Reckless Driving & Auto Insurance


Reckless driving is nothing to joke about. It’s a serious traffic offense and a dangerous driving behavior. Citations are typically issued when drivers are negligent and should have been safer behind the wheel. They are common after accidents, when it is clear that a driver was operating a vehicle in an irresponsible way and that a crash could have been avoided.


Examples of Reckless Driving Include:

  • Excessive speeding or driving unsafe for the current conditions
  • Illegally crossing the median line of the road
  • Drunk driving
  • Improper control
  • Passing a car on a curve, passing a school bus
  • Refusing to stop for a police officer
  • Racing

The penalties for reckless driving are usually based on several factors. The severity of the behavior, time of day and the risk posed to others all influence the penalty. Some states even have “per se” laws that state if a certain condition is met, then a driver was driving recklessly without debate. For example, speeding over 20 mph or fleeing law enforcement by car may automatically classify as reckless driving.

Fines and Penalties for Reckless Driving:

  • Fines: Reckless driving fines may range from hundreds of dollars to thousands. For example, a first conviction inKansas may only get you a $25 fine, while a first conviction in Washington state could hit you with a fine up to $5,000. State-by-state fines may be influenced by whether it is a first-time or repeated offense.
  • License Suspension: Some states may also issuelicense suspensions for reckless driving. It could be 30 days or up to 6 months, depending on the state. Also, if your state has a point system, points may be added to your record for reckless driving. If a certain amount of points is met, then your license may be suspended. (In New York, reckless driving leads to 5 points and in Georgia, it leads to 4 points.)
  • Jail or prison: You may be put behind bars for reckless driving. Most states have a maximum punishment for first-time offenders, around 30–60 days. If classified as a misdemeanor that may be up to 1 year in prison. In rare cases, reckless driving may be classified as a felony, which could lead to more severe consequences.


The Effect of Reckless Driving on Car Insurance:

When determining your car insurance rate, insurers assess your risk as a driver on their own terms. As a result, there’s no simple answer to how a reckless driving citation will affect your insurance. That said, reckless driving will likely make auto insurers see you as an unsafe and high-risk driver and your premium will be affected because of that.
The question then is: how much will your auto insurance rise? Some say reckless driving may raise your premium only 22% and others say as high as 63%. Regardless of the range, the cost is big.

In the end, the consequences of a reckless driving violation may vary for several reasons. Here are some of the main factors that affect your rate.

  • Did you report the citation to your carrier? Most insurers check your driving record when you first sign a contract, and at any subsequent renewal. (They may check more often based on your age, location or if you buy a new car.) However, tickets you incur during that in-between period may go unspotted until your record is checked again. Insurers have to pay a fee for your MVR (motorist’s vehicle record), so it is not something that they do constantly. If you recently purchased car insurance, you may not see the effects of reckless driving until you renew.
  • Are you in a “point system” state? Many states have a point system that may affect your insurance rate. Reckless driving leads to multiple points, and that may affect your auto insurance right away.
  • Do you have multiple violations? Having multiple traffic citations may be a warning sign to insurers, and your rate may increase.
  • How long ago was your ticket received? This may also affect your insurance rate. While reckless driving will never officially be removed from your record, carriers usually look at the last 3–5 years.

How to Bring Your Rate Back Down:

Fight the ticket. If you believe you have a solid case, it may be worth fighting the reckless driving citation in court so that you can have it removed from your driving record. This may not be possible on your own, so remember that it may be costly to hire a lawyer.

Wait it out. While traffic tickets never truly disappear from your record, auto insurers typically only look at the last 5 years. That said, they usually do look at serious infractions and depending on your carrier, reckless driving may be considered severe.
Take a defensive driving course to bring your rate down. They aren’t that expensive, and they can pay off big. A defensive driving course may get any driver a discount, but it can be especially handy if you’ve had a lot of infractions.
Knock off some points. If you’re in a state that uses a point system, a safe driving course may reduce your points, which could help save you from a license suspension or revocation depending on your state’s laws.
Check with your agent to be sure you’re receiving all of the discounts that you qualify for. Be sure to mention alumni programs or other organizations as even those can get you car insurance savings.

Reckless driving is dangerous and unsafe. Don’t risk it on the roads. Drive safe and get to your destination without putting yourself or others in harm’s way. Drivers will thank you and your auto insurance will be lower without all those citations.

Turn around…or don’t?

llegal Turns & Auto Insurance


Perhaps you were lost in a new area and made a wrong turn or you took an illegal turn because you were simply trying to save a little time. That’s when you saw the police lights in your rearview mirror.

Making an illegal turn can have consequences. Also known as improper turning, citations for driving maneuvers can add up fast. There are several types of improper turns. Here’s all you need to know about them.


What Is an Illegal Turn?

An illegal turn occurs when a driver turns in a manner that is considered unsafe. These maneuvers can include turning on red when there’s a “No Turn On Red” sign or whipping a U-turn in a designated “No U-turn” intersection.

Regardless of where you’re traveling to or what state you’re in, there are some turns that are always illegal. These include U-turning on a main highway, cutting off other drivers, turning left into oncoming traffic without adequate room and merging into a lane too quickly.
In some states, crossing into other lanes while turning is also prohibited. For example, if a driver makes a right turn onto a road with two lanes, he or she should stay to the right and avoid crossing into the left lane, as this is known as an illegal lane change. It’s important to know the driving laws of the state you’re traveling in—if you’re unsure about whether a turn is legal in a state, simply don’t do it to avoid getting hit with penalties. Use safer driving maneuvers instead.

Remember these rules and consequences when you’re in a rush to reach your destination. It’s a safe driving habit to always look for no turn signs before making a turn. Don’t make fast judgments.

Of course, some of these turns may be seen as more dangerous than others. An improper U-turn on the highway may get you caught with a larger fine than an illegal lane change, but that’s up to the officer or court and dependent upon your location. Avoid making improper turns all together and you won’t have to deal with the following consequences, fines or car insurance penalties.

Fines and Penalties for Illegal Turns:

  • Fines: An improper turning ticket may only be $25 or $50 in some states, but others cap the fine much higher. For example, inNevada, illegal turns are treated similarly to a speeding violation and penalties can include fines, imprisonment or both. These penalties cannot exceed a $1,000 fine, 120 hours of community service or 6 months of imprisonment.
  • Points System: Do you live in a state that has a points system? If so, you may have penalty points added onto your record for improper turns. For example, in the state ofNew York, an improper turn may hit you with 2 points on your record. If you receive 6 or more points over 18 months, you’ll be hit with a driver assessment fine of at least $100. If you accrue 11 points in an 18-month period, your license may be suspended which could affect your car insurance rates.

The Effect of Illegal Turns on Car Insurance:

Illegal turns often have a negligible effect on your car insurance if it’s a one-time ticket. One traffic violation for a turn on a red light is not going to raise your auto insurance rates drastically. However, illegal turns can raise your auto insurance rates depending on certain factors. If you already have other recent traffic tickets, another violation will not help you. In fact, it may signify you as a high-risk driver and your insurer may hike your rate because of that. Additionally, depending upon how many points you have in a points system state, you may see a higher premium, especially if your license has been suspended.

How to Bring Your Rate Back Down:

Fight it.
 Depending on the situation, you may be able to fight the ticket citation in court. You may be able to argue that the sign identifying the illegal turn was blocked from your vision due to a telephone pole, another vehicle or the glare of the setting sun. While there’s no guarantee that your counter argument will work, there is a possibility that your ticket and fine will be dropped. However, only argue if you have the evidence to back it up. If the officer saw you turn on a red light next to a clear “No Turn On Red” sign, your plea won’t help.
Take a defensive driving class to knock points off your record. Also known as a driver improvement course, these classes teach safe driving habits and good driving behavior. If you pass, most states allow you to take points off your record. For example, in Georgia, a driver can get up to 7 points deducted from their record with a certificate showing proof of a safe driving class. However, a driver can only get a reduction once every 5 years. If you aren’t in a points system state, it’s still worth it to take a defensive driving course because it may prove to your insurer that you are now serious about driving safely.
Wait it out. By simply waiting out your traffic violations, you may see a decrease in your insurance rate. Auto insurance providers typically only look at the past 5 years of your driving history, unless there’s a major offense such as a DUI or a hit-and-run.

Illegal turns aren’t worth the hassle or the fines and penalties. Drive safe today and every day to make better roads and save money.