In two more recent articles, the question, "how much will a ticket raise my insurance rates?" is examined. The articles, posted on forbes.com and cnbc.com, crunch different numbers to give insight into the true cost of a ticket.
The article from Forbes.com, from May, 2012, uses numbers provided by insurance.com and taken from analysis of over 490,000 quotes given out by the company. The study found that different driving offenses have different impacts on your insurance rates, depending on how egregious the citation is. Leading the way and raising insurance rates an average of 22% are reckless driving tickets. A close 2nd place goes to first DUI convictions, which raised quotes by 19% according to the study. The study also found that other factors, mostly relating to perceived stability can serve to raise or lower these increases. For example, a divorced person- per the study's numbers- could see a 7% greater increase after a reckless driving ticket than their counterpart who is single.
The following average increases were cited in the article:
- Reckless Driving- 22%
- DUI (1st)- 19%
- Driving without a license: 18%
- Speeding 30mph over- 15%
- Most passing and turning infractions: 14-15%
- Speeding 1-14 over- 11%
The second article, published on cnbc.com in February of this year, actually examines a survey conducted by insurancequotes.com that reports only 31%, or slightly less than 1/3 of drivers that have received a traffic ticket had their insurance rates rise. The article attributes this luck to an insurance company's reluctance to pay for your driving record to be pulled. Insurance companies pay up to $27 in some states each time they want to view an up-to-date copy of your MVR, so of course pulling them equals money. With that said, there appear to be some times when insurance will predictably pull your record: 1) when you first sign up for coverage; 2) when a policy renews or if you make major changes to coverage; 3) every 18-24 months, on average. Of course, younger drivers are at risk for having their records pulled more frequently than their older, wiser comrades.
So, what are some good take away points for Georgia drivers based on these articles?
- In Georgia, a traffic ticket or even DUI charge does not go on your MVR record until the case is resolved completely in court. There is an exception for some DUI license issues, but they apply only to DUI charges. Remember- if you get a ticket, while you will bear the price of a lawyer up front, it can definitely save you money in the long run, especially if they can fight to keep the ticket from ever going on your record.
- If you do have tickets and points on your record, keep a low profile. Changing insurance companies or boosting your coverage seems likely to flag a record check on your policy. The cnbc article claims that after 5 years, most insurance companies will no longer look back for your past vehicular transgressions. But, if you go out and buy that motorcycle the same year you paid off a few speeding tickets, you just may pay more for it than you expected…
- Take a Georgia Dept. of Driver Services approved Defensive Driving Course. In Georgia, the state approved classes take around 6 hours and cost around $70. The benefit? You can apply with driver services to take a cool 7 points off your record every 5 years if you successfully complete the course and turn in the proof to DDS. No, this doesn't wipe your record clean, but it does remove the points associated with your tickets. The average ticket in Georgia is only 3 points, so taking a course could wipe clean a couple of tickets worth of points!
- Do the math before you take a swing at defending your case alone. Let's say your annual car insurance premium is $1,000. If you pay a ticket, or plead guilty and your rates go up the average 15%, then your next year's premium would be $1150. Not to mention, $1150 will be your new baseline that further tickets will only add to. Assuming you don't hire a lawyer and just plead guilty, this will cost you an extra $750 over the next 5 years. It could also put you in a class of drivers that get their record pulled more frequently and will only make the next ticket worse. I hesitate to use average figures, as I have fielded many phone calls from latecomers who already paid a ticket and received notice their rates were increasing by 50% or more a year. A lawyer may not cost an arm and a leg like the horror stories you have heard. Call me today and we will talk 1-1 about your particular case and determine what your smartest course of action is.