Out-of-State Traffic Tickets and Car Insurance

Getting a Violation in Another State Can Affect Your Record and Rates

Traffic Violation
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If you get a traffic ticket while driving in another state, then it will most likely show up on your driving record and affect you in various ways. How an out-of-state ticket will impact your car insurance rate depends on the severity of the ticket and the policies of your insurance company.

Do Out of State Tickets Affect Your Record?

For the most part, when you get a traffic ticket in another state, that state will report it to the state where you reside and it will likely show up on your record, thanks to the Driver License Compact (DLC). It's an agreement between 46 states and the District of Columbia to exchange information about the driving history of individuals, including traffic violations and license suspensions.

The DLC doesn't include non-moving violations, such as parking tickets.

Georgia, Michigan, Tennessee, and Wisconsin are not part of the DLC, but that doesn't necessarily mean that they won't report you to your home state when you get a ticket. They're just not obligated to.

Similarly, the Non-Resident Violators Compact (NRVC) requires states to assist each other when it comes to enforcing driving laws. That means if you get a ticket out of state and fail to appear in court or pay the fine, then the state you were visiting will report it to the state where you live, and your license could be suspended. Alaska, Oregon, Montana, Michigan, California, and Wisconsin aren't part of the NRVC, but they can still choose to report such violations to your home state.

The way each state handles the reports of traffic tickets from other states varies. Some states will record the violation but won't add points to your license. Others won't record the violation at all if it's a minor offense. And some states will both record the violation and add points to your license for all out-of-state tickets.

Check with the Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV) in your state to find out how it handles points for traffic tickets and other moving violations.

How Out-of-State Tickets Affect Car Insurance Rates

When your insurance company runs your driving record, any recorded violations will show on your motor vehicle report—both in-state and out-of-state. Even if points are not assigned to your license, your insurance carrier can still raise your rates for receiving the violation.

If you receive a traffic ticket out of state then it could drive up the cost of your insurance. Many companies look at out-of-state violations the same way as a violation received in the state. However, exactly how much your rate could rise—and if it will even rise at all—depends on the policies of your insurance carrier. However, DUIs tend to have the most negative and long-lasting impacts on insurance rates.

Ask your insurance agent what you can expect in the future after receiving an out of state traffic ticket. Often, you won't see the rate increase for traffic violations until your policy is up for renewal.

Insurance.com offers a Traffic Ticket Calculator that helps you determine how much your car insurance rates could increase when you're convicted of one of 18 traffic violations. The calculation is based on your current rate and the company's research on the average percentage increase in each state and the nation as a whole.

Car insurance points are different from driver’s license points. Having the points not assigned to your driver’s license in a good thing. It gives you more room before being in danger of losing your license. But it doesn’t mean that your car insurance rates won’t be impacted. Car insurance companies and the government use entirely different point systems.

How to Handle an Out-of-State Traffic Ticket

The best thing to do after getting an out-of-state ticket is to show up for the court date or pay the fine. Leaving any ticket unpaid can only lead to problems, including a suspended license—and even an arrest warrant.

In addition, you can also check to find out if the state where you received a ticket offers traffic school online for reduced or dismissed traffic tickets or a point reduction program. You may avoid or counteract increases in insurance rates this way. However, not every state offers this option.

You may be able to receive a discount on your insurance for three years after passing a DMV-approved defensive driving course.