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It's not just DUIs — careless driving will make your insurance rates go up

3 minute read

Michigan residents caught speeding just once, even 5 miles over the speed limit, can expect their premium to go up by 48 percent. For two tickets, it’s more than triple that.

Most drivers know that DUIs will make their insurance rates go up, but many may not know that relatively minor driving infractions, like speeding and careless driving, will also make your insurance premiums go up, according to a study from insuranceQuotes. Some states have it way worse than others.

Sure, driving under the influence or driving while intoxicated will make your rates spike by around 96 percent, but even so much as getting caught not wearing your seatbelt will make your premiums spike by 7 percent.

The insuranceQuotes study shows that while nothing is worse than a DUI/DWI, reckless driving is the second-worst thing. While careless driving is usually a momentarily lapse in judgment, reckless driving is intentional; it means you intentionally acted in a way that was harmful while driving. Next to driving under the influence, it’s the biggest offense there is.

moving violation increases

Minor offenses still see major rate hikes

Getting a ticket, regardless of the offense, will make your premiums go up. But how much you pay varies greatly on the state you live in. For Michiganders, two speeding tickets, even for the lowest speeding infraction of 1-15 miles per hour over the speed limit, will cause their premiums to go up by 150 percent. Their rates average more than $3,000 a year. Even California residents, who see the second-highest rate hike of 100 percent, don’t pay more than $1,630 on average annually for the same offense.

Other states don’t have the same high jump; many are much lower. Maryland has the lowest premium increases for one low-grade speeding ticket at 10 percent. New York has the lowest jump two for tickets (21.6 percent). These are just for speeding offenses. Imagine how expensive your insurance would be for careless or reckless driving, or a DUI.

Around the country, driving under the influence will cost you an extra $1,086 in premiums for the first offense. For the second offense, you’re looking at paying more than $2,000 a year. Again: Some states have higher punishments for these offenses.

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In North Carolina, a DUI will make your rates jump by nearly 300 percent. Hawaii — the state with the second-highest jump — is at 209 percent. In fact, in Hawaii, reckless driving and a DUI have the same premium hikes.

While Hawaii has the highest premium increase for speeding 30+ miles per hour over the limit (100.7 percent), the state doesn’t seem to mind careless driving too much, as they have the eighth-lowest increase in the country (19.1 percent).

Kevin Lynch, an associate professor at The American College of Financial Services, told insuranceQuotes these drastic differences in punishment come down to the varied ways that states regulate insurance.

“There are 50 states and 50 different state insurance commissioners. The legislature in your state passes laws about what insurance companies are allowed to do when it comes to raising rates,” Lynch says. “So if a certain insurance company in a certain state wants to raise premiums on people with certain driving habits and points and violations, that’s within their right to do so if the state says they can.”

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About the Author

Dori Zinn

Dori Zinn

Dori Zinn is a full-time freelance journalist based in Fort Lauderdale, Fla. She’s president of Blossomers Media, Inc., a web development and online media consulting company. Along with her work on, she’s been a longtime freelancer for Money Talks News — a personal and consumer finance website — and South Florida Gay News — the largest weekly LGBT newspaper in the South.Zinn has written for a variety of other publications, including Huffington Post, The Week, Quartz, Fort Lauderdale Magazine, Indulge, and

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