A recent survey of American drivers conducted by InsuranceQuotes.com surprisingly concluded that only 31 percent of the participants who had received a traffic ticket within the last 5 years were paying more for car insurance. In New York, the interplay between traffic tickets and insurance rates is easy to understand.
Under Insurance Law Section 2335, New York auto insurance companies can raise a driver’s insurance rates for a number of reasons. The ones involving the issuance of a moving violation are set forth below:
- Driver is convicted of driving sixteen (16) miles per hour (or more) over the limit
- Driver has been convicted of speeding and/or reckless driving on 3 or more occasions
- Driver has been convicted of speeding or reckless driving where injury or death results
- Driver is convicted of driving while intoxicated or impaired (alcohol or drugs)
- Driver is convicted of leaving the scene of an accident without reporting it
- Driver is convicted or 2 or more moving violations that are not listed above
So what does this mean? If you convicted of any of the above offenses, then an insurance company can raise your rates. It is not mandatory, however.
For a driver with a clean record (i.e., no points, no accidents), a conviction to just one “small” moving violations (i.e., those not listed above) will NOT result in your insurance rates being raised. Examples of such offenses are speeding (15 mph or less), disobeying a stop sign, running a red light, failing to signal and making an improper turn. A second conviction, however, for a “small” offense can be used against you to increase your rates.
The InsuranceQuotes survey also discussed why a motorist’s rates may not be raised due to a traffic ticket (even if the insurance company has the right to raise them). It explained that it is expensive for insurance companies to run driving records for all of its insureds and that, if an insured has no accident or claims, they are not likely to bother to do so for renewing insureds. On the other hand, for those applying for new coverage, they almost always run their records.
With that said, we still recommend to our clients that they fight any of the charges listed above because, if their rates were to be raised, it would be expensive, the effects of such a raise lasting for 36 months.