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How does online traffic school affect my insurance rates?

We have a lot of fun here on our blog with creating hypothetical scenarios (our character “John” is almost like having a voodoo doll around to poke and prod with miscellaneous situations) so we thought we’d share what might happen to John’s auto insurance if he received a speeding ticket for going 12 mph over the posted limit. How would he keep his penalties to a minimum? How could he improve as a driver? Would his insurance rates change? We’ll answer all three of those questions in this article.

The infraction

Although each state’s laws vary on how it issues “points” (bad) on your driving record, most insurance companies will likely permit one moving violation every 3-5 years without classifying you as a high-risk driver. Most citations will be reported to your insurance company within about 60 days. Then, when your policy is set to renew, your rates may go up. Review your insurance policy to see whether going to traffic school will eliminate the offense.

Online Traffic School

If you need to appear in court, often the judge will allow you attend a traffic school to reduce the number of points on your record once every 18 months. The bad news: you cannot attend traffic school if you were traveling in excess of 30 mph over the posted speed limit. The good news: a certificate from a traffic school can lower your points if you’ve been issued a speeding ticket for under 30 mph over the limit! Lower or no points could mean little to no impact on your insurance rates. This can vary both by state and by insurance company, but with a simple phone call you can ask your insurance company how a state accredited online traffic school can potentially reduce the impact of that speeding ticket on your premium.

What if I haven’t done anything wrong (i.e., received a speeding ticket) and attend an online traffic school?

There are benefits to taking an online traffic course, even if you have done nothing wrong as a driver. For one, you will be sharpening your memory. See if you can correctly answer one of the questions on the driver’s test in the state of California:

How many inches away from a curb should you park?

A. 12 inches

B. 18 inches

C. 24 inches

The correct answer is “B” but often, we forget these things without a refresher course, and that is exactly what traffic school can be. For drivers 55 or older, you may be required by state law to complete a mature driver course. To qualify for a discount, you’ll need to take the exam every three years. From the California DMV website:

Mature drivers, 55 or older, who successfully complete an approved Driver Improvement Course can qualify for reduced motor vehicle insurance premiums.  California law allows insurance companies to determine the percentage of premium reduction.  The insurance carrier can refuse to give a reduced rate to those who have poor driving records.  You may wish to ask your insurance company about your eligibility and the amount of discount prior to taking an approved mature Driver Improvement Course.

Be certain to send in all necessary proof that you’ve completed traffic school. Some courts will only dismiss the offense once they’ve received proof. Sitting in a classroom or working tediously online to attend traffic school is only good if you don’t forget to send in proof to the court!

Finally, if your insurance rates change because of that need for speed or for any other reason, call us at 1-800-258-5101. One of our licensed agents will be happy to assist you in shopping for new insurance.

1 Comment

  1. Kendall Ryder on June 27, 2016 at 7:17 am

    Traffic school seems like a good option if an individual doesn’t want so many points on their record. I have known a couple friends who have opted for traffic school in order to prevent them from an awful driving record. The idea that it can possibly not affect your insurance rates is definitely appealing! No one wants to spend more on their monthly insurance bills!

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