How Long does a Traffic Ticket Stay on Your Record?


how-long-does-a-traffic-ticket-stay-on-your-recordAnd what does that mean for your car insurance rates?


First, the bad news: Your driving record is forever.

Any conviction for a speeding ticket or other moving violation (a car crash, illegal cell phone use or DUI) stay on your record (unless they are expunged by court order).

Now, the good news: even though these convictions remain on your driving record forever, they’ll typically only affect your insurance rates for a few years.

Your Driving Record & Car Insurance Rate

The rules for how long your insurance rates will be affected by a moving violation or a collision you caused don’t vary much by state. For any particular violation, there is “a chargeable period” after which an offense will no longer affect your insurance rate.

Chargeable periods (true for almost every state):

  • Moving violation (speeding tickets, cell phone violations): 3 years from the date of the offense
  • At-fault crashes: 3 years from the date of the offense, though after 3 years, an at-fault collision can still affect your insurance rates for 2 more years; from year 3 through year 5, you’ll be ineligible for an additional Good Driver discount, meaning you’ll pay more than you would had you not had the crash
  • DUI: 3 years from the date of the offense in every state except California, where a DUI will impact your insurance rate for 10 years.

When you’re shopping for insurance, agents will ask you about your violation and crash history. Be truthful because they will find out anyway – and dishonesty can negatively impact your rate.

Car insurance companies use a motor vehicle report to determine each driver’s rate. Each driver’s MVR comes from the state’s department of transportation and shows any moving violation or collision for which a police officer wrote a report. More offenses will likely mean higher car insurance rates, but each company works out the particulars a little differently.

So how much will each incident cost you each year? Here are estimates based on national averages:

  • Cell phone violation (including texting): $31
  • Speeding 6-10 miles over the limit: $270
  • Speeding in a school zone: $278
  • Speeding 11-15 over: $281
  • Speeding 16-20 over: $305
  • Speeding 21-25 over: $330
  • Speeding in a 65 mph zone: $387
  • At-fault crash: $612
  • Reckless driving: $997
  • Racing: $1,045
  • DUI: $1,057

Your actual policy increases will vary, of course, by your insurance company and by the rest of your profile. Remember, these increases are for 3 years, except where the fines stick around longer (like a DUI in California).

The most important point of this information is to drive safely. Fewer incidents and collisions keep your driving record and insurance rates in better shape.

Do you have additional questions about auto insurance? Just ask us!