What to Do If You Get a Traffic TicketIf 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.
Each week, I'll keep you up-to-date on the latest car deals and news that might affect your purchase. This includes...
- Best Rebates, Incentives, and Lease Deals
- Latest Car Buying Scams and Tricks
- The Best & Worst Time to Buy a Car
- Which Cars You Should Avoid