Do I HAVE to tell my insurance company I got a traffic ticket?

Do they have some means of finding out? Will it definitely raise my premium? Would there be a penalty if I DON’T tell them? Is there some way I can get anwers to these questions without actually tipping them off?
I just got nailed this morning. 78 in a 55 mph zone, $110 fine. Yeek!

your insurance proposal form states that you have disclosed all relevant information
if you are not filling out new one and are not making a claim for repairs then you would be ok IMO till your renewal date
in the uk speedings are not considered a loading issue unless it accompanies another offence, which then takes priority, such as driving under the influence or what termed dangerous driving…
here we get 3 points for speeding on the licence…after 10 you may have your licence withdrawn…the points count for 3 years and can be taken off the licence after 4.

I can’t believe that your insurance company would require you to report your own traffic violations (if they do, I’m sure it’s got to be in the policy agreement you signed).

Insurance companies seem to be able to get wind of driving records somehow. I don’t know if they’re allowed to make periodic inquiries or if the local BTA (bureau of traffic adjudication) sends them a report every so often, but they do seem to find out somehow.

If you suspect that your premium will increase and just can’t afford it right now, contest the ticket by mail. The citation won’t go on your driving record until you’ve had your court appearance, 6 or 12 months down the road.

You don’t have to report it to your insurance company but they will find out.

In every state I have lived in you can get anybody’s driving record if you have their driver’s license number. Insurance may do this as a matter of course when renewing a policy.

There is no reason you can’t call your insurance company and ask them a “hypothetical” question. You don’t even have to identify yourself. This might be trickier if you have an agent assigned to you who knows you, rather than a gigantic company with a big call center.

And I just have to say that a good way to not get tickets is not to break the law. When I was in my early 20’s I had two chargeable accidents and two tickets within a year and my insurance company dropped me altogether. It was a terrible experience and I resolved never to allow it to happen again. In the following 22 years I got one ticket.

Check your agreement to be sure, but I doubt you have to report it yourself. Don’t worry though, they will find out on their own.
As for rates, it depends. I have 1 speeding ticket in my life, and it was in the last year. Didn’t affect my rates at all.
If you can, go to court and contest it. They will probably knock it down to the minimum, if they don’t drop it ( mine was for 45 in a 25. They dropped it to 31). I’m not in insurance, but it seems you get a break if it’s a minor violation and you don’t have much else on your record. As I said, my rates didn’t change, but then again that was the first violation of any kind and I’ve never cost my insurer a dime.

Read you policy. Such a requirement would probably be in the section that tells what what actions, or lack of actions, make the policy void. For example, I would suspect that you are required to report all accidents within a certain time, can’t allow an unlicensed driver to use the car, etc.

And as others have said, the company is able to access your driver record if they want to.

Check your state laws… Here in Texas any speeding ticket less than 25 mph over the limit can be made to disappear by taking a defensive driver class. You can make 1 ticket a year disappear this way. Still have to pay “court costs” of $55, but not the actual ticket. Never shows up on the driving record and the ticket is stamped with a big “DISMISSED” stamp.


First, wait until you’re actually convicted of the ticket. You may be able to beat it, or it might get reduced.

The insurance company will find out. They randomly run driving records on all policy holders. But the ticket won’t show up on the record that they get until the conviction is final.

I thought that if you dont,they’ll use it as an excuse to not pay up if you get into a accident…something to consider…

I used to work for Allstate in CO, here’s what we did.

We would pull your driving record when you started the policy and price it accordingly.

That’s it for the DMV. The only time we would pull another record is if you got in an accident. Then we might see things that had been there for a couple of years, but happened after you started your policy.

You do not have to tell them, and they may not see it if you never have an accident. But if they do find it, expect them to act accordingly. If you have a “preferred” policy that doesn’t allow tickets or accidents (or has a maximum number allowable), you may be reduced to “high risk” and the rate will go way up.

Do they have a traffic school option in Ohio? In CA, if you pay the fine plus a fee, you can go to a one-day traffic school and have the ticket never appear on your record. You can do this every 18 months. Try it.

Here’s an interesting twist to this question: I’m still driving with my Oregon license and plates, but am now living permanently in Ohio. What if, between now and my court date, I go in and change over to an Ohio driver’s license and plates, then report the change to my insurance company? If they do checks for traffic offenses after that, they will be checking my Ohio license, which will be clean.

Nope, not true.

Well, I can tell you a personal story, not that I’m suggesting that you do this, but I did it unintentionally.

I got a speeding ticket here on LI about 5 years ago and, well, sort of ignored it. I think I may have requested an adjournment for the first court date, and then I never showed up. I completely forgot about it. A few years later it caught up with me and I had to go to court, which I did, and the violation was reduced to something that still carried points, but a more minor offense. I paid the fine, but the points for the violation I plead guilty to apparently only lasted 18 months or 2 years (something like that). (Apparently there are 2 kinds of points, ones that last 3 years, and ones that last less for lesser violations). Anyway, the points begin from the day of the ticket, not the court date, so they had already expired.

In any case, you should definitely go to court and contest it. They’ll usually plea bargain with you before you even say a word, (depending on how many violations you have in the past. If it’s your first, you’ll probably get off with a seatbelt violation or something on that level). Even if you go there just to plead guilty the fine would be less just for showing up. I’ve done both in 2 states. Well, just the latter in MD.

The insurance companies check with state records but the frequency may vary. After I’d been with the insurance company 2 or 3 years they informed me that they had tried to verify my record with the state but couldn’t find any details on me. The reason for this is that they use both the drivers license number and my date of birth to access the details. The dob on my license is wrong (a typo when I got my license that I’ve never bothered to correct - I wonder if that is an offence).

They pragmatically resolved the issue by changing their records to be similarly wrong. However, they did not change my rates despite my having had two speeding tickets in that time. Of course, I do not know whether they did go back and re-check my records to discover the tickets.

The tickets do have an horrendous effect, though, if you try get a quote from a new insurer. The online services all quote rates twice as high as I am currently paying.

sorry but it’s the opposite. points are timed from date of conviction regardless of ticket date

Maybe EJSgirl or someone else who knows for sure can answer this. Do insurers give their insureds a break or a “we’ll let it slide once” pass like I’ve suggested? I mentioned my ticket, and checked up on it. It was over 2 years ago (time flies, eh?) and I still haven’t seen anything change with my rates. I’m not complaining, mind you, but I know a few other people who’ve had similar experiences.
Giving people a break seems like the antithesis of an insurance company, but maybe they’ve realized that it’s actually bad business to try and gouge everyone every chance you get.
So, any truth to the notion that you get a “free one” assuming it’s minor enough and you haven’t cost them anything?

Nope, not to my knowledge. If they see it, they will note it and act accordingly.

If you have a preferred policy, it may be a zero-tolerance policy. If so, you will get switched to their high risk division and your rate will probably skyrocket. And yes, many companies consider you a “high risk” if you’ve had ONE ticket! If the policy allows for one ticket or accident, then maybe the rate just goes up a bit.

If you are already with a “high risk” company or division, it may not affect your rate much. Some people are considered high risk automatically, regardless of driving record, such as males aged 16-25.

But again, they may never check you again unless you cost them money, like being at fault in a reported accident.

PS- when I was with Allstate, the “company” didn’t check your driving record, I did! It was part of the application process. Later on, were the company to check your record again, it would probably be done by the underwriting department, which would have gotten the file from the claim adjuster after your accident.

The short answer to the OP is that it’s highly unlikely that you’re required to report traffic violations to the company. I’ve been in the business for over 20 years and have never encountered a rule like that.

As for what happens if or when they find out, it depends entirely on the company and what type of policy you have. Some companies have what are called tiered programs.

For example:

Clean record = Preferred tier
Minor violation + one at fault accident = Standard tier
Minor violation + two at fault accidents = Less than Standard tier
More than that = high risk

Those are just examples of how things might be broken down. Companies set their own rules for the breakdowns. The company might or might not check your motor vehicle record (MVR) periodically, and based on your accidents/violations may move you to a lower or higher tier at renewal time. You could also be surcharged for any accidents (usually only if an amount over a certain threshhold is paid.) If you have an incident where a claim is made it’s much more likely that your driving record will be checked. Otherwise it may be every year, every two years, every three years, or never. It all depends on how the company operates. Some companies/programs also assess surcharges for violations, some don’t.

Some companies have a “Merit-rated” philosophy. One type of policy, no “tiers”, and after the policy is issued your rate is raised or lowered based on how many violations/accidents are incurred. The company I work for is switching to this type of policy but I don’t know at what interval an MVR is ordered.

My advice is to do what you can to get it off your record or lower the offense but don’t worry about reporting it. Also, if you’re happy with your company and the rate you’re paying don’t let your policy lapse for non-payment. If you apply for insurance with another company (or even with the same one) they will order an MVR. Going 20mph over the limit is considered “excess speeding” to some companies and you may have trouble finding as good of a rate as you’re getting now.

So in theory someone could be on the very brink of losing their license (for years)due to moving violations and the insurance could never be the wiser?And Johnny lead-foot has no real motivation to say anything?ever? Interesting…


Unless Johnny runs somebody off the road or forgets to stop when everybody else does.