How even the most minor of traffic offenses can affect your rates

We are not talking about speeding tickets

All insurers are not created equal, and they don't all give the same weight to your driving history. One study found even minor infractions can lead to double-digit increases in your policy.

Major moving violations like DUI and reckless driving understandably trigger much higher insurance premiums.

But what most people would consider minor transgressions, such as failing to signal, having a malfunctioning light or following too closely, can add as much as 19 percent to your overall bill.

Shaina, a St. Petersburg resident, is a senior in college. She's never received a speeding ticket but says citations for malfunctioning lights and not updating the address on her driver's license drove her auto rates up $100 per month.

AAA Insurance says it is important to consider that insurers don't give equal weight to your driving history. That is why it is important to shop multiple carriers especially after a traffic ticket.

Even those with a spotless record need to keep in mind that so much more than your driving history goes into the rate calculation. Carriers look at your age, marital status and credit score. Even the zip code you live in plays a role.

If you live in a high population zip code where there are numerous accidents you will pay for it, but there ways to save.

  • Consider bundling your homeowners and auto policy for a discount.
  • Look at increasing your deductible.
  • Inquire about non-driving related discounts your insurer may offer.
  • Take a safe driving class if you've received a ticket.

When it comes to checking rates, you want to go with an independent agent who writes through multiple carriers.

Consumer Reports suggests visiting answerfinancial.com and insweb.com .


Comments