Motor vehicle violations can cause major pain when it comes to car insurance premiums. While convictions for drunken and reckless driving cause the most trouble, resulting in premium increases of 20 to 25 percent, a speeding ticket can drive up your premium by 10 percent or more. How long you have before you face the music with the increase depends on a number of factors.
The Time of an Accident
If you have an accident, and you receive a ticket for a traffic violation at the same time as the accident, your car insurance rate will increase at the time of your next renewal, if your insurer is going to increase the rate. If the accident causes property damage or personal injury, you will report it to your insurer when you make a claim. The insurance company will investigate, and part of the investigation will reveal that you received a ticket or summons. This information is listed on most police reports. The increase in premium due to your ticket may not be evident, because your insurer will probably increase your rate due to the accident.
When Records are Checked
Many insurers check the driving records of their customers at the time that their policies renew. This is generally every six months or every year. Some insurers check the records of their insurers less often, as it costs money to pull motor vehicle records. Your insurance company may not check your records for 18 to 24 months. Your insurer will not increase your rates solely for a traffic ticket until it reviews your driving record and discovers that you have a violation, although other risk factors can increase the premium at any time.
If you have a clean driving record, without any claims for accidents, your insurance company may never increase your rates for a traffic ticket. This is particularly true if you have been with the company for many years and have not had a claim or a ticket previously. The company may maintain the status quo, and assume that you are a safe driver, as you have been, and figure nothing is changing.
If you receive a traffic ticket, you may wish to defend yourself against the ticket in court. Alex Carroll, author of "Beat the Cops: the Guide to Fighting Your Traffic Ticket and Winning," says that simply disputing the ticket by asking for a court date will help. You can then seek supporting documents, such as radar calibration records and the officer's notes. "Many times, one of those documents turns up out-of-date, doesn't exist or is inaccurate and you end up winning by default because they don't have their paperwork together." At this time, a judge can dismiss the case.
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