The 10 Worst Types of Tickets for Your Car Insurance Rate

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Woman begging police not to write a ticket
michaeljung /

Accidentally run a red light or drive a little too fast, and you may get a ticket. But that is just the start of your worries.

Many types of traffic violations can drive your car insurance premium dramatically higher, according to a study from insurance comparison tool The Zebra.

For example, blow through a red light, and your rate can be expected to jump by an average of 22.6%. That could cost you an extra $335 in your annual premium, The Zebra says in its 2021 State of Auto Insurance Report.

Tickets for more serious offenses can prove especially costly. For example, a hit-and-run can increase your premium by as much as 73%, on average.

Below are 10 violations that increase premiums by an average of more than 25% over the course of a year, according to The Zebra.

  • Passing a school bus: 28.5% ($421)
  • Operating a vehicle without permission: 28.6% ($424)
  • Driving with an open container: 36.4% ($536)
  • At-fault accident: 31.1% ($461)
  • Reckless driving: 61.1% ($906)
  • Driving with a suspended license: 61.3% ($909)
  • Refusing a breathalyzer/chemical test: 63.6% ($943)
  • DUI: 65.5% ($971)
  • Racing: 67.2% ($997)
  • Hit-and-run: 73% ($1,083)

Lowering your car insurance costs

Clearly, it pays to drive carefully and obey the law. But there are other ways to lower your car insurance costs as well.

Perhaps the best tip for trimming your car insurance costs is to shop around. You can do this by calling around to different insurers or filling out forms on their websites, or you can let a service like The Zebra or Gabi do all that homework for you.

Sometimes you can save by dropping coverage you no longer need, such as comprehensive and collision coverage.

As Money Talks News founder Stacy Johnson writes in “How to Get the Best Possible Deal on Car Insurance”:

“The rule of thumb when it comes to comp and collision: If the premiums exceed 10% of the value of your car, you might consider dropping the coverage.”

Lastly, you might qualify for a break on your car insurance that you already have. For more, check out “5 Memberships That Offer Car Insurance Discounts.”

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