The True Cost of Your Speeding Ticket
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The Fiscal Times
March 27, 2014

You know that getting a ticket is going to drive up your car insurance rates – but  new numbers from InsuranceQuotes.com show that even small infractions can increase your premiums substantially.

A ticket for speeding less than 15 miles per hour over the legal limit, for example, will increase your premiums by an average of 21 percent. Other fairly minor traffic citations also have a substantial impact on your premiums, including following another vehicle too closely (a 19 percent increase), failing to signal (a 19 percent increase), and improperly using a car pool lane (18 percent).

The higher insurance costs can last up to three years, although taking a safety class can diminish the impact. “Many of these courses are offered online and can be completed in just a few hours,” InsuranceQuotes.com senior analyst Laura Adams said in a statement.

Related: The Best Time to Buy Car Insurance

DUIs and reckless driving had the most significant effect on insurance rates, pushing them up 93 percent and 82 percent, respectively. Seat belt violations were the least expensive violation, increasing premiums just 5 percent.

The average cost of car insurance is $762 per year, according to Bankrate.com. In addition to taking safety and defensive driving classes, you may be able to lower your premiums by bundling your home and auto policy with the same insurer, increasing your deductible, or switching to a pay-as-you-drive policy. Rates also vary widely based on what time of year you purchase your policy.

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Life + Money Editor Beth Braverman covers all things personal finance. Formerly a senior reporter and social media editor at MONEY magazine, she’s also held gigs as a newspaper reporter and trade magazine editor.