As you’re rushing home from a long day, you may have failed to stop fully at a stop sign, went a bit too far above the speed limit, or may have been in a school zone and didn’t know it.
Any type of moving violation on your driving record could lead to an increase in your car insurance costs. If you want to save money on car insurance, you’ll want to avoid any tickets.
What you may not realize is that some types of tickets will raise your car insurance premium even more than others.
Here are the 11 most expensive tickets you can get, starting with the least expensive. The amounts shown are national averages and vary by state.
11. Following too closely
Insurance rate increase: 23.3% or about $342
A ticket for following too closely may be the least expensive ticket on this list, but it’s still an expensive mistake. It’s often a minor misdemeanor and occurs when you’re “tailgating.”
The actual distance may differ from one state to the next, but generally, too close is when you’d likely be unable to stop quickly, or at least, quickly enough.
10. Improper passing
Insurance rate increase: 23.4% or about $344
Improper passing occurs when one car overtakes another vehicle without using a signal, not creating enough distance between the two cars to ensure safety, or passing in a “no passing” zone.
In some states, it's also illegal to pass a driver on the right side. If you cut someone off, for example, you could be paying for it in added insurance costs.
9. Passing a school bus
Insurance rate increase: 27% or about $398
Many states have laws that make it illegal to pass a school bus on a two-lane road. You must also remain stationary while the school bus is stopped.
If a school bus has its lights flashing and you try to pass it in either direction, you could face significant fines and, in some states, a license suspension.
If the vehicle is not stopped or flashing, you may be able to pass it on a four-lane road, as long as it is safe, depending on state laws.
8. Operating a vehicle without permission
Insurance rate increase: 32.8% or about $482
Let’s say you need to get to work but your car died. You decide to jump into a neighbor’s car. You could be ticketed for unauthorized operation of a vehicle.
Any time you don't have the consent of the owner or any other person who has the ability to provide that consent, you could be facing fines and points on your license.
7. Driving with an open container
Insurance rate increase: 34.9% or about $617
Most states have very strict rules about driving with alcohol. Having an open container means that you have some type of container of alcohol that’s open in the interior of the vehicle with you.
Some states will require only that the drink is accessible to the driver — even if it's not the driver’s drink.
6. At-fault accident
Insurance rate increase: 42% or about $617
In some states, you may be given a ticket and your insurance rates may go up if you are found to be at fault for an accident.
In an at-fault accident, your insurance company may be required to pay to cover the costs of those victims you’ve injured or otherwise created financial losses to you. That is sure to drive up your insurance costs.
5. Driving with a suspended license
Insurance rate increase: 62.4% or about $918
A ticket for driving with a suspended license can be costly. This happens when a judicial court has suspended your driving privileges for some reason, but the police have caught you driving anyway.
License suspensions often occur as a result of having too many points on your license, failing to pay fines or fees, or even not paying your child support payments.
4. Reckless driving
Insurance rate increase: 70.4% or about $1,034
Reckless driving can occur for many reasons. It implies that you were engaging in some type of activity behind the wheel of a car that put yourself, others, or property at risk.
Some examples of this could include illegal passing, speeding, not stopping for lights, or weaving between lanes.
Insurance rate increase: 73.7% or about $1,086
It may seem like a lot of fun to race the person next to you as the light turns green, but it's often illegal. And drag racing is sure to lead to a costly ticket.
This one is expensive because it puts people and property at risk due to the increased speed involved. It could include any type of exhibition of speed.
2. Refusing of a breathalyzer or chemical test
Insurance rate increase: 74.1% or about $1,089
In some states, you must provide a breathalyzer or chemical test if you are suspected of being intoxicated behind the wheel.
Though you should know your rights, you should also know that in some cases failure to allow for these tests could automatically suspend your license. That's one of the key reasons why your insurance rates are likely to rise so much in this situation.
1. Hit and run
Insurance rate increase: 82.2% or about $1,209
The most expensive ticket for many states is a hit and run, which occurs when a person strikes another person, injuries a person in some way, or damages property and then leaves the scene without stopping to help, provide contact information, or call the police.
This tends to be worse when there are serious injuries, but any time you leave after an incident it’s likely to lead to significant increases in your insurance costs.
There are a lot of ways to save money on car insurance — like driving efficiently without accelerating too fast and keeping your tires inflated properly. But the most important is following the rules of the road.
Other common types of accidents that can increase your car insurance costs include driving the wrong way, failing to stop at a light, distracted driving, and failure to yield.
Avoiding these and others could help you keep more money in your pocket when it is time to renew your car insurance policy.