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Will an out of state ticket affect my insurance?

Here's what you need to know...
  • Your car insurance company will find out about your out-of-state ticket.
  • Your insurance company cares about all tickets, especially out-state-tickets.
  • Your violation may stay on your record for 1-7 years depending on the infraction.
  • Insurance companies vary in how they penalize tickets on your record.

In the age of electronic databases and the Internet, we can safely say that tickets in other states will affect how much you pay for car insurance.

That may not have been true 20 or 30 years ago when states did not share data with one another, but things have changed dramatically as technology has advanced.

Today it’s nearly impossible to get a ticket in another state without your car insurance company learning about it.

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Fortunately, many insurance companies won’t raise rates for a single ticket within a two- to three-year window. So if you get a speeding ticket while you’re traveling home from a family vacation, you probably have nothing to worry about just as long as your record is otherwise clean.

But if you incur another ticket or file an accident claim within the next three years, that speeding ticket will probably come back to haunt you. You have to check specifically with your insurance company for details on how they handle individual tickets.

Does my insurance company have access to another state’s information?

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It’s no secret that state motor vehicle departments share data through Internet interconnectivity. When it comes to out-of-state tickets, your insurance company can easily find out as well by simply requesting driver histories from multiple states.

With all this data sharing, there are three things you need to remember:

  1. You can’t hide out-of-state tickets. According to the state of Oregon’s Insurance Division, car insurance companies in that state can order driving histories from any number of other states in which customers might be driving. With data so readily available, you can easily see why it is so difficult to hide traffic violations in other states.
  2. You can’t avoid paying out-of-state tickets. By the same token, it’s also nearly impossible to avoid paying a ticket from another state, even though that was common back in the days before data-sharing technology.
  3. You can’t hide an unpaid out-of-state ticket. An unpaid ticket will show up on your driving record and cost you even more in higher premiums. And if you were to get caught in the state where you received your ticket you could also possibly face jail time and very stiff fines.

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Why does the insurance company care about an out-of-state ticket?

Your insurance company is concerned about all tickets regardless of where you get them.

Statistics have proven time and again that someone who gets a traffic ticket is more likely to have an accident within the next three years than someone with a clean record.

Since statistics play such a vital role in determining insurance rates, they must take into account all tickets regardless of where you receive them.

Some might even argue that a ticket in another state is cause for even more concern given the fact that most drivers tend to be more cautious in states with which they are unfamiliar.

This lack of caution while driving out of state may be an indicator of more risky behavior when that driver returns home.

How long will an out-of-state ticket stay on my driving record?

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It’s difficult to say precisely how long a given ticket will stay on your record because each state handles things differently. Generally:

  • One-three years – tickets for minor infractions will usually be discharged within one to three years.
  • Three-five years – More serious violations, such as speeding, could be on your record for three to five years.
  • Five-seven years – Finally, the most serious violations of all could be five to seven years, depending on the nature of the violation and your previous history.

If you want to know for sure, your best bet is to contact the state where you received the ticket.

That state’s department of motor vehicles or insurance division should be able to tell you how long the ticket will stay on your record and whether or not there’s anything you can do to shorten that time.

You also might want to contact your insurance company to find out whether or not its policies in terms of recording tickets matches that of the state where you got the ticket.

It would be rather inconvenient if the state dropped the ticket after two years while your insurance company held onto it for three.

Whether you have out-of-state tickets or not, you can search online for the better car insurance rates by entering your ZIP code below.

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