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What Bad Driving Will Cost You

It’s no surprise to anyone that a driving violation will cost you.  It will cost you in the form of a traffic ticket, but it will also impact your insurance for years.  From an expired inspection sticker to a driving under the influence infraction, you will pay for these misdeeds for years to come.

A simple, seemingly harmless violation such as letting your vehicle safety inspection sticker expire will result in a blow to your insurance.  In Massachusetts for example there is a Safe Driver Insurance Plan, most states have similar programs.  The absolute best credit code to receive is 99, for licensed drivers who have been free of incidents for six or more years.    Any safety or moving violation will add substantial premium dollars.

A minor traffic law violation in Massachusetts will result in two negative points.  An expired, missing or not displaying safety and emissions inspection sticker will cost you two points.  What seems like a simple mistake, you may have just forgotten to renew it, and you think your car is up to snuff as far as safety and emissions go, is still going to hit you in your wallet.  Even leaving your vehicle unattended with the motor running is considered a two point hit in Massachusetts.   A major traffic law violation, is where the damage will really be done to your auto insurance premium, these infractions result in a five point surcharge.  Of course it could also result in a criminal penalty and prison time.  Examples of major violations are driving with a suspended license, all the way to vehicular homicide.  A minor at fault accident sounds relatively harmless, but if the damage is over $500, which is pretty easy to get to, it is a three point ding.  A little accident in the store parking lot is significant.  A major accident is considered over $2,000, again, not too hard to get to, especially if you it’s your fault and you hit an expensive car in a vulnerable spot.  That’s a whopping four points.  You could have a blind spot, back into the door of a $100,000 Mercedes and being paying for it for years.

What does the difference in points add up to?  In Massachusetts you receive somewhat of a base premium at a “00” rating, for no credit or surcharge points.  Six years of clean driving give you the “99” rating, resulting in a 17% credit across the board for affected compulsory and optional coverage’s, bodily injury and collision coverage for example.   That two point violation is going to hit you pretty hard.  After the violation you lose your 17% credit, and are at the 15% surcharge rate.  It climbs substantially higher if the offense is more serious, or other even minor offenses are accumulated.  Three points, up 30%, four points up 45%, five points up to 60%, it goes on and on to a maximum of a 675% increase off the base premium, if the license hasn’t been revoked or suspended by the 675% surcharge.  Starting at a base of $1,000, your “99” rating will show an $830 premium.   Have that little fender bender at three points, and that $830 goes to $1,300.  Driving with a suspended or revoked license will take you from $830 to $1,600, if you are fortunate enough to be allowed to drive again.  This is just per offense; it is not uncommon at all for someone to receive a two point traffic violation, and a major accident surcharge in the same year, adding up to six points, and a 75% increase in their base premium.  These points take years to come off, typically one point per year, if you are a clean driver each following year.   Of course this all varies from state to state, but the infraction laws are pretty similar, the points and surcharge adjustments vary.

The next time you are thinking about taking that “No Turn on Red”, don’t just worry about the traffic ticket, worry about that surcharge that’s going to follow you for a few years.