A few weeks ago, my wife was driving on a road she frequently navigates, but one thing was different: School was back in session.
She’s a slow, cautious, non-aggressive, and safety-conscious driver, but she found herself accidentally going over the speed limit in a school zone. Blue lights followed, and a speeding ticket was issued.
Over 9% of drivers had a speeding ticket on their driving record last year, and when you get one, they often come with points — not as fun as it sounds — that can stay on your driving record for years.
The more points you have, the more your car insurance can go up.
My wife has a great driving record, and mine is really good, too, so our insurance isn’t as high as it could be. But with her recent ticket, our rates could go up. Progressive Insurance says that car insurance rates are 15% higher for a six-month policy for people who have gotten their first speeding ticket in three years.
If that happens to us, there are a few things we’ll likely do to improve our rates.
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1. We’ll take a defensive driving course
In some states, taking a defensive driving course can give you a discount on your auto insurance. The courses can be as short as just a few hours, and you can receive a discount of 5% to 20% on your premium.
Fortunately, insurers in South Carolina offer a discount when you complete the course. The course is eight hours long in our state, reduces the points on your driving record, and can be taken once every three years.
2. We’ll look into a telematics tracking discount
Some auto insurance companies offer discounts to customers who install a telematics device in their vehicle or download a mobile app that tracks certain driving habits.
If this sounds a little invasive, I get it. But some auto insurance companies offer a discount to drivers when they can look at the driving data and assess that a driver is generally safe on the road — and it can be a significant discount.
Allstate’s DriveWise app tracks driving habits like braking and acceleration, and if the data shows you’re a really safe driver, you can receive up to 40% off of your car insurance.
But there’s also a downside: Your rate can go up if DriveWise determines you’re a risky driver. I don’t expect that outcome with my family, but you may want to keep that in mind if you sign up for a telematics tracking service with your insurer.
3. We’ll shop around for car insurance quotes
While all car insurance companies can see my wife’s ticket on her record, that doesn’t mean I can’t find cheaper insurance from another company. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, car insurance premiums have soared 19% over the past year, so it may be worth looking at other options.
Each car insurance company has its own set of discounts and compiles its own information for determining how much to charge for their insurance. In general, all insurance companies will consider your age, driving record, credit score, vehicle, and which state you live in.
Seeing your car insurance rise is never fun, but you don’t just have to pay what your insurance company quotes you. Applying for discounts and shopping around for the best car insurance company could help you save money on your premiums.
All of that, and watch out for those school zones.
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Based in New York, Stephen Freeman is a Senior Editor at Trending Insurance News. Previously he has worked for Forbes and The Huffington Post. Steven is a graduate of Risk Management at the University of New York.