The Worst Traffic Violation for Your Car Insurance in Every State

Young man on phone after car accident
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Editor's Note: This story originally appeared on The Zebra.

If you’ve been caught speeding or forgetting to use your turn signal, traffic ticket fines are not the only price you’ll pay for breaking the rules of the road. You can also face steep penalties when it comes to your car insurance costs.

Drivers who have recent tickets or car accidents on their driving record are considered higher risk (i.e., more likely to file an insurance claim). That means insurers will typically charge them higher rates.

How much more drivers have to pay for car insurance depends both on the type of violation and where they live. For example, a Pennsylvania driver could pay 13% more for insurance after getting a speeding ticket, while a North Carolina driver could pay 48% more for the same offense.

Here we take a look at how common traffic tickets and claims affect car insurance rates nationally, and the violations with the biggest impact in each state.

A single traffic ticket can raise car insurance costs as much as 82%

Surprised woman lowering her eyeglasses
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The traffic violation with the single biggest impact on car insurance rates is leaving the scene of an accident — a “hit and run.” Drivers charged with this crime can expect to pay on average 82% (or $1,200+) more per year for car insurance.

However, insurance penalties for traffic violations don’t always line up with what drivers may assume is the most dangerous driving behavior. Getting a ticket for driving too slowly, for example, can spike rates nearly as much as speeding in a school zone.

Here is how much violations raise typical car insurance rates.

  • Hit and run: 82.2% ($1,209)
  • Refusal of breathalyzer/chemical test: 74.1% ($1,089)
  • DUI: 73.9% ($1,086)
  • Racing: 73.7% ($1,084)
  • Reckless driving: 70.4% ($1,034)
  • Driving with a suspended license: 62.4% ($918)
  • At-fault accident: 42.0% ($617)
  • Driving with an open container: 34.9% ($513)
  • Operating a vehicle without permission: 32.8% ($482)
  • Passing a school bus: 27.0% ($398)
  • Improper passing: 23.4% ($344)
  • Following too closely: 23.3% ($342)
  • Speeding*: 23.2% ($341)
  • Failure to stop at a red light: 22.7% ($333)
  • Illegal turn: 22.6% ($332)
  • Driving wrong way/wrong lane: 22.5% ($331)
  • Failure to yield: 22.4% ($330)
  • Speeding in school zone: 21.0% ($308)
  • Driving too slowly: 20.7% ($305)
  • Distracted driving/cellphone violation: 19.7% ($290)
  • Driving with expired registration: 10.9% ($161)
  • Failure to show documents: 8.7% ($128)
  • Not-at-fault accident: 6.7% ($98)
  • Failure to use child safety restraint: 4.3% ($63)
  • Failure to wear a seat belt: 4.0% ($59)
  • Driving without lights: 3.4% ($51)

*Speeding violations aggregated. See below.

Drivers can also face insurance penalties for getting into car accidents and filing claims for the damage. Who was at fault, the size of the claim, and the terms of the driver’s insurance policy can all impact whether and how much a claim raises rates.

A medical or personal injury claim pays for medical treatments and recovery costs for those injured in a car accident. A comprehensive claim pays for damage not caused by an accident. This includes theft, vandalism, animal, and weather damage.

The more severe the violation, the bigger the insurance penalty

Surprised older man
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While violations like not buckling your seatbelt are pretty straightforward, others come with degrees of severity. If you’re caught speeding, for example, just how fast you were going over the speed limit will impact the size of your insurance penalty.

Getting ticketed for driving 6-10 mph over the speed limit increases car insurance rates about 20%, while speeding 21-25 mph over the limit raises rates almost 26%.

The most expensive violations vary by state

Surprised woman reading a letter
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Getting a ticket for a driving violation can raise your car insurance rate no matter where you live, but the additional costs vary dramatically across state lines.

For example, a drunk or drugged driving violation (DUI) can increase rates 181% ($3,200+) in California, while in Indiana the same offense raises rates only 42% ($480+).

Why? It all comes down to differences in risk, and how insurance is rated and regulated from state to state.

It’s important to remember that some insurance companies may assign lower penalties — or none at all — even in states where drivers tend to see steep cost spikes for violations, so it’s always important to compare insurance quotes.

Following are the violations with the biggest impact on car insurance rates in each state across the U.S. After that, we cover what drivers need to know about driving violations, including how long they affect rates.

Alabama

Birmingham, Alabama
Sean Pavone / Shutterstock.com

Most expensive violation: Hit and run

Percentage increase with violation: 71.5%

Cost increase with violation: $992

Alaska

Alaska
Christopher Boswell / Shutterstock.com

Most expensive violation: Hit and run

Percentage increase with violation: 65.2%

Cost increase with violation: $781

Arizona

Phoenix, Arizona
welcomia / Shutterstock.com

Most expensive violation: Hit and run

Percentage increase with violation: 140.5%

Cost increase with violation: $1,820

Arkansas

RaksyBH / Shutterstock.com

Most expensive violation: Hit and run

Percentage increase with violation: 52.7%

Cost increase with violation: $788

California

Santa Clara, California
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Most expensive violation: Hit and run; refusal of breathalyzer/chemical test; DUI; reckless driving

Percentage increase with violation: 181.0%

Cost increase with violation: $3,286

Colorado

Denver, Colorado
f11photo / Shutterstock.com

Most expensive violation: Hit and run

Percentage increase with violation: 58.0%

Cost increase with violation: $975

Connecticut

Hartford, Connecticut
Sean Pavone / Shutterstock.com

Most expensive violation: Hit and run; racing

Percentage increase with violation: 94.3%

Cost increase with violation: $1,461

Delaware

Delaware
mandritoiu / Shutterstock.com

Most expensive violation: Hit and run

Percentage increase with violation: 89.4%

Cost increase with violation: $1,635

District of Columbia

Washington, D.C. traffic with Capitol Building in background
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Most expensive violation: Hit and run

Percentage increase with violation: 68.9%

Cost increase with violation: $1,031

Florida

Highway in Florida Keys
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Most expensive violation: Hit and run

Percentage increase with violation: 55.6%

Cost increase with violation: $1,146

Georgia

Sandy Springs, Georgia
Alan Hettinger / Shutterstock.com

Most expensive violation: Hit and run

Percentage increase with violation: 91.8%

Cost increase with violation: $1,421

Hawaii

Honolulu, Hawaii
MNStudio / Shutterstock.com

Most expensive violation: Hit and run

Percentage increase with violation: 397.4%

Cost increase with violation: $4,296

Idaho

Idaho state capital building
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Most expensive violation: Hit and run

Percentage increase with violation: 65.8%

Cost increase with violation: $670

Illinois

Chicago, Illinois
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Most expensive violation: Driving with a suspended license

Percentage increase with violation: 55.7%

Cost increase with violation: $681

Indiana

Lafayette Indiana
Alex Krassel / Shutterstock.com

Most expensive violation: Hit and run; racing; driving with a suspended license

Percentage increase with violation: 52.8%

Cost increase with violation: $607

Iowa

Sheldon, Iowa
Joel McCartan / Shutterstock.com

Most expensive violation: Hit and run; racing; reckless driving

Percentage increase with violation: 72.4%

Cost increase with violation: $715

Kansas

Kansas Capitol
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Most expensive violation: Hit and run

Percentage increase with violation: 43.8%

Cost increase with violation: $646

Kentucky

Jantira Namwong / Shutterstock.com

Most expensive violation: Hit and run

Percentage increase with violation: 55%

Cost increase with violation: $1,053

Louisiana

New Orleans Louisiana
Tim Roberts Photography / Shutterstock.com

Most expensive violation: Driving with a suspended license

Percentage increase with violation: 50.4%

Cost increase with violation: $1,179

Maine

Bangor, Maine
jiawangkun / Shutterstock.com

Most expensive violation: Hit and run; racing

Percentage increase with violation: 58.4%

Cost increase with violation: $523

Maryland

Annapolis, Maryland
Sean Pavone / Shutterstock.com

Most expensive violation: Hit and run

Percentage increase with violation: 53.5%

Cost increase with violation: $710

Massachusetts

Worcester, Massachusetts
Sean Pavone / Shutterstock.com

Most expensive violation: Driving with a suspended license

Percentage increase with violation: 99.9%

Cost increase with violation: $1,275

Michigan

Houghton Michigan
Jacob Boomsma / Shutterstock.com

Most expensive violation: Hit and run; reckless driving

Percentage increase with violation: 182.6%

Cost increase with violation: $4,917

Minnesota

Minneapolis
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Most expensive violation: Hit and run; reckless driving; driving with a suspended license

Percentage increase with violation: 62.8%

Cost increase with violation: $809

Mississippi

Burlington Iowa
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Most expensive violation: Hit and run

Percentage increase with violation: 58.9%

Cost increase with violation: $905

Missouri

Kansas City Missouri traffic highways
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Most expensive violation: Driving with a suspended license

Percentage increase with violation: 43.6%

Cost increase with violation: $614

Montana

Livingston, Montana
Nick Fox / Shutterstock.com

Most expensive violation: Hit and run

Percentage increase with violation: 53.5%

Cost increase with violation: $743

Nebraska

Lincoln, Nebraska
Victor Wong / Shutterstock.com

Most expensive violation: Reckless driving

Percentage increase with violation: 61.3%

Cost increase with violation: $788

Nevada

Reno, Nevada
Andrew Zarivny / Shutterstock.com

Most expensive violation: Hit and run; racing; reckless driving; driving with a suspended license

Percentage increase with violation: 63.9%

Cost increase with violation: $1,223

New Hampshire

Manchester, New Hampshire
Wangkun Jia / Shutterstock.com

Most expensive violation: Racing

Percentage increase with violation: 102.4%

Cost increase with violation: $1,132

New Jersey

Vineland, New Jersey
Nick Vendetta / Shutterstock.com

Most expensive violation: Refusal of breathalyzer/chemical test; DUI

Percentage increase with violation: 74.2%

Cost increase with violation: $1,239

New Mexico

New Mexico road amid desert, mountains
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Most expensive violation: Hit and run

Percentage increase with violation: 65.7%

Cost increase with violation: $887

New York

New York City
Songquan Deng / Shutterstock.com

Most expensive violation: Hit and run

Percentage increase with violation: 82.0%

Cost increase with violation: $1,385

North Carolina

Winston-Salem, North Carolina
Sean Pavone / Shutterstock.com

Most expensive violation: Hit and run; racing

Percentage increase with violation: 360.3%

Cost increase with violation: $3,411

North Dakota

Fargo, North Dakota
Jacob Boomsma / Shutterstock.com

Most expensive violation: Hit and run; racing; driving with a suspended license

Percentage increase with violation: 64.7%

Cost increase with violation: $857

Ohio

Cleveland Ohio
Rudy Balasko / Shutterstock.com

Most expensive violation: At-fault accident

Percentage increase with violation: 84.0%

Cost increase with violation: $867

Oklahoma

Oklahoma City, Oklahoma traffic highways
Gerson Repreza / Shutterstock.com

Most expensive violation: Hit and run

Percentage increase with violation: 55.6%

Cost increase with violation: $868

Oregon

Portland, Oregon
photomatz / Shutterstock.com

Most expensive violation: Hit and run

Percentage increase with violation: 54.3%

Cost increase with violation: $756

Pennsylvania

Philadelphia, downtown evening rush hour.
Sean Pavone / Shutterstock.com

Most expensive violation: Hit and run; racing; driving with a suspended license

Percentage increase with violation: 81.1%

Cost increase with violation: $1,127

Rhode Island

Providence, Rhode Island
Sean Pavone / Shutterstock.com

Most expensive violation: Hit and run

Percentage increase with violation: 94.5%

Cost increase with violation: $1,995

South Carolina

Spartanburg, South Carolina
Kevin Ruck / Shutterstock.com

Most expensive violation: Hit and run

Percentage increase with violation: 60.3%

Cost increase with violation: $826

South Dakota

Sioux Falls, South Dakota
Jacob Boomsma / Shutterstock.com

Most expensive violation: Hit and run

Percentage increase with violation: 59.1%

Cost increase with violation: $792

Tennessee

Knoxville, Tennessee
Kevin Ruck / Shutterstock.com

Most expensive violation: Racing

Percentage increase with violation: 57.4%

Cost increase with violation: $820

Texas

Corpus Christi Texas
Sean Pavone / Shutterstock.com

Most expensive violation: At-fault accident

Percentage increase with violation: 43.8%

Cost increase with violation: $801

Utah

Salt Lake City, Utah
f11photo / Shutterstock.com

Most expensive violation: Driving with a suspended license

Percentage increase with violation: 46.6%

Cost increase with violation: $564

Vermont

Vermont
steve estvanik / Shutterstock.com

Most expensive violation: Hit and run

Percentage increase with violation: 87.9%

Cost increase with violation: $946

Virginia

Richmond, Virginia
Sean Pavone / Shutterstock.com

Most expensive violation: Hit and run

Percentage increase with violation: 67.6%

Cost increase with violation: $620

Washington

Checubus / Shutterstock.com

Most expensive violation: Hit and run

Percentage increase with violation: 64.3%

Cost increase with violation: $776

West Virginia

West Virginia
Sean Pavone / Shutterstock.com

Most expensive violation: Hit and run

Percentage increase with violation: 76.8%

Cost increase with violation: $1,090

Wisconsin

Madison, Wisconsin
Ian M Johnson / Shutterstock.com

Most expensive violation: Driving with a suspended license

Percentage increase with violation: 64.3%

Cost increase with violation: $687

Wyoming

Sheridan, Wyoming
Sandra Foyt / Shutterstock.com

Most expensive violation: Hit and run

Percentage increase with violation: 72.5%

Cost increase with violation: $996

What drivers need to know about driving violations

Woman begging police not to write a ticket
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Driving violations can impact insurance rates for years (but not forever)

Insurers typically consider violations on your record for three years after the infraction, though certain activities can impact auto insurance rates even longer. A DUI violation in California, for example, will impact a driver’s insurance rate for 10 years.

While violations often no longer count after three years, drivers usually aren’t eligible for “good driver” discounts, which can further lower rates, until they’ve been violation-free for five years.

Insurance penalties can cost more than the traffic ticket itself

The insurance impact of most driving violations is often far more costly than the ticket itself, especially when you consider how costs endure for several years.

The legal fine for a speeding ticket is about $150 on average. On top of that, ticketed drivers are likely to see their car insurance costs rise $340+ per year — for three years — after the violation. That means one speeding ticket can cost drivers more than $1,000 in insurance penalties alone.

Insurance penalties after a violation differ from company to company

How heavily you’re penalized for a traffic ticket differs from one insurance company to the next, just like it differs from state to state. While most insurers increase rates for drivers with violations, some may charge you less than others.

In addition to comparing rates to find the best deal, you may be able to lower your insurance rate by participating in a driver safety course accepted by your insurer.

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