Driving Legal MattersEnroll Now
THE FINANCIAL EFFECTS OF YOUR DRIVING RECORD
Your first thought upon being cited for a traffic violation is likely to be “How much will this cost?” Depending on the severity of the violation, the fine you pay may be only a small part of the total cost of having a less-than-perfect driving record
Because the coverage included in your group’s U.S. Legal Services legal insurance plan may vary, please check with your group’s administrator for specific benefit details. Most drivers are aware that a non-moving traffic violation may cause their insurance companies to raise their premiums, but they don’t expect the financial impact to go much beyond that. If, however, there are serious traffic violations on your record — such as reckless driving or a DUI — or repeated offenses, the effects can be widespread. Here are some areas of your life and finances that can be affected:
Auto insurance ratesA charge of reckless driving or a DUI can cause your insurance premiums to skyrocket. According to Bankrate.com, the average premium increase after a DUI is 93 percent, while other sources estimate that figure can be as high as 300 percent. Being found guilty of DUI may even result in your losing auto insurance coverage altogether. Your driving record can even affect your spouse when it comes to insurance rates. Marriage can have a positive effect on car insurance rates when both partners have good driving records, such as a multiple-car discount for a single household. This can work against you, though, if one of you has a bad record and your insurance company bases your rate on the household rather than the individuals.
Life insurance ratesA DUI or very poor driving record may put you in a less-favorable rate tier for life insurance. This could cost several hundred dollars per year, or thousands over the life of the policy.
License suspensionIf you lose your license, you will, of course, need to find other ways to get where you need to go. Often, this means paying for a bus, cab, or driving service. Meanwhile, you’ll probably still be making payments on a car you cannot drive (and paying for auto insurance as well). Think twice before taking your chances on driving with a suspended license, because that can set off a cascade of problems, including:
- Being placed in a “high-risk” driver category by your insurance provider
- Being subjected to significant fines
- Having your car impounded
- Having to pay court costs
- Being sentenced to jail time