When it comes to auto insurance, there’s often concern about how speeding tickets and other traffic violations can impact rates and policies.
One question that frequently arises is whether insurance companies can see pending speeding tickets. To provide clarity on this matter, let’s delve into the details.
What is a “Pending” Speeding Ticket?
Before discussing the visibility of the ticket, it’s essential to understand what “pending” means in this context. A pending speeding ticket typically refers to a situation where a driver has been cited for a speeding violation but has not yet been convicted in court or paid the fine. Until the ticket is resolved, it remains in a “pending” status.
How Do Insurance Companies Get Information on Tickets?
Insurance companies generally receive information about a driver’s record through Motor Vehicle Reports (MVRs). The MVR is a record of a driver’s history, maintained by the state’s Department of Motor Vehicles (or an equivalent agency). It includes details about accidents, traffic violations, suspensions, and other pertinent details.
Can They See Pending Speeding Tickets?
Directly from the MVR: In many states, once a ticket is issued, it gets recorded on the MVR. Whether it’s pending or has been resolved might not make a difference. If the ticket is on the MVR, the insurance company can see it when they pull the report.
Post-conviction: Some states might not immediately update the MVR with pending tickets. In such cases, the ticket becomes visible to insurers once there’s a conviction. A conviction can mean either the driver has accepted guilt and paid the fine or has been found guilty in court.
Why Do Insurance Companies Care?
Traffic violations, including speeding tickets, can indicate risky driving behavior. Insurance companies use this information to assess the risk associated with insuring a particular driver.
If a driver has numerous speeding tickets or other violations, they might be deemed a higher risk, leading to higher premium rates.
Impact on Insurance Rates
While a single speeding ticket might not have a substantial impact on insurance rates, accumulating several can. Furthermore, the severity of the speeding offense matters.
Being ticketed for going 15-20 mph over the limit will generally have a more significant impact than a ticket for going 5 mph over.
Protecting Your Rates
- Drive safely: This is the most straightforward advice but essential. Avoiding tickets means avoiding potential hikes in insurance rates.
- Contest the ticket: If you believe you were wrongly cited, it’s within your rights to challenge the ticket in court.
- Take a defensive driving course: Some states and insurance companies offer discounts or incentives to drivers who voluntarily take a defensive driving course.
While the specifics can vary based on state laws and individual insurance company practices, in general, insurance companies can often see pending speeding tickets.
It’s always advisable to drive safely and stay informed about the details on your driving record. Being proactive in understanding and managing your driving record can help ensure that you’re not caught off guard by unexpected changes in your insurance rates.