A speeding ticket or at-fault accident can mean a sharp increase in your car insurance rates, which is reason enough to drive cautiously. If you do happen to get a ticket, though, don't despair. There are things you can do to help negate some of the premium increases or at least minimize the length of time you have to pay the higher rate. The following tips can help.
Tip #1: Go to court
It can pay to show up in court instead of just paying the citation amount. Dress nicely and put on your best manners for the judge. If it's a first offense, often you can have the the severity of the offense reduced or perhaps even waived, although you may need to take a driving class in lieu of the citation. The happy result of this is the ticket may then no longer have an effect on your insurance premiums.
Tip #2: Ask about forgiveness
Some insurance policies forgive the first accident or citation you receive, which means you won't have to pay the higher rate for riskier drivers. Often, this benefit isn't granted automatically. You will actually need to to call your insurance agent and report the accident or ticket, and then request to use your one time forgiveness clause.
Tip #3: Take a class
Even if not required by court, taking a defensive driving class may result in a rate discount, which can counteract the rate hike you experienced after the ticket. Call your agent to find out which classes are approved by the insurer. It's also a good idea to find out the discount amount so you can make an educated decision on whether or not the cost of the class and the time spent on it is worth the discount.
Tip #4: Request tracking
Some insurance companies offer clients the option of having their driving habits tracked via an onboard remote device. If you are tracked as a conscientious driver that stays within the speed limits and doesn't brake hard, for example, then your company may lower the premium again much sooner than they would otherwise. This is a good option if your ticket was not a reflection of your normal driving behavior.
Tip #5: Drive responsibly
Finally, make sure you don't get another ticket or into another at-fault accident. Repeat offenses set off many more red flags with the insurance company because they show you are a habitual risk. Not only will your rates begin to raise at a much more alarming pace, but repeat offenses can also put you in danger of losing your policy.
For more help, contact an insurance agent near you.