You are probably aware that speeding tickets can affect your insurance rates, but you may not know that there are ways to prevent a ticket from doing so. One method, used in states such as Florida, is to take a driver improvement course and have the ticket erased from your record. Another method is to choose deferred adjudication, which essentially means postponing judgment against you.
Your Driving Record
Whenever you receive a traffic ticket, it has an assigned point value that is assessed against your driving record. If you receive too many points in a specified time period your license can be suspended. Similarly, your insurance company may raise your rates according to the points you have accumulated. Most insurance companies look at a three-year period to determine how your rates are to be calculated. Deferred adjudication helps you keep points from being posted on your record.
When Rates Typically Change
In most cases, your insurance rates do not automatically increase as soon as you receive a ticket. Some companies may review customer driving records randomly, but most will only check the points you have on your record when it comes time to renew the policy or when you apply for new coverage.
According to the city of Mansfield, Texas Municipal Court, deferred adjudication and probation are synonymous. In practice, deferred adjudication means that the offense will not be posted against your driving or criminal record as long as you do not receive any further citations or adverse judgements within a specified period of time. You will be responsible for paying court costs and may be ordered by the court to complete other conditions of the deferred adjudication, but the offense will not cause an increase in your insurance or a loss of your license. However, if you do receive additional similar citations during the probationary period, the offense, along with the new one, will be assessed against your record and any accompanying insurance increases or court fines will be placed against you.
Keeping Insurance Rates Down
There are ways to prevent rate increases or even get lower rates. How far you drive in a year will affect your rates as will the make and model of the car you drive. If you park your car in a private garage rather than curbside, you will pay less for insurance coverage. The Washington State Insurance Commissioner offers a list of factors that affect your insurance rates, many of which you can control or change to help keep your rates down.
Roger Golden began his career as a writer in 2008, when he began writing weekly insurance and personal finance articles. Golden's work has appeared on eHow, USAToday.com, TheSpoof.com and his privately managed blogs, .modern Dislogic and Outdoors—Dixie Style.