That’s the Ticket: Keeping Your Car Insurance Low After a Traffic Ticket
Do you find yourself one of the 34 million people who received a speeding ticket in the U.S. this year? Or maybe you are part of the group that received a ticket for various other driving violations. Well, now you have some decisions to make. Are you going to contest the ticket? Should you adjust your insurance coverage to avoid a drastic increase in premiums? Can you enroll in traffic school to wipe your record clean?Completely unsure of the best path to take and minimize your risk? We’ve all been there and each come out with different results. Therefore the best way to prevent your situation from becoming worse is providing yourself with the knowledge to minimize the penalty.
What You Can Do to Prevent a Ticket (or Another Ticket)
Drive Safe: Don’t Be Reckless! Obey the rules of the road and practice defensive driving. Behind the wheel of a car is no time to be risky. Look ahead for potential hazards and make sure that you leave yourself enough distance between you and the car ahead. If anything should happen, that will give you some extra precious seconds to make a smart decision that can save your life. Also, it can help you avoid stupid mistakes that can lead to that dreaded sound of sirens. Remember, traffic tickets are 100% avoidable.
If You Are Pulled Over: First of all, avoid immediately admitting guilt. You do not want to end up inviting more tickets for something that may not have been noticed. Second, always be respectful to the officer. Arguing will get you nowhere. Do not take the situation personally; they are just doing their job. Third, explain any circumstances that may have led to your violation of the law. If a car swerved and forced you into the carpool lane, recount the events. And, finally, always be serious. Do not assume that you will be able to talk your way out of a ticket.
What You Can Do After the Ticket
To Contest or Not to Contest?: You might have a situation which allows you to contest the ticket. If there are other reasons for your driving behavior or you disagree with the officer’s decision, you have the option to fight it. Of course, this is only available to you until you pay the fine. After you pay, there is no going back. Additionally, take photographic evidence if it will support your case. Also, make sure you know exactly what codes you are accused of violating. Do you have witnesses? Do you have a legitimate reason for your actions? Was the code violation for the purpose of preventing harm to yourself or others? In special situations, you can fight the ticket.
Traffic School: If you are given a traffic ticket, one thing you can do to mitigate the effect on your insurance is taking a safe driving course. Some states will even erase the ticket from your record if you successfully complete an online driving course. Research the options available to you. Of course, this usually requires that you have a valid driver’s license and have not completed traffic school for another ticket within the last 18 months. In addition, the violation must have been a non-alcohol-related misdemeanor.
Ask Your Insurance Company: Remember, knowledge is power. It is always a good idea to know how traffic tickets might affect your insurance premiums. Be proactive by calling and asking questions. This effect might be more significant with some companies than others. In those cases, it could actually be cheaper to cancel your insurance and switch to a different provider.