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Will my car insurance rates be affected if I get a ticket for talking on my cell phone?

Here's what you need to know...
  • Traffic laws can vary significantly from one state to the next
  • Driving and talking on your cell phone can cause many problems
  • If you are ticketed for being on your phone while driving, your car insurance rates could go up
As USA Today states in this article on distracted driving, some states are finding that distracted driving has become a large part of accidents in recent years.

Changing technology affects every area of our lives, including car insurance.

Most states have regulated cell phone use while driving, and your car insurance rates will probably increase if you’re given a ticket for driving while talking on the phone.

Exactly what you’ll be cited with and how high a fine you will pay will depend on the jurisdiction in which you received the ticket.

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What if my state has banned only the use of handheld devices?

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There are currently several states where the use of any handheld device while driving is completely prohibited.

The prohibited handheld devices include:

  • Cell phones
  • Portable music players
  • Tablet computers
  • Palm pilots

When it comes to cell phones, some states such as New York and California, allow you to talk while driving as long as you’re using a headset or Bluetooth device.

If you are caught in one of these nine states, you will be issued a ticket for driving while talking on a phone.

Almost every state considers violations of cell phone laws to be at least a moving violation, and some states even consider it a misdemeanor.

Additionally, 28 states ban all cell phone use among new drivers and assess significant fines for doing so. These drivers will also see increased insurance rates if they receive a ticket.

Is there any way that I can use my phone while driving?

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Using a portable Bluetooth or headset are also options while driving. Some newer cars have built-in Bluetooth, which allows you to set up your cell phone with your car to allow you to speak hands-free.

Also, OnStar, which has been a hands-free system in cars produced by General Motors for nearly a decade, now offers an aftermarket system that can be installed in any car.

However, it is important to remember that some states consider driving while talking illegal, even if you are not physically holding the phone to your ear.

In fact, according to the United States Department of Transportation’s website for Distracted Driving, drivers who use a handheld device are four times more likely to be seriously injured than drivers who don’t.

Do your best not to speak on your cell phone while driving. If you must take the call, pull over to the side of the road to speak.

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Are there states that don’t ban all use of handheld devices?

There are some states where drivers are allowed to use cell phones to talk while driving. However,there are 34 states where texting while driving is also prohibited.

Needless to say, texting while driving is just as dangerous as talking while driving. States take this very seriously and will punish violators accordingly.

Also, it is important to note that more than half of the states ban all use of cell phones while driving among new drivers and drivers with a long list of moving violations.

New drivers are especially vulnerable to accidents already without adding cell phone use.

Many states impose extremely punitive fines and add points to a license to discourage young drivers from engaging in this type of activity.

Many car insurance companies assign higher rates based on a point threshold. In other words, a rate increase may not kick in until you reach a five-point threshold, allowing you two tickets for talking on the phone before your rates go up.

Obviously, one ticket for talking on the phone combined with another for speeding will push you over the threshold.

How much will my insurance rates go up if I get a ticket for talking on my cell phone while driving?

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If you get a ticket for talking while driving, how high your rates go up depends on your insurance company and the state in which you were ticketed.

Just like seat belt laws, how a particular state views talking while driving violations will have a huge impact on how high your insurance rates will go.

But unlike seat belt tickets, there are very few states that will let you off with a simple fine and no points on your license.

The one exception to this rule occurs in states where talking on a cell phone while driving is not considered a primary offense.

In these states, you cannot be pulled over simply for driving while talking. There must be something else involved such as speeding, failing to signal a turn, driving with a suspended registration or license, etc.

Where talking and driving is not a primary offense, it is often possible to negotiate to where the court is only holding you accountable to the primary offense.

Suffice it to say that, if you’re caught driving while talking on your cell phone, you’re going to suffer at least some consequences.

Now is the time for you to start searching for better car insurance rates than you pay now, by entering your ZIP code into our FREE search tool below.

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