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What to Do If You Get a Traffic Ticket

If you get a traffic ticket, paying the fine is only a small part of the cost. The main damage usually results from an increase in your car insurance cost.

In a worst-case scenario, a traffic ticket can raise your car insurance rates for up to five years as a result.

You could lose a good-driver discount, which can be as high as 20% - although many insurance companies let your first ticket slide.

Many insurers add a surcharge to your policy - usually around $150 per ticket for up to 3 years. Others may raise your rates by up to 20%.

Some states prevent insurance companies from raising your rates as long as you only get one traffic ticket every 3 years.

What to Do if You Get a Ticket

The best strategy is to avoid getting a ticket by driving carefully and obeying the traffic laws, but if you do get one, it always pays to fight it in court if needed.

You always have the chance of winning for a good reason or if the police officer doesn't show up. Pro tip: When getting a traffic ticket, refrain from getting angry at the officer. Don't say things like "I'll see you in court". Otherwise, the officer will make a special effort to be present.

Even if you lose in court, the judge may reduce the fine and points, especially if you have a good driving record.

If it's your first or even second traffic ticket, you may not even need to go to court to have it expelled from your driving record.

Many states allow you to go to traffic school (which you can attend online these days), and as a result, the ticket will not appear on your record or affect your car insurance.

My Recommendation for Car Shoppers

TrueCar No-Haggle and Edmunds Price Promise are the quickest way to see the lowest car prices in your area. These sites show you no-haggle prices from dealers closest to you - and the deals are usually really good. This should be the first step you take when negotiating your car price. Follow this up with my checklist to make sure you squeeze out every last bit of savings.
- Gregg Fidan

Gregg Fidan

About: Gregg Fidan

Gregg Fidan + is the founder of RealCarTips. After being ripped off on his first car purchase, he devoted several years to figuring out the best ways to avoid scams and negotiate the best car deals. He has written hundreds of articles on the subject of car buying and taught thousands of car shoppers how to get the best deals.

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