How Much Does It Cost To Be a Bad Driver in Every State?

INSURANCE - CAR INSURANCE
The FinanceBuzz team looked up costs relating to speeding tickets, car repairs, and insurance premiums in every state in the country to find out where poor driving can cost drivers the most money.
Updated May 22, 2023
Fact checked
Two cars crashed into each other

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Some people are better drivers than others. While bad drivers are more likely to get a ticket or get into an accident than good drivers, the unpredictability of the road means that both kinds of motorists can find themselves on the wrong end of a traffic incident. When something like that happens it can put a real dent in your bank account, whether the incident was your fault or not.

Those costs aren’t uniform, however. Different laws and policies relating to fines and insurance mean that costs for tickets or accidents can vary greatly from one state to the next.

To get a better handle on the “bad driver” tax in the U.S., the FinanceBuzz team found out what fees, insurance increases, and other costs worse-than-average drivers pay in each state.

We defined a “bad driver” as one who:

  • Gets one speeding ticket per year
  • Gets in one “at-fault” accident per year
  • Practices poor driving habits that put extra wear and tear on their vehicle

We then found out how much more a driver that meets all of those criteria will pay in insurance premiums, ticket fees, and car repairs compared to a good driver in each state.

In this article

Key findings

  • Bad drivers in the U.S. can expect to pay $151 per month ($1,818 annually) more than good drivers between insurance, maintenance, and fees.
  • Michigan is the most expensive state in which to be a bad driver, with premiums and fees totaling an additional $359 per month ($4,308 annually).
  • Speeding tickets in Nevada cost the most at $400.
  • New Jersey drivers face the highest insurance rate increase in the country for being at fault in an accident — $2,055 annually.

The average cost of being a bad driver in every state

Across the entire country, the average bad driver will cost themselves $1,818 annually, or $151 per month, more than a good driver. While that is the overall average, bad drivers in some states pay substantially more or less than that amount.

Michigan takes its cars seriously, as you would expect from a state that is home to Motor City (Detroit). The emphasis on automobiles and car culture may be part of the reason it is so expensive to be a bad driver in Michigan, a state where one speeding ticket and one accident can cost drivers an additional $4,308 annually, more than twice the national average and over $1,000 more than any other state. This equates to an extra $359 per month.

New Jersey and Louisiana are the second and third most expensive states to be a bad driver. Bad drivers pay $3,142 (New Jersey) and $3,026 (Louisiana) more annually than good drivers in those states.

Iowa is the state where bad drivers pay the least, as getting one speeding ticket and getting into one accident will cost them just $1,096 per year, nearly 75% less than the same incidents cost drivers in Michigan. Two New England states, Rhode Island ($1,135 annually, or $94 per month) and New Hampshire ($1,193 annually), are second and third in terms of states where being a bad driver is the least expensive.

States where being a bad driver is the most expensive

State Speeding Ticket - Insurance IncreaseSpeeding ticket -  Fines Accident - Insurance IncreaseExtra Maintenance and repair costs TOTAL ADDED COST (annual) TOTAL ADDED COST (monthly)
Michigan $1,920 $150 $1,906 $332 $4,308 $359
New Jersey $592 $200 $2,055 $295 $3,142 $262
Louisiana $463 $240 $1,943 $380 $3,026 $252
California $759 $367 $1,495 $297 $2,918 $243
Florida $579 $175 $1,461 $379 $2,594 $216
Nevada $517 $400 $1,239 $335 $2,491 $208
Missouri $361 $156 $1,440 $453 $2,409 $201
Texas $122 $309 $1,453 $403 $2,287 $191
Arkansas $477 $250 $1,103 $410 $2,240 $187
Mississippi $448 $217 $1,029 $490 $2,184 $182

As mentioned, Michigan is the state where being a bad driver is the most expensive. A big reason for that is because of how much insurance premiums go up in that state for motorists who receive a speeding ticket.

Insurance premiums rise by an astounding $1,920 annually following a ticket, an amount that is over $1,100 more than any other state. That means that bad drivers in Michigan pay $359 more per month than good drivers in their state, an amount that is almost $100 more than bad drivers in any other state.

States where being a bad driver is the least expensive

State Speeding Ticket - Insurance Increase Speeding ticket - Fines Accident - Insurance Increase Extra Maintenance and repair costs TOTAL ADDED COST (annual) TOTAL ADDED COST (monthly)
Iowa $167 $90 $491 $348 $1,096 $91
Rhode Island $614 $185 $80 $256 $1,135 $95
New Hampshire $247 $124 $548 $274 $1,193 $99
Hawaii $189 $210 $533 $273 $1,205 $100
Idaho $182 $155 $496 $373 $1,206 $100
Vermont $187 $185 $490 $357 $1,219 $102
North Dakota $280 $25 $585 $401 $1,291 $108
Alaska $269 $240 $594 $262 $1,365 $114
Maine $226 $230 $583 $341 $1,380 $115
Ohio $233 $157 $653 $340 $1,383 $115

Bad drivers in Iowa need to budget the least amount for their vehicular misadventures, at $1,096 annually. That is over $700 less than the national average of $1,818. In fact, seven of the 10 states where being a bad driver is least expensive have average costs that are over $500 less than the national average.

In terms of monthly increases, it would take nearly four whole months for bad drivers in Iowa to cost themselves as much money as bad drivers in Michigan add to their costs every single month for a comparable driving record.

States where being a bad driver will increase your insurance the most and least

While paying for car repairs and speeding fines make up a healthy portion of the costs associated with being a bad driver, in most states, they are not the biggest wallet drainers. By and large, increases in insurance premiums truly cost bad drivers. This can be extra painful as those premium increases typically remain in place for three years following the inciting incident.

With that in mind, we wanted to take a closer look at the states where speeding tickets and accidents increase insurance premiums the most and least.

Where your insurance will increase the most and least with a speeding ticket

Graphic of the cost of being a bad driver

Drivers in Michigan can expect to pay more than people in any other state after receiving a speeding ticket. Their $1,920 in annual insurance increases mean that getting caught speeding in Michigan can cost a driver $160 every single month just in added insurance costs, an increase that is nearly $100 more per month than in any other state.

Comparatively, drivers in Texas will see their insurance premiums increase by just $10 per month for the same infraction, the lowest rate in the country. In four out of five of the states where a speeding ticket has the smallest impact on insurance costs, premiums increase at a rate that is less than one-tenth of the increase that Michigan drivers experience following a ticket.

Where your insurance will increase the most and least if you’re at fault in an accident

Graphic of the cost of being a bad driver

In general, accidents have a much bigger impact on insurance premiums than speeding tickets. While Michigan is the only state where a speeding ticket increases premiums by more than $100 per month, drivers in 10 different states can expect their monthly insurance costs to rise by at least that much following an at-fault accident.

New Jersey is the state where accidents increase insurance premiums the most, at $171 per month. Louisiana and Michigan are second and third, with increases of $162 and $159, respectively.

Rhode Island is a notably forgiving outlier when it comes to insurance increases following an accident, raising rates by just $7 per month. That is over $30 lower than any other state, as three different states are second with monthly increases of $41.

Bottom line

Traffic violations and at-fault accidents on your driving record can significantly increase the price of your insurance, but there are ways to help mitigate these costs. Here are some tips to save when you're behind the wheel:

Methodology

Insurance rate increases in every state following a speeding ticket for going 20 miles per hour over the speed limit were found via The Zebra, while insurance rate increases for getting into an at-fault accident came from Insurance.com.

Annual maintenance and repair costs were calculated by taking AAA’s maintenance, repair, and tire costs per mile driven for an average driver from their 2022 Your Driving Costs report and increasing it by 25% to account for additional damage and repair costs that may occur due to unsafe driving habits. That cost per mile was then multiplied by the average number of miles driven in the last 12 months by drivers in each state.

Average miles driven were found via Department of Transportation data. Fines and court costs for a speeding ticket (20 miles per hour over) were found via multiple sites, each of which covers speeding fine and cost structures for a specific state.

Full data

State Insurance increase - Speeding ticket (20 MPH over) Speeding ticket fees and fines (20 MPH over) Insurance increase - At-fault accident Maintenance and repair costs Total annual cost Total monthly cost
Alabama $227 $190 $875 $438 $1,730 $144
Alaska $269 $240 $594 $262 $1,365 $114
Arizona $398 $350 $904 $344 $1,996 $166
Arkansas $477 $250 $1,103 $410 $2,240 $187
California $759 $367 $1,495 $297 $2,918 $243
Colorado $311 $232 $910 $308 $1,761 $147
Connecticut $390 $191 $921 $309 $1,811 $151
Delaware $377 $85 $687 $284 $1,433 $119
District of Columbia $269 $150 $874 $147 $1,440 $120
Florida $579 $175 $1,461 $379 $2,594 $216
Georgia $428 $150 $1,018 $431 $2,027 $169
Hawaii $189 $210 $533 $273 $1,205 $100
Idaho $182 $155 $496 $373 $1,206 $100
Illinois $359 $120 $816 $295 $1,590 $133
Indiana $318 $200 $865 $442 $1,825 $152
Iowa $167 $90 $491 $348 $1,096 $91
Kansas $279 $170 $723 $339 $1,511 $126
Kentucky $359 $183 $1,212 $409 $2,163 $180
Louisiana $463 $240 $1,943 $380 $3,026 $252
Maine $226 $230 $583 $341 $1,380 $115
Maryland $208 $160 $1,206 $308 $1,882 $157
Massachusetts $452 $150 $1,029 $303 $1,934 $161
Michigan $1,920 $150 $1,906 $332 $4,308 $359
Minnesota $315 $225 $743 $325 $1,608 $134
Mississippi $448 $217 $1,029 $490 $2,184 $182
Missouri $361 $156 $1,440 $453 $2,409 $201
Montana $368 $70 $748 $398 $1,584 $132
Nebraska $199 $125 $985 $352 $1,661 $138
Nevada $517 $400 $1,239 $335 $2,491 $208
New Hampshire $247 $124 $548 $274 $1,193 $99
New Jersey $592 $200 $2,055 $295 $3,142 $262
New Mexico $284 $65 $659 $451 $1,459 $122
New York $366 $300 $692 $225 $1,583 $132
North Carolina $493 $128 $967 $369 $1,957 $163
North Dakota $280 $25 $585 $401 $1,291 $108
Ohio $233 $157 $653 $340 $1,383 $115
Oklahoma $404 $35 $1,014 $434 $1,887 $157
Oregon $337 $165 $858 $287 $1,647 $137
Pennsylvania $156 $65 $1,077 $265 $1,563 $130
Rhode Island $614 $185 $80 $256 $1,135 $95
South Carolina $273 $60 $788 $377 $1,498 $125
South Dakota $277 $148 $607 $392 $1,423 $119
Tennessee $334 $114 $781 $421 $1,650 $137
Texas $122 $309 $1,453 $403 $2,287 $191
Utah $188 $200 $896 $393 $1,677 $140
Vermont $187 $185 $490 $357 $1,219 $102
Virginia $243 $183 $685 $349 $1,460 $122
Washington $297 $207 $740 $256 $1,500 $125
West Virginia $334 $100 $769 $364 $1,567 $131
Wisconsin $256 $200 $1,032 $361 $1,849 $154
Wyoming $467 $225 $668 $597 $1,957 $163
National Average $369 $177 $920 $352 $1,818 $151

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Author Details

Josh Koebert Josh Koebert is an experienced content marketer that loves exploring how personal finance overlaps with topics such as sports, food, pop culture, and more. His work has been featured on sites such as CNN, ESPN, Business Insider, and Lifehacker.

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