Getting A Speeding Ticket Costs Much More Than You Realize

Getting pulled over by a police officer has to be one of the worst feelings in the world — right up there with visiting the dentist or getting a bill instead of a refund from the IRS. Still, it can happen to even the most careful of drivers who let their minds drift for a few seconds, and with that, they also allow their speed to inch up. As unpleasant as it may be to receive a speeding ticket, these not-so-subtle reminders to drive carefully are ultimately for the good of the community.


Per theInsurance Institute of Highway Safety, 29% of crash fatalities in 2021 were estimated to be caused by speeding. That's because speeding gives drivers less time to react, results in longer braking distances, and increases the energy involved in a crash. Still, when your budget is already stretched, the unexpected expense of a moving violation can be financially painful, and that pain likely won't end with just paying a fine, either.

You could theoretically go to jail

The first expense involved with a speeding ticket is, of course, the actual cost of the ticket itself. Fines not only vary by state, but are also dependent on how fast over the legal limit a driver is caught traveling. Typically, speeding fines range from $50 up to several hundred dollars, with an average cost of approximately $150, according to radar detector manufacturer ESCORT. Note that speeding in high-risk areas, like a school zone or where road construction is happening, can result in a much higher fine — like double the base amount.


In extreme cases, such as speeding 25 to 30 miles per hour or more above the posted speed limit, drivers may be required to appear in court and could face misdemeanor criminal charges or even jail time. In instances like this, it would be wise to consider hiring an attorney. An attorney will make sure that you're defending yourself to the best degree possible and can sometimes negotiate a less serious charge.

Your car insurance rates will rise

As if paying up to a few hundred dollars for getting a speeding ticket isn't bad enough, the true impact on your bank account will happen once your insurance company finds out about the ticket. Local courts, in conjunction with the DMV, will update your driving record to reflect the infraction. Typically, insurance companies will review your driving record periodically for increased risk — usually coinciding with the renewal of a policy. Once your insurance company learns about the speeding ticket, expect your rates to increase for a period of at least three years — and possibly longer — until the ticket rolls off your driving record.


The amount of the potential rate increase varies by state and by the individual insurance company. According to Quadrant Information Services, as reported by Bankrate, the average hike for someone with a speeding ticket on their record is about $413 per year on a full-coverage policy (such as one with accident forgiveness). Over three years, that amounts to over $1,200 wasted. Even drivers with basic insurance policies that only meet the minimum legal requirements of coverage can expect an average price increase of $126 per year for a speeding ticket.

Traffic school may be an option

The best course of action is not to receive speeding tickets to begin with, but even the most careful drivers can let their guard down and fail to observe tricky and sudden changes in the speed limit. On the highway, the best course of action is to use your car's cruise control feature, if so equipped. Not only will using cruise control maintain a consistent and legal speed for your vehicle, but it's also a great tip to save fuel.


If you receive a speeding ticket but have a previously clean record, you might be eligible to take a defensive driving class, sometimes called traffic school. Policies vary by state, but attending traffic school — which may also be available online — can keep a speeding ticket off your driving record and subsequently, out of view from your insurance company. Traffic school isn't free to attend, but it's almost surely less expensive than heightened insurance premiums.

Finally, if after getting a speeding ticket and your car insurance rises significantly, then it would be worthwhile to shop around for a new policy. Some insurance companies may be more forgiving of the occasional driving infraction than others and won't penalize you as much.