Insurance Q&A: “What do insurance companies consider a lot of tickets?”
The answer to this one depends on what type of auto insurer you purchase your policy from. More on that in a second though.
Keep in mind that when insurers evaluate your “risk profile,” they take more than tickets into account.
They’re also going to look at accidents, and in some cases, “experience,” which applies heavily to younger drivers and those who just got a license or moved to the United States.
To start, let’s focus in on what’s really being asked here, as there should be three things you’re concerned with regarding tickets and insurance.
1. When will my insurance company non-renew my policy due to too many tickets?
2. When will an insurance company deny me coverage due to too many tickets?
3. When will my insurance company “stick it to me” financially for too many tickets?
Put another way, you should be concerned when obtaining a new policy, maintaining coverage on an existing policy, and with how much you’re currently being charged for coverage.
Some Companies Could Care Less…to a Point (Non-Standard Insurers)
As mentioned above, the type of insurer you seek coverage from plays a big role in the answer to these pressing questions.
You can rack up a number of tickets (and accidents for that matter) if you choose to obtain coverage from a non-standard auto insurance company.
Non-standard insurers specialize in insuring drivers who present more risk than the average Joe. Of course, they charge accordingly.
The non-standard insurers typically only review a three-year ticket/accident history. This is HUGE if you have tickets “falling off” after three years.
Standard or Preferred insurers may review a five-year history, so they’ll be holding tickets/accidents against you for two more years!
You will have to obtain coverage from a state run insurance pool if you exceed the generous amount of violations afforded by this type of insurer.
Middle of the Road (Standard Insurers)
A standard insurance company will typically allow for only one or two incidents per person on the policy (including accidents) before non-renewing your policy.
You can also expect the premium to jump at renewal, assuming you still “fit the program,” after your ticket/accident shows up on your record. Start piling on the violations and you will be in contact with a non-standard insurer in no time.
This is the “average Joe,” category most of us fit into. Let’s face it. Most of us already have, or at some point will, get caught speeding, turning right on a red light, or get into a fender-bender in the grocery store parking lot.
It doesn’t make us high risk “insured” and the car insurance companies know that.
As discussed above, the standard companies may look at a three or five year driving and accident history to qualify you.
Be sure to ask about that when you are on the three-year cusp. Your premium may be significantly lower with a company that’s not counting that four year-old ticket or accident against you.
Teacher’s Pet (Preferred Insurers)
This is the category for those who have almost perfect credit (insurance score), driving records and claims history. Typically, these types of insurers expect to insure a home/condo in addition to your car (bundling discount).
These guys don’t take a lot of flack. They certainly won’t automatically non-renew your policy for a violation (or two maybe), but you will know they aren’t happy with you when you get your renewal premium in the mail. Let’s just put it that way.
These insurers almost always review a five-year ticket and accident history to decide whether or not to offer you a policy and how much they are going to charge you for it.
How It’s Calculated
Each insurer is different, but you can expect a certain degree of uniformity based on whether or not you’re a non-standard, standard or preferred risk.
Ultimately, the insurer develops a point system, where each type of violation is assigned a point value. Your violations are converted to points and viola, you have your point total.
Exceed a particular insurer’s point limit or allowable combination of “types” of violations by individual or household and you’ll either not be offered a policy or non-renewed.
The types of violations may be minor, major or DUI (which typically has its own category for good reason).
For example, if a hypothetical insurer allows for as many as five points per driver and eight points per household, you may be able to have three “1-point” minor violations and one “2-point” major violation and still qualify for coverage.
But get any two major violations and you may not be eligible no matter how many points are allowed.
Too Much To Think About?
Let them deal with it and present you with the best premium quotes from several different insurers.
You can’t change your driving record, but you can switch insurers, even mid-term if you think it’s going to save you some money.