how they affect auto insurance here.

Perhaps you were in a new area and were unsure of what the posted speed limits were, or maybe, you knew the limit well and were simply trying to reach your destination faster.

Regardless of the reason, the consequences of speeding can be steep—and for good reason, as speeding accounts for nearly 30% of total traffic fatality crashes, according to the most recent data released by the NHTSA. Individual states have their own rules and terms, and therefore, a speeding ticket in one state will not have the same effects as another state.

In general, maximum state fines can vary from $50 to $2,500 depending on the driver’s location and history of violations. Below you’ll find the states with the most expensive and least expensive fines. The fine may also depend on whether the driver’s speed was categorized as speeding or reckless driving, as the latter often has higher consequences.

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Most states now use radar guns, lidar technology and speeding cameras, some of which can detect your vehicle’s speed from up to 4,000 feet away. So, just because you do not see a police officer in the area does not mean you won’t be caught by one.

States With the Most Expensive Max Fines for Speeding:

  1. Virginia: $2,500 and/or 12 months in jail
  2. Illinois: $2,500 and/or 12 months in jail
  3. Georgia: $2,000 and/or 12 months in jail
  4. Oregon: $2,000
  5. Missouri: $1,000 and/or 12 months in jail
  6. Nevada: $1,000 or 6 months in jail
  7. Minnesota: $1,000 and 90 days in jail
  8. North Carolina: $1,000 and/or 60 days in jail
  9. Florida: $1,000
  10. Utah: $750

Many of these violations may also lead to license suspension or revocation.

cop giving a traffic ticket to a driver

States With the Least Expensive Max Punishment for Speeding:

  1. Tennessee: $50 and/or 30 days in jail
  2. Delaware: $95
  3. Rhode Island: $95
  4. Idaho: $100
  5. Kentucky: $100
  6. Colorado: $100
  7. Connecticut: $200
  8. New Mexico: $200
  9. Texas: $200
  10. New Jersey: $200 and/or 15 days in jail

The Effect of Speeding on Car Insurance:

Car insurance carriers determine a driver’s risk on their own terms. As a result, there’s no simple answer to the question: “How much will a speeding ticket raise my car insurance?”

The truth is, it depends. One insurer may see your speeding ticket as an indicator that you’re a high-risk driver, while another carrier may practically disregard it because of your safe driving history.

In the end, the consequences of a speeding violation vary for several reasons. Here are some of the main factors that affect your rate.

  • Speeding or reckless driving? Depending on what your violation is classified as, you may see harsher punishments. In most states, if a driver is speeding over the limit by a certain amount, it becomes a reckless driving offense.
  • Did you report the speeding ticket to your carrier? Many drivers don’t report their speeding tickets to an insurer. Most insurers check your driving record when you first sign a contract, and at any subsequent renewal. (They may check more if you’re a young driver or you buy a new vehicle.) However, tickets you incur during that in-between period may go unspotted until your record is checked again. Insurers have to pay a fee for your MVR (motorist’s vehicle record), so it is not something that they do weekly. If you recently bought a car insurance policy, you may not see the effects of your speeding violation until the next time you renew.
  • Are you in a “point system” state? Many states have a point system that may affect your insurance rate. Points are given based on traffic violations, and if a certain number is reached within a time period, you may be hit with a fine, license suspension or revocation. While each insurer has their own risk-assessment method and will not rely on your state’s DMV, a point system may still affect your rate, especially if it leads to a license revocation.
  • Do you have multiple violations? Having multiple traffic citations may be a warning sign to insurers that a driver is riskier and could end up in accidents.
  • How long ago was your ticket received? This may also affect your insurance rate. While violations are never officially removed from your record, carriers usually look at the last 3–5 years.

How to Bring Your Rate Back Down:

Fight the ticket. If you believe you have a case, it may be worth fighting the ticket in court so that you can have it removed from your driving record.

green car speeding with motion blurWait it out. While traffic tickets never truly disappear from your record, auto insurers typically only look at the last 5 years, unless there is major infraction such as a DUI or DWI on your record.

Shop around. One insurer may give you a different rate than another. Just be sure you’re also receiving the right amount of coverage for you, as cheaper isn’t always better.

Take a defensive driving course to bring your rate down. They aren’t that expensive, and they can pay off big. A defensive driving course may get any driver a discount, but it can be especially handy if you’ve had a lot of infractions. If you’re in a state that uses the license point system, a defensive driving course may reduce your points, which could help save you from a license suspension or revocation depending on your state’s laws.

Check with your agent to be sure you’re receiving all of the discounts that you qualify for. Be sure to mention alumni programs or other organizations as even those can get you car insurance savings.

Speeding is never worth it behind the wheel. You may think you’ll get to your destination faster, but you’re actually putting a lot of drivers at risk, and you may end up with a big insurance hike because of it. The best way to avoid these consequences is to stop speeding altogether. You can even use technology to help you. Be a safer driver today—your wallet and other drivers will thank you.  

Speeding Fines Source: NHSTA Photo credits: Gothamist