You just got pulled over and got a traffic ticket. The cop explains to you that if you just plead guilty and pay the fine, you don’t have to appear in court. This is terrible advice, and here’s why:
In Illinois, the average true cost of a 15 m.p.h. speeding ticket is $744 in extra car insurance payments.
Pleading guilty to a traffic ticket (or failing to appear in court) will result in a conviction. And a conviction means that your insurance company can raise your insurance rates. Paying the fine or failing to appear is very likely to make your car insurance premium more expensive.
How Long Will a Traffic Conviction Affect my Monthly Car Insurance Premiums?
The answer to this depends on your provider, but a good rule of thumb is that your Illinois provider will keep a traffic conviction in their system for 5 years. Every policy is different, so contact your car insurance provider to find out how long a ticket will affect your policy.
How Much Will a Speeding Ticket Raise My Premium?
Again, the answer depends on your policy and provider. But research shows that a speeding ticket for 15 m.p.h. over will raise an Illinois driver’s premium by 12.5% per year on average. The average increase for an Illinois drivers’ premium after a 15 m.p.h. ticket is $124.80 per year. In other words, a 15 m.p.h. speeding ticket will cost $744 in extra car insurance payments. In Decatur, the true cost of a 15 m.p.h. speeding ticket was $771.60.
How Can I Keep a Traffic Ticket from Raising my Car Insurance Premium?
The answer is simple: don’t get convicted. A sentence of court supervision will result in no conviction if the driver does not get another ticket during the period of supervision. This is why I always push for supervision or amendment of the ticket to a nonmoving violation.
As I frequently explain to traffic clients: in the vast majority of cases, my modest fee for traffic cases more than pays for itself in the long run. Pleading guilty looks like an easy out, but don’t be fooled; it can cost you in the long run, and it probably will.