Should I hide this fact from my auto insurance company by spending $200 plus and wasting a Saturday by going to traffic school? Or should I tell them and remind that that I’ve been their customer for 30 years without a claim or ticket?
Will they really raise my rate for one lousy ticket?
I know I could just call them and ask, but I might want to go to traffic school and not have them find out about it.
Read your policy. You may not have to tell them anything unless asked directly and then you should do so. They usually find out about it automatically. I doubt they care about the 30 years angle. They want to know about your last few years at best and have actuary tables to work through from there. After all, the senior citizen who has 70 years of clean driving followed by a string of incidents is something they are interested in from a business but not a moral perspective and the same is true for everyone.
One ticket doesn’t cause too much harm to your insurance rates in most states. If it causes an increase with your insurance company, you can always try to offset it by changing companies or getting a AAA membership (always a great deal). However safest and cheapest route may be to take the traffic school, get a AAA membership if you don’t already have one, and also comparison shop for insurance companies at the same time.
First step is to go to court. Maybe the officer won’t show up. Case dismissed.
Second step if officer shows up. Beg and grovel for him to amend the ticket to a no point violation. They have this ability.
Step three if officer shows up and is uncooperative. Take the first time offender option of the driving school, pay the money and avoid the points.
Any of the above will save you money. Insurance companies don’t like to advertise that they surcharge you for years for ANY infraction. So what they do is give you a discount for “no violations” instead. This way when they remove the discount, they can say they are not increasing your rate, just removing a simple discount.
PS. I did this four years ago when I received a completely bogus ticket written for revenue. I showed up. The officer did not, but the county sent a proxy officer to make deals. I could have demanded a dismissal and the judge could have reset the date to allow the officer to show next time. I decided not to take chances because I feel the judges, attorneys and officer are all in the mix against the sucker. So I made a deal to accept a no point “impeding” citation that is not abstracted to the state. I paid $125 and the rest is history.
PPS. I told the proxy officer that the citing officer wrote a bad ticket. She said, “When you comes to a stop you has(sic) to count to five (one thousand one, one thousand two,…) or we gonna give you a ticket.” Now that really would be impeding. You can’t win. You just have to play the hand as well as possible.
Yes, they will. Many years ago, I had a speeding ticket after 20 years of clean driving and they most certainly raised my rates. And you likely have to advise your insurer else your insurance becomes invalid.
Some states have mandated insurance rate increases based on points. In North Carolina, speeding 15 or more over the limit in a 50 MPH or higher zone (eg: 80 in a 65) will ding you two license points and two insurance points. Doing 9 to 14 over in a 50+ zone is a one-point offense.
The cost of two insurance points is a 45% increase in your insurance premium, so one “lousy” ticket can have profound effects on your rates for the next three years. This increase is set and required by the legislature, so “My insurance company will never raise my rates” is a legal impossibility.
Most insurance companies give a discount for AAA membership than is higher than the annual membership so you can save money by getting one. If you already have AAA, make sure the insurance company knows that so you can get any applicable discount.
This has not been my experience at all. I did a lot of price comparison on car insurance, every quote that included a AAA “discount” was significantly higher than the quotes I got from GEICO, Progressive, and Liberty Mutual.
I won’t speak to the rest of the OP but when I got a ticket a while ago, I did the online class instead. For a homebody like me, sitting in my own chair, eating whatever snacks I liked, having the radio in the background and a cat for company made it much more bearable than sitting in some classroom.
You are in CA, it appears- so go to Traffic school. You can often do this on-line. It likely won’t make any difference with just one ticket, but you never know when you might get another. Always go, if you do so.
If that’s the case then my insurance company should be paying me. I went to “traffic school” many times as a young man. Being 20 years old and driving a new Porsche is a bad mix for traffic tickets. Amazingly, I am still alive.
Couple of point about the above. In some states traffic tickets are a civil violation and the officer is not required to attend the court session. It is generally not up to the officer to plea the ticket to a lesser offense, you deal with the proscutor or DA’s office, that is the entity pressing the charges.
Each state is different. In mine, most traffic violations are civil offenses. The officer will not be in court unless subpoena’d. My state also does not offer traffic school, there are other options to keep a ticket of one’s driving record though.
In CA (where the OP is) yes, the officer does have to show up or the ticket is dismissed. Nor can the officer lower the number of points here. The judge can, but points are the big deal. Here in CA it’s either a Moving Violation or it’s not (yes, they use points for considering whether you lic should be suspended, but the OP clearly doesn;t have to worry about that).
And CA does have traffic school.
While it’s true that states do vary, according to the OPs profile it’s CA.