Do Reckless Driving Citations Affect Auto Insurance?

Reckless driving citations will affect your auto insurance rates. Reckless driving definitions vary by state, but every policyholder can expect their auto insurance premiums to go up if they get a reckless driving ticket. Reckless driving affects on car insurance can be mitigated if you take a defensive driving course, but you can start looking for cheaper coverage now by entering your ZIP code below.

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Rachel Bodine graduated from college with a BA in English. She has since worked as a Feature Writer in the insurance industry and gained a deep knowledge of state and countrywide insurance laws and rates. Her research and writing focus on helping readers understand their insurance coverage and how to find savings. Her expert advice on insurance has been featured on sites like PhotoEnforced, All...

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Written by Rachel Bodine
Insurance Feature Writer Rachel Bodine

Leslie Kasperowicz holds a BA in Social Sciences from the University of Winnipeg. She spent several years as a Farmers Insurance CSR, gaining a solid understanding of insurance products including home, life, auto, and commercial and working directly with insurance customers to understand their needs. She has since used that knowledge in her more than ten years as a writer, largely in the insurance...

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Reviewed by Leslie Kasperowicz
Farmers CSR for 4 Years Leslie Kasperowicz

UPDATED: Mar 11, 2022

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Reckless or careless driving citations can lead to a fine. But can they also impact auto insurance prices?

Today, we’re explaining everything you need to know about reckless driving citations and auto insurance, including whether or not your careless driving citation can impact car insurance premiums.

What is Reckless Driving?

Reckless driving is a citation given to drivers who do not take the necessary precautions when driving.

A driver might be drifting between lanes, for example, or driving aggressively with no concern for the safety of other drivers.

In some jurisdictions, reckless driving is also known as careless driving. In many jurisdictions, however, there is a specific difference between a careless driving citation and a reckless driving citation.

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Reckless Driving Versus Careless Driving

Reckless driving citations are typically given to drivers who actively break the rules of the road. You are choosing to drive recklessly and endanger the lives of other people on the road, for example.

Careless driving citations, meanwhile, are typically given to drivers who passively break the rules of the road. The driver may have fallen asleep at the wheel, for example. Or, the driver may have accidentally drifted between lanes or cut off another driver.

Some states separate careless driving and reckless driving citations. In these states, reckless driving is a more serious offense than careless driving.

In other states, reckless driving and careless driving are under the same statute and are treated identically.

Examples of Reckless Driving

Some of the most common causes of reckless driving include:

All of the above incidents will typically cause insurance premiums to rise.

Reckless Driving Citations Can Cause Insurance Premiums to Rise Significantly

Some citations – like a single speeding ticket or a citation for failing to signal – have limited impact on car insurance premiums.

Other citations – like reckless driving citations – have a significant impact on car insurance premiums.

If you received a reckless driving citation, then you could face a rise in insurance premiums as high as 50%. Your car insurance company sees reckless driving as a significant indicator of risk. Drivers who are caught driving recklessly can see insurance premiums spike significantly.

Sometimes, a police officer will pull over a driver for reckless driving and give the driver a ticket. In other cases, the driver receives a reckless driving citation only after causing an accident. If you caused an accident and received a reckless driving citation, your insurance rates will rise much higher than if you were just pulled over.

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How Much Will Car Insurance Premiums Rise?

Car insurance rates depend on many different factors, including your age, gender, ZIP code, and driving history.

If you have a clean driving record, then a single reckless driving citation may only cause premiums to rise 10% to 30%. Sometimes, your insurer will forgive a single incident, and your premiums won’t rise at all after a single citation.

If you already have a speeding ticket, at-fault accident, moving violation, or similar incident on your driving record, however, then your rates may rise higher after a reckless driving citation. Some drivers see their premiums rise 30% to 50% after a single reckless driving citation, for example.

Ultimately, premium hikes vary widely between drivers and insurance companies.

Not All Reckless Driving Citations Impact Car Insurance Premiums

If you receive a reckless driving citation, then it may not impact car insurance premiums as much as you thought. Certain incidents are treated differently by your insurance company.

Some of the less serious careless driving or reckless driving incidents include:

Some states consider these to be reckless driving citations, while others do not. Generally, however, insurance premiums are not expected to rise for any of the above incidents.

How to Get Cheap Car Insurance After a Reckless Driving Citation

So you received a reckless or careless driving citation, but you still want to pay cheap car insurance premiums.

The best way to get cheap car insurance after a reckless driving citation is to compare premiums online today. Enter your ZIP code online and compare quotes from insurance companies in your area.

You may be surprised how affordable car insurance can be – especially if you haven’t compared quotes in years.

Sometimes, your current insurance company does not want to insure high-risk drivers. That’s why your insurance premiums skyrocketed after a single reckless driving violation. Another insurance company, meanwhile, may be more accepting of high-risk drivers and charge comparatively lower rates.

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Final Word

Reckless driving citations, also known as careless driving citations in certain jurisdictions, can cause insurance premiums to rise significantly. Some drivers see rates jump anywhere from 15% to 50% after a single reckless driving violation.

Compare car insurance quotes online today to ensure you’re paying a fair price for car insurance after you receive a reckless driving citation.

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