Everyone hates that sinking feeling that comes when you see flashing lights in the rearview mirror. Perhaps you ran a stop sign or failed to signal before turning. Maybe you were speeding along at 55 mph when the signs clearly stated a 45 mph limit. If you are lucky, you might get by with a warning; but the Bureau of Justice Statistics reports that approximately half of stopped drivers find themselves on the receiving end of a ticket.
You understand that you are financially responsible for paying the bill, but what other repercussions can you expect? How will a traffic violation affect your spotless (or flawed) driving record? Worse yet, how will it affect your car insurance? Continue reading to find out more about how Wisconsin traffic tickets influence your coverage and what you can do to minimize the consequences.
Possible Outcomes after a Ticket
There are many possible insurance-related consequences after you receive a ticket, many of which depend upon your record prior to committing the violation. Examples include:
- Higher Rates (insurers consider multiple violations an indication of high risk)
- Disqualification for Discounts (some insurers offer discounts to ‘safe’ drivers)
- Loss of Coverage (private insurers may drop coverage on drivers with serious violations)
What You Can Do
Ultimately, your driving record plays a very important role in the type of insurance coverage you qualify for and how much you will pay for it. However, some violations have more of an impact than others. A citation for reckless driving, for example, can raise your rates by as much as 22 percent. A minor speeding ticket, however, may raise your rates by just 11 percent or less.
You may not be able to go back in time and prevent yourself from getting a ticket, but there are some steps you can take to minimize the fallout from your traffic violation.
Take a Defensive Driving Course
The Wisconsin Department of Transportation works together with the Wisconsin Technical College System to offer approved defensive driving courses to drivers who wish to reduce the number of demerit points levied against their driving record by a traffic ticket. Completion of an approved course may qualify drivers for a reduction in insurance premiums or qualify drivers for a dismissal of a traffic ticket altogether, which may prevent insurance rates from rising at all. It is important to note that drivers can take an approved defensive driving course as often as they would like to learn valuable driving safety skills, but Wisconsin only allows for a reduction in demerit points once every three years.
Shop Around for Coverage
The impact of a traffic ticket on your car insurance premiums is solely at the discretion of the insurer. Some insurance companies have a higher risk tolerance for small moving violations than others. Likewise, some may overlook a minor first-time violation altogether. This is sometimes referred to as “Accident forgiveness” on TV advertisements. A traffic ticket does not have to sentence you to years of high premiums, especially if you choose an independent insurance agency like Wolfgram Insurance to shop for coverage.
For more information about how a traffic ticket could affect your insurance or to request your very own Waukesha car insurance quote, contact our office today. We look forward to serving you soon.