Traffic tickets can cost quite a bit of money. Although the average ticket is only a few hundred dollars, more serious infractions can carry a penalty of up to $500. Traffic offenses in specific areas can lead to bigger penalties. A speeding ticket in a school zone or a construction zone might lead to a four-figure fine instead of just a few hundred dollars.
Many drivers pay the ticket because they assume that is the cheapest and most effective solution to a traffic citation. However, the people paying these tickets ignore the secondary expenses that traffic tickets often carry, including increased insurance costs.
The ticket may actually cost thousands of dollars over the next several years because it affects what you pay for your mandatory car insurance coverage. How much will a ticket change your insurance rates?
What you pay for insurance is a reflection of how much risk you represent
The more traffic infractions or big claims you have on your recent driving record, the more you will likely have to pay for liability insurance coverage in the future. Your age, your sex or gender, and your insurance company will all influence how much a ticket changes your premium costs and how much the ticket increases your costs.
An 18-year-old will see only a 7% or 8% increase, but their policy will already cost more than twice what a 40-year-old pays for their coverage. Those 40-year-old drivers may see an average increase of 14%, but that varies dramatically from company to company. Over the course of several years, a 10% increase in your insurance costs could be hundreds or thousands of dollars depending on how much you currently pay for coverage.
Fighting a ticket is about more than avoiding a fine
When you defend against the traffic ticket, you don’t just prevent a frustrating multiple hundred-dollar fine. You also save yourself hundreds of dollars of increased insurance costs over the next few years. Beyond that, you make it less likely that a future traffic infraction will affect your driving privileges. Those with multiple tickets in their recent record face the suspension of their license.
Having an understanding of the consequences a traffic ticket carries can help you make better decisions about how to handle your recent citation.