UPDATED: Mar 13, 2020
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Reckless or careless driving citations can lead to a fine. But can they also impact auto insurance prices?
Today, we’re explaining everything you need to know about reckless driving citations and auto insurance, including whether or not your careless driving citation can impact car insurance premiums.
What is Reckless Driving?
Reckless driving is a citation given to drivers who do not take the necessary precautions when driving.
A driver might be drifting between lanes, for example, or driving aggressively with no concern for the safety of other drivers.
In some jurisdictions, reckless driving is also known as careless driving. In many jurisdictions, however, there is a specific difference between a careless driving citation and a reckless driving citation.
Reckless Driving Versus Careless Driving
Reckless driving citations are typically given to drivers who actively break the rules of the road. You are choosing to drive recklessly and endanger the lives of other people on the road, for example.
Careless driving citations, meanwhile, are typically given to drivers who passively break the rules of the road. The driver may have fallen asleep at the wheel, for example. Or, the driver may have accidentally drifted between lanes or cut off another driver.
Some states separate careless driving and reckless driving citations. In these states, reckless driving is a more serious offense than careless driving.
In other states, reckless driving and careless driving are under the same statute and are treated identically.
Examples of Reckless Driving
Some of the most common causes of reckless driving include:
- Any driving behavior where you exhibit a ‘wanton disregard’ for driver safety
- Actively deciding to break the rules of the road
- Driving in a dangerous, hazardous, or careless manner
- Driving while intoxicated
- Racing other vehicles
- Fleeing from police
- Texting while driving
- Improper turns
- Improper passing
- Driving without proof of insurance
- Child-seat violations
- Passing a school bus
- Failure to yield
- Excessive speeding
All of the above incidents will typically cause insurance premiums to rise.
Reckless Driving Citations Can Cause Insurance Premiums to Rise Significantly
Some citations – like a single speeding ticket or a citation for failing to signal – have limited impact on car insurance premiums.
Other citations – like reckless driving citations – have a significant impact on car insurance premiums.
If you received a reckless driving citation, then you could face a rise in insurance premiums as high as 50%. Your car insurance company sees reckless driving as a significant indicator of risk. Drivers who are caught driving recklessly can see insurance premiums spike significantly.
Sometimes, a police officer will pull over a driver for reckless driving and give the driver a ticket. In other cases, the driver receives a reckless driving citation only after causing an accident. If you caused an accident and received a reckless driving citation, your insurance rates will rise much higher than if you were just pulled over.
How Much Will Car Insurance Premiums Rise?
If you have a clean driving record, then a single reckless driving citation may only cause premiums to rise 10% to 30%. Sometimes, your insurer will forgive a single incident, and your premiums won’t rise at all after a single citation.
If you already have a speeding ticket, at-fault accident, moving violation, or similar incident on your driving record, however, then your rates may rise higher after a reckless driving citation. Some drivers see their premiums rise 30% to 50% after a single reckless driving citation, for example.
Ultimately, premium hikes vary widely between drivers and insurance companies.
Not All Reckless Driving Citations Impact Car Insurance Premiums
If you receive a reckless driving citation, then it may not impact car insurance premiums as much as you thought. Certain incidents are treated differently by your insurance company.
Some of the less serious careless driving or reckless driving incidents include:
- Seatbelt-related violations
- Equipment violations (a broken taillight, for example)
- License plate violations
- Noise violations
- Parking tickets
- Registration violations
Some states consider these to be reckless driving citations, while others do not. Generally, however, insurance premiums are not expected to rise for any of the above incidents.
How to Get Cheap Car Insurance After a Reckless Driving Citation
So you received a reckless or careless driving citation, but you still want to pay cheap car insurance premiums.
The best way to get cheap car insurance after a reckless driving citation is to compare premiums online today. Enter your ZIP code online and compare quotes from insurance companies in your area.
You may be surprised how affordable car insurance can be – especially if you haven’t compared quotes in years.
Sometimes, your current insurance company does not want to insure high-risk drivers. That’s why your insurance premiums skyrocketed after a single reckless driving violation. Another insurance company, meanwhile, may be more accepting of high-risk drivers and charge comparatively lower rates.
Reckless driving citations, also known as careless driving citations in certain jurisdictions, can cause insurance premiums to rise significantly. Some drivers see rates jump anywhere from 15% to 50% after a single reckless driving violation.
Compare car insurance quotes online today to ensure you’re paying a fair price for car insurance after you receive a reckless driving citation.