Traffic violations can greatly affect your insurance rates. While some offenses may warrant significant changes in your rates, other offenses may not. For instance, excessive speeding would impact your rate more than a parking ticket would. One thing is important to remember, though: an offense is an offense, even if it was committed in another state. For instance, if you're cited for reckless driving in a state you're not from, it may still affect your rates.
Moving violations occur while your vehicle is in motion. They include things such as illegal U-turns, speeding and citations for driving under the influence. These infractions will most likely influence your rate. The more serious the violation, the more likely it is your rate will increase. Because these are indicators that you are a high-risk driver -- more at risk for being in an accident -- the insurance company wants to protect itself financially. However, this is completely dependent on your insurance company's policies.
Non-moving violations occur when your vehicle is not in motion. This is where things such as parking tickets fall. Parking tickets won't affect your insurance rates as long as they're taken care of appropriately. However, if you don't pay your ticket, your license may be suspended and your credit score may be negatively impacted. These, in turn, may affect your rate. Other non-moving violations include overly tinted windows or failure to show registration stickers.
Accidents and Collisions
Accidents and collisions will affect your rates as well. Even if you are not at fault, your rates may increase. Some insurance companies offer accident forgiveness, meaning your rates won't go up if you get in an accident as long as you have a good driving record. In general, you should expect your premium to increase by 20 to 40 percent. If you've been in an accident, you might also get citations that will increase your rates.
What You Can Do
There are a couple of things you can do to to keep your insurance rates under control. First, you can try to get the offense expunged from your record. Usually you can do this by taking a traffic safety course. Check with your DMV offices to see what the policy is in your state. You can also keep your rates more manageable by increasing your deductible, maintaining a good credit score and avoiding more traffic offenses.
Specializing in food and business, Melissa Haskin is a Oregon writer who received a Bachelor of Science in economics with an emphasis in business from Oregon State University. She completed graduate work in journalism at the University of Oregon and has contributed to publications such as "The Register-Guard," "Oregon Quarterly" and "Eugene Magazine."