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Have a Traffic Ticket? We Feel Your Pain

Jan. 17, 2022
3 mins
A parking ticket is tucked under a windshield wiper

This article has been updated from a previous version.

There’s no two ways about it: getting pulled over and ticketed isn’t fun. In fact, it can put even the most jovial driver into the foulest of moods. It is, however, the price we pay for disobeying the rules of the road, which ultimately puts ourselves and others at risk.

And the price is significant. There’s the fine itself, the effect the ticket has on your auto insurance rate, and the demerit points that are tacked on to your driving record.

How long will a ticket affect your auto insurance rate?

A ticket isn’t just a one-off hit to your wallet. It has staying power. It takes about three years to be cleared off your driving record, which is how long it takes for a ticket to no longer factor into the premium you pay.

What can you do in the meantime to keep your premium as low as possible? The answer: shop around for car insurance.

Even if you’ve been with your current insurance provider for years (and perhaps, especially if you’ve been with them for years), you should put your rate to the test as some companies are more forgiving than others. Be confident you’re getting the best auto insurance rate in the market and compare quotes for a better deal.

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Common tickets you should try hard to avoid

Nobody is perfect. A ticket will likely happen to most of us at one time or another. If it’s happened to you, chances are it was for:

  • Speeding. Speeding tickets are the most common of all tickets. Drive at a speed that is within the limit but also suitable for the weather conditions.
  • Ignoring a traffic signal or sign. Red light runners are so common that many cities have turned to cameras to catch people in the act.
  • Failing to have your proof of auto insurance with you. It’s a myth that you have 24 -hours to provide proof of your coverage if asked by an officer.
  • Failing to wear a seatbelt. What can we say? For safety’s sake, buckle up!
  • Distracted driving. A good rule of thumb to drive by is if it requires you to take your eyes or attention away from the road, it can wait.
  • Failing to signal. Drivers who signal late — or worse, don't signal at all — are a major pet peeve for many motorists. Letting people know your intentions is easy to do and can make a big difference in keeping you and your passengers safe.

Your ticket to the lowest car insurance rates

Your driving record matters. It is one of the most influential factors in determining your insurance rate. Sure, there are others like where you live, your insurance history, and the type of car you drive — but your driving record and history is indicative of how you act behind the wheel. Drive carefully and keep your car insurance premium low by avoiding tickets in the first place.

Lesley Green

Lesley Green is a seasoned writer and editor. She previously worked at RATESDOTCA, sharing her expertise with the marketing team for nearly two decades. Lesley enjoys live theatre, travelling, curling and, depending on how well she's hitting the ball, golfing.

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