Got Caught Speeding? Your Insurer Might Never Find Out

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Flashing red lights in your rear-view mirror are never a good thing, but it turns out getting a traffic ticket might not be as expensive as you think.  Conventional wisdom is that the financial hit of the fine is only part of the equation; the bigger concern is that your car insurance rates will shoot through the roof as a result, and possibly stay there for years. But that’s not the way it actually works, according to a new study from, which found that only 31% of drivers saw their premiums rise after a laundry list of traffic violations like speeding, running a red light, and driving without a seat belt. “There really is a myth that anyone who gets a traffic ticket is going to see an immediate increase in their premiums,” says Laura Adams,‘s senior insurance analyst. Insurance companies find out about your driving record from your state’s Department of Motor Vehicles, but Adams says it’s expensive for them to pull these reports. As a result, “We find they’re not pulling those reports as often as you might think,” she says. However, if you’re young enough that your parents’ warning about a ticket leading to higher insurance premiums is still fresh in your mind, sorry: Your parents are still right. The survey found that 41% of drivers between the ages of 18 and 29 paid more after a ticket, versus only 15% of drivers over 50 years old. Adams says insurers check younger drivers’ DMV records as frequently as every six months, which means they’re more likely to catch an infraction shortly after it happens. Carriers generally pull your driving record (along with your credit record, but that’s a whole other story) when you first apply to get a new insurance policy; with older drivers, they might check in as infrequently as every two or three years. If you’ve been a customer of the same company for a number of years, “Insurers increasingly rely on the experience you have with them,” says Bob Hartwig, president and economist at Insurance

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