I Got a Ticket. Now What?Auto Smarts
It’s just one of those days. You’re running late for work and traffic is testing your patience. Suddenly, you spot an open lane and nudge past the speed limit. In a split second, those dreaded lights and blaring sirens appear behind you, and you find yourself at the receiving end of a speeding ticket.
There are few things more aggravating than getting slapped with a moving violation. Even a minor offense can snowball into strikes against your driving record and increased auto insurance premiums.
As frustrating as it is though, it’s never a good idea to put that ticket on the back burner. Taking proactive steps to resolve the situation may help minimize any penalties or residual effects.
Here are some options to consider:
1. Do you pay the fine?
Paying the fine is one way to resolve the ticket and put the whole incident behind you.
When you pay the fine, you admit you’re guilty, and accept a conviction that may show up as points in your Motor Vehicle Report. (The bad news is those points can linger on your license for up to three years depending on the state where you were ticketed.)
Then, let’s say your insurance company checks your report when it comes time to renew your policy. Those points can raise a red flag and you may see your premium increase.
Keep in mind that your carrier may be more forgiving of a first time offense. Farmers, for instance, usually forgives a first time violation and won’t raise your rates (as long as the violation happens while you’re covered and no one files a claim). *
However, if you’ve racked up multiple moving violations within a short time frame, some carriers will jack up your premium, or even cancel your coverage.
Some types of tickets may impact your auto insurance rates more than others. A reckless driving or DUI first offense, for instance, carries more weight than a speeding or failure to stop at a red light citation.
If you don’t pay the ticket, you have other options. Enrolling in traffic school (if you’re eligible), or fighting the ticket in court may increase your chances of getting your fine reduced or having the charges dismissed.
2. Attend traffic school
Although traffic school is no fun, sometimes it may be worth your while to endure it. Some states will let you attend driving school in exchange for erasing the ticket from your record, or removing points from your license.
Generally speaking though, you may only be eligible to attend driving school in exchange for a clean slate if you have a good driving record or have only been ticketed for a minor offense.
3. Contest the ticket in court
Let’s face it, no one wants to deal with the headache of fighting a ticket in traffic court. Taking time off from work and court costs alone are enough to keep you far away.
Don’t write off a court appearance completely though. It may work in your favor if you can prove your innocence. It’s possible you could walk away with a reduced fine, or even clear the charge from your record entirely.
Granted, there’s no upside to a traffic ticket -- especially when you’re faced with higher premiums, but Farmers’ incident forgiveness coverage can help. Because even good drives make mistakes, you won’t see an increase in rates from a citation (as long as no claim is filed).* *
Talk to your Famers’ agent ahead of time and find out what types of car insurance options are available.
Remember, you could qualify for discounts if you’re a safe driver, and help keep those rates down! Here are 5 ways to lower car insurance premiums.
* Benefit may not be available in all policies and may vary by state.
** Benefit only apply to violations received while you’re covered with Farmers, any prior incidents are excluded.
The information contained in this page is provided for general informational purposes only, and is not meant as professional or expert advice. Every attempt is made to ensure accuracy and timeliness, however all content is presented without guarantees.
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