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How to Tell If a Ticket Will Affect Your Insurance Rates

Almost everybody has experienced that dreadful sinking feeling when they see the red and blue lights of a police car flashing in their rearview mirror. Once the initial embarrassment wears off, the next thought that often goes through one’s mind is the hit to the pocketbook that the traffic ticket is going to cause. These worries are very founded, as in addition to the fine, a ticket can also cause your car insurance rates to increase. Luckily, there are many ways to tell if this is going to be the case.

Requirements for Violations to Affect Your Rates

First of all, for a traffic violation to affect your rates, the violation must show up on your motor vehicle record. Many types of violations will not show up on your record such as parking tickets, cellphone tickets, carpool violations, tickets for broken taillights and expired registrations. It is irrelevant if you receive your ticket while out-of-state, as all states are linked together in a single database. Obviously, if your insurance company does not find out about the violation, your rates will not increase.

Secondly, assuming that your insurance company finds out about the violation, your state’s laws must allow your insurance company to penalize you for the violation. Some states such as New York do not allow car insurance companies to raise policyholders’ rates for minor moving violations.

Finally, in order for a violation to affect your rates, your insurance company must consider the violation as a risk factor. Many car insurance companies do not consider minor violations such as failing to wear a seat belt as a significant determinant of how risky a driver you are. In addition, many insurance companies will consider your loyalty as a customer and your previous driving record in their decision whether to raise your rates.

Consult an Attorney

If you have been pulled over and issued a citation, it is very important not to admit guilt by paying the fine. Contact an attorney experienced in defending traffic violations. An attorney can help you prepare an effective defense that may result in the charges being dismissed, protecting you from paying increased premiums.