You know the usual suspects that will cause you a penalty for your auto insurance: a speeding ticket, running a red light, causing an accident. All things you expect to make your insurance rates go up. But did you know that now you can get an auto insurance penalty from getting a ticket for texting while driving?
Seriously! Many cities and states are cracking down on distracted driving tickets, and insurance companies are paying attention. The statistics don’t lie, and distracted driving is incredibly dangerous. Sending that text while you’re driving could cost you a lot.
How Will a Distracted Driving Ticket Affect My Auto Insurance Premiums?
In 2011, a single ticket for distracted driving – which is what a texting while driving ticket ultimately is – added about $2/year to your insurance premium cost, no matter if you had comprehensive insurance, a huge deductible, or something in between.
In 2018? It added nearly $300/year, which is approximately a 10,000% increase in penalty. 10,000%!
This number jumps, too, when you start to stack the tickets. If you’ve got an auto insurance penalty from, say, a speeding ticket and a distracted driving ticket, you can expect to spend hundreds extra every year.
And these numbers don’t go away in a single year. You can see this increase in premiums for several years. Ignoring the initial ticket fee – which could be a few dollars to a few hundred dollars – a ticket for texting while driving could cost you $1,000 or more in insurance premiums over the years.
Not All States Take Distracted Driving Seriously… Yet
Know that your comprehensive insurance coverage might not go up that much if you have a ticket for distracted driving at this moment, but that is rapidly changing.
While these penalties still pale in comparison to, say, a DUI charge or other “major” driving violation, they are being taken a lot more seriously. And for good reason.
It’s estimated that approximately 27% of all car crashes in 2015 were directly caused by cell phone use, with 3,477 drivers and passengers killed and another 391,000 injured.
Can I Reduce My Insurance Rate?
If you’re looking to reduce your comprehensive insurance rate because of fees associated with a distracted driving ticket, a speeding ticket, or another reason, there are a few options for you.
The first is to increase your auto insurance deductible. This is what you pay out of pocket after an accident. The higher your deductible, the lower your premium is going to be.
This is not ideal if you are a person that gets into a lot of accidents, though. No judgment! Just a fact.
If you’ve got comprehensive insurance on an older, high mileage car, you should reevaluate that. Do you need all that insurance on a vehicle that probably won’t last that much longer? Probably not. Insurance for hail or flooding could be avoided.
While the times are changing, keeping your credit score high and your payments up to date does play a factor in your insurance. In addition, don’t ever let your insurance payments lapse! Even a day or two can increase your rates significantly.
Finally, if you only drive a bit, consider auto insurance on a “usage-based” system. Most traditional and start-up auto insurance companies offer this, and you pay a small base fee, plus play for the coverage that you use. If you only drive a few times a month, this is perfect for you.