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Before You Get a Speeding Ticket: What You Need to Know

By October 17, 2023No Comments

We’ve all been there – caught in the moment, the music blasting, the road seemingly endless, and our foot a little heavier on the gas pedal than it should be. Then, out of nowhere, those dreaded red and blue lights appear in the rearview mirror, and your heart sinks. You’ve been pulled over by a police officer…for speeding. In this blog, we’ll explore what you should know before you hit the accelerator, especially when it comes to how speeding tickets can impact your insurance rates.

The Immediate Consequences

When you receive a speeding ticket, traffic citation, or other moving violation, there are immediate consequences you’re probably aware of. You’ll need to pay a fine to the jurisdiction that issued the speeding ticket, and when your auto insurance policy renews, you’ll likely face an increase. However, what you might not know is that the insurance company’s point system differs from the DMV’s. Insurance companies assign points based on how much you exceed the posted speed limit. These points can result in policy increases ranging from 40% to a staggering 90%.

The Dreaded 90% Increase

The 90% policy increase is the nightmare scenario for speeders, and it’s not something the law enforcement officer ticketing you is going to mention. After all, their specialty is traffic laws, fines, and points on your license, not what’s going to happen to your insurance after you drive away, riddled with contrition.

The 90% policy increase is typically applied when you’re caught going over 80 miles per hour, even if the posted speed limit is 70 or 75. Similarly, if you’re going over 75 in an area where the posted limit is less than 70, you’ll still face that 90% increase. This increase will cause your insurance premiums to soar, making it crucial to avoid driving at such reckless speeds.

When you speed, you aren’t just dealing with fines, court costs, defensive driving courses, points against your driver’s license, and a blow to your driving record; your insurance rates are going to climb, but how much and for how long? This depends on a number of factors.

Remember that the fine you pay on your court date is not determined simply by how many mph over the speed limit you were driving but the overall speed limit and how much you exceeded it. It’s also nowhere near the end of your cost woes if you fall into that 90% rate-increase category.

Long-Term Implications

Beyond the immediate consequences, a surcharge from a speeding ticket can haunt you for years. Typically, this surcharge sticks to your policy for three long years. It’s a costly mistake that can have severe financial implications. Some may consider hiring a traffic ticket attorney, fighting the ticket or contesting the ticket in court, trying to get the speeding ticket dismissed, or pursuing a “prayer for judgment” to avoid points, but this decision requires caution.

Whether you show up on your court date and choose to pay the ticket, mail it in—or even do a plea-by-mail— you will still want to know the implications regarding your insurance rates and how they will be affected depending on how you choose to proceed.

It’s always best to consult with your insurance agent to ensure you understand the potential ramifications, especially if you’re a relatively inexperienced driver.

The Eight-Year Rule

If you have fewer than eight years of driving experience and receive a severe speeding ticket, there’s an additional concern that may go well beyond hiring a lawyer. Your preferred insurance company may decide that you’re no longer a suitable policyholder. This means not only dealing with the surcharge but also facing higher premiums because you’re no longer eligible for the preferred markets. It might not come naturally, but it’s essential to be aware of these long-term implications when making decisions about your driving habits.

Why You Should Contact Your Trusted Insurance Agent

Many people might consider seeking legal advice when facing a speeding ticket, but that’s not the first step you should take. Instead, reach out to your trusted insurance agent. They can help you navigate the complexities of your situation and uncover any potential insurance-related consequences you might not be aware of. Consulting with your agent allows you to avoid any costly surprises down the figurative road.

The Speeding Ticket Trap

Getting a speeding ticket can have more far-reaching consequences than you might initially think. The immediate fines and surcharges are just the tip of the iceberg. Always consult with your trusted insurance agent to make the best decisions for your insurance policy and avoid potential pitfalls. They can guide you through the process and help you avoid any unexpected consequences related to your insurance coverage. Safe driving should always be the priority, but understanding the insurance implications is crucial to being a responsible driver.

If you don’t have a trusted insurance agent in your life, we would love to be that trusted agent! Reach out to us at O’Connor Insurance Associates today to learn more about the ins and outs of speeding tickets and how they adversely impact your insurance rates.

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