It’s bound to happen to most us. We either are speeding consciously and get caught or don’t realize how fast we are going and get caught. Either way, it’s no fun sitting on the side of the road waiting to receive your punishment. In addition to the monetary fine you have to pay, you might be assessed points on your driving record as well. The fact that points are added to your record means that the possibility of auto insurance premiums increase too.
How to Know if your Ticket Will Raise Your Premium
The best way to know is to call your insurance agent. When I was pulled over last year for speeding, I had just switched to a new provider. I was worried about increased premium, but also of the new insurance company dropping me. Luckily neither happened. I was told by my rep that I am allowed two moving violations per rolling 12 month period, without increase to my premium. These moving violations must be minor however, meaning the speed I was going over the limit must be under 10 miles per hour.
However, if I were speeding 20 miles per hour over the limit or more, that is considered a major violation and my premium increases on the first conviction. Note that these are moving violations and have nothing to do with getting into a physical accident with another driver. That is a different ball game.
An Easy Option to Possibly Avoid Premium Increase
Recently, my girlfriend was driving to a client site for work and was caught speeding. She was going 20 miles per hour over the posted limit. In our state, this means she is assessed four points. Once you hit six points, you have to take a test and you risk losing your license or having it suspended.
You have two options for avoiding the points and possible premium increase. The first is to fight the ticket. I am opposed to this if you are guilty of speeding and you are simply trying to get off. You committed the offense and got caught. Learn from it and move on. If on the other hand you have a valid reason, then you can try to fight the ticket. You may be able to avoid the points and just pay the fine, but the judge will decide that for you.
The easiest option is to check with your state’s Department of Motor Vehicles. In most cases, they offer a defensive driver’s course that you can take. This test is given online and in my state, costs $30. You read the material and take mini-quizzes at the end of each chapter. When you are finished with the material, you take the full test. It’s a multiple choice test that is not timed. You need to score an 80% to pass. The best part is, if you don’t pass it the first time, you can keep trying until you do. After you pass, the state will mail you a certificate as proof of completion. You then forward it to your insurance company.
The most important thing to do before signing up and taking the test is to first call up your insurance company to verify they will honor the course. Most do, but it’s better to make sure they accept it as opposed to taking the class and then finding out that it will not offset the points you were assessed.
Taking a defensive driving course is a great option for anyone who has received a ticket with points and wants to limit the increase of their insurance premium. As I mentioned before, I suggest you call your insurance company before taking the test to make sure they will honor it. I would also suggest verifying what happens when you submit the certificate in regards to you points.
Finally, I would also suggest that you look into this course even if you don’t have points. Some insurance carriers will provide you with a discount just for taking this course.
Readers, have you taken an online course to avoid points or avoid insurance premium increases?