Getting a traffic ticket will cost you money, but how much will depend on the violation. The worse the violation, the more your car insurance costs may rise because it’s more likely you’ll be considered a bigger risk to the insurer.  Courts will often require drivers with these violations to obtain SR-22 insurance to remove their license from suspension.  It’s difficult to say how much insurance premiums will rise per violation because different insurance companies have different methods of calculating premium.

With the help of experts, including J. Robert Hunter, insurance director for the Washington, D.C.-based Consumer Federation of America, we now identify what are considered the five worst traffic violations for your insurance bills.

1. Driving While Impaired / Under the Influence

Estimated premium increase: 25 percent

Call it DWI or DUI, a drunken driving violation will hike your insurance costs more than any other, likely as much as 25 percent, says Hunter, a former Texas insurance commissioner.

Your insurance company might give you a “pass” on some traffic tickets, especially if it’s your first time, but not on drunken driving, he says.

A drunken driving violation will require drivers to purchase auto insurance with an SR22 filing, which can be expensive with larger insurance companies.  Drivers with a DUI violation are advised to consult an insurance agent that specializes in SR22 insurance to find the best rate and coverage.

2. Reckless Driving

Estimated premium increase: 15 percent to 20 percent

Reckless driving is right up there with drunken driving as one of the biggest offenses that will guarantee a hike in your insurance costs.

A precise definition of reckless driving varies from state to state. However, it generally means that you intentionally ignore the safety of other people or property. Violations can bring stiff penalties, including jail time.

While speeding certainly may be a factor, you can be reckless without pushing pedal to the metal, according to NHTSA. At least one state, Virginia, is considering categorizing texting while driving as a form of reckless driving.

3. Speeding

Estimated premium increase: 10 percent

As with repeat drunken driving violations, multiple speeding tickets will bring you increasing insurance costs. Get enough of them, and you can bet your insurance will be canceled, say the experts.

Insurers initially may waive one speeding ticket if it’s within 10 mph over the limit, Hunter says. Some states won’t even record the ticket if you take a safe-driving class.

But if your insurer doesn’t want to cut you any slack, or you were far over the limit, speeding can raise your car insurance premium by about 10 percent, according to Hunter’s research.

Chronic lead-foots also pay higher traffic fines with each ticket — up to $2,000 or more, depending on the state. And some states impose jail time.

NHTSA estimates that speeding is involved in more than 30 percent of all fatal crashes — and costs the economy more than $40 billion a year.

4. Running a Red Light

Estimated premium increase: 10 percent

You break the law when you intentionally go through an intersection after its traffic signal turns red or roll through a right-turn-on-red without stopping.  Expect up to a 10 percent increase for running a red light.

If you have a tendency to breeze through red lights, your insurance premiums are probably high already. Red-light runners often have a history of accidents, DUIs, speeding and other violations, according to the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety.

Drivers who run a red light and cause a deadly accident are more likely to be drunk, speeding or driving without a valid license at the time.

In urban areas, the most common type of collision involves drivers ignoring traffic controls, including red lights. The institute says people are hurt in nearly 4 out of 10 of those accidents.

5.  Driving Without a Valid License

Estimated premium increase: 10 percent

Getting behind the wheel without a valid driver’s license is a serious offense that could mean an extended suspension or even a permanent revocation of your license.

A traffic ticket for driving without a license can bring a 10 percent increase in your car insurance premium — on top of whatever rate hikes you’ve already seen for the underlying violations that caused the suspension, Hunter says.  According to the NHTSA, one study in California found tthat drivers with suspended or revoked licenses were involved in fatal crashes nearly four times more often than the average driver.


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