There is nothing quite like the stress of seeing blue and red lights flashing in your rear view mirror. Being pulled over is certainly no picnic and unfortunately the fun usually doesn’t stop there. Unless you are lucky enough to be a let off with a warning it is often once you have a ticket in your hand that one question enters your mind….
How much is this going to cost me?
Well obviously there is the actual cost of the ticket itself. How much the ticket is worth is determined by the type of violation. Speeding tickets for example range from $45 – $600 for a first conviction. The range depends on a few factors such as how many miles over the speed limit you were going and where you were speeding (a construction zone or a school zone tend to have higher penalties). Once you add to that the courtroom fees, your ticket could have a hefty bottom line.
However once the cost of the ticket is taken care of there are additional costs that come into play such as your auto insurance premium. Car insurance premiums are likely to rise after receiving a moving violation. Again there are many factors that determine just how much your insurance will increase. Read on for a few key factors.
Type of violation
As with the cost of the ticket, the premium increase depends on the specific violation. Insurance companies tend to categorize violations as either a minor violation or a major violation. Major violations include: speeding in a school zone, going 15 – 25 miles over the speed limit, passing a school bus, driving without a license or driving under the influence.
Number of violations
If you have received more than one ticket, your insurance will certainly be affected. Insurance companies keep track of your violations, the number you have influences the surcharge you will receive. The more violations you have, the more insurance carriers will see you as an increased risk. The higher the risk, the higher the premium!
An important side note – If you receive too many tickets or are involved in too many accidents you run the risk of being canceled by your insurance. Once this happens it would be very costly to find insurance through a non-standard carrier.
Where you live
Where you live is also an important factor not only in the cost of the ticket but also on how much that ticket will impact your insurance premium. Each state sets their own standards for moving violations fines. That means getting pulled over in New Jersey could cost you more than getting pulled over in New York. This is also true for insurance premium bumps, what could increase your premium greatly in one state may not in another.
Another important side note – If you are traveling and receive a ticket outside of your home state there is rarely reciprocity. It may be best to just pay the fine as the ticket will most likely not affect your insurance rates.
What you can do to save money
Well the first thing you can do to save money is to follow all the traffic laws and be a safe, responsible driver. That won’t help much if you’ve already gotten pulled over so below are a few things you can do AFTER you’ve gotten a ticket that may help you save money:
- Take advantage of defensive driving classes. They can help to reduce points from your driving record and save you as much as 20% on your insurance.
- Go to court. Instead of paying the ticket outright, it might be worth some time in court to look for a plea bargain for fewer points on your record.
- Wait. With time, the points are erased from your driving record. It may take as much as five years, but it will happen!
We know getting pulled over can be a stressful experience so we’ve put together a list of things you should do if you get pulled over. It may be a good idea to review them with any new drivers in your home. Most of them are common sense but it’s always a good idea to be know what to expect.
If you get pulled over:
- Look for a convenient safe area to pull over.
- Do your best to relax.
- Stop your vehicle and turn off the ignition.
- Roll down your window as you wait for the officer to approach.
- If it is dark, turn on the interior lights.
- Place both your hands on the steering wheel so the officer can see them.
- Do not take off your seat belt, if you do the officer can write you a ticket for a seat belt violation because he did not see you wearing it.
- Don’t speak first, wait for the officer to ask you questions.
- Be respectful, it is a good idea to address the officer as officer or sir.
- When asked questions, keep your answers brief and non committal. Remember that anything you say can be used against you later so tread lightly.
- Don’t reach for your license and registration until the officer asks for them.
- Don’t exit the vehicle unless you are asked to do so.
- Remember that an officer needs probable cause to search your vehicle. You do have the right to refuse a search and the act of refusing is not probable cause for a search.
- If you feel you have been treated unfairly, do your best to avoid confrontation at the time. Instead remember the officer’s name (it will be written on his name tag, on the ticket) and file a complaint later.
If you’ve recently received a moving violation and are concerned about the affect it will have on your insurance premium, give us a call at 914-723-7100. We would be happy to discuss the possible impact of the ticket and talk you through what you can expect in the future. Advocate Brokerage makes educating each client we serve a priority so we would encourage you to call and ask any questions you may have on the subject.