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Washington DC Traffic School

Posted on: April 2nd, 2012 by Traffic School

Washington DC Traffic School

For most people, at one time of another in their lives they end up getting a speeding ticket or traffic ticket in Washington DC. Most people, in fact over 75%, just pay the ticket without thinking through other alternatives that could save them money in the long run. Few people really realize how much a ticket actually costs when you take into account the car insurance impact and impact on your driving record. To make this more clear, let’s use an example. Let’s imagine that I live in Washington DC and just received my first traffic ticket for speeding. The ticket I was given costs $250. My monthly insurance rate is $150 and until this ticket I had a clean driving record. After getting the ticket, I have three options for taking care of it – I can just pay it; I can take Washington DC traffic school; or I can fight it in court.

Option 1: Just Pay the Ticket, Total Cost: $2200

If I decided to just pay the ticket, the total cost of the ticket would actually end up being $2200! How? Well the ticket itself was for $250, but when I went to pay it there was an additional $150 in court fees and administration fees bringing the total ticket price to $400. Additionally, when the car insurance company finds out I received a ticket, my premiums will increase by 20% (national average). So my monthly payment will go from $150 to $180, or $30 extra every month. The ticket will be on my record for 5 years, so that means an additional $1800 in car insurance costs. Together with the ticket, that is a extra $2200 for just one ticket!

Option 2: Take Washington DC Traffic School, Total Cost: $435 or less

The second option I have is to take Washington DC traffic school to dismiss my ticket. In many cases I will still have to pay the ticket itself, which is $400, but sometimes that fine is reduced for taking traffic school. You just need to check with the court. The traffic school course costs $35 but once I complete it successfully the ticket isn’t added to my driving record. This means my insurance costs won’t increase and I will save $1800 from taking the traffic school course.

Option 3: Fight the Ticket in Court, Total Cost: $2200 or $0

The last option I have is to fight the ticket in court and see if I can have it completely dismissed. If I win, I will not have any fines or fees to pay. However, if I lose then I will have to pay for the ticket, the insurance increases, and any additional fees. I will also have to spend time preparing for court to make sure I am ready.

In the end, I decided to take Washington DC traffic school. I was able to get my fine reduced to $75 and finished the online course quickly and easily. My car insurance rates never increased and I was able to maintain my safe driver status which actually got me deeper insurance discounts in the years to come.

Alaska Defensive Driving and Alaska Traffic School

Posted on: March 12th, 2012 by Traffic School

In the state of Alaska, traffic school is more commonly called defensive driving and can be a great option to avoid expensive insurance rate hikes and points on your record if you are pulled over and get a ticket.  By completing a state approved Alaska defensive driving course the points no longer show up on your record and you avoid many of the negative consequences of getting a ticket.  To better understand the benefits of taking Alaska defensive driving, let’s look at an example.  We will call our driver David.

Alaska defensive drivingDavid was running late for work and speeding on a local Alaska highway.  Unfortunately, as happens all too often, David quickly saw a police car in his rear view mirror and was pulled over for speeding.  He was given a speeding ticket for driving 9 miles over the speed limit which is a 2 point offense in Alaska.  In addition to the 4 points on his driving record, the ticket itself carries a fine of $200.

When David gets home from work that day, he reads the speeding ticket to find out more about what he can do.  The ticket lays out three options.  First he can simply pay the ticket and mail in the fine plus any additional court fees.  He finds out these usually cost about $100.  Second, he can fight the ticket in court and try to have it completely dismissed.  Third, he can take an Alaska defensive driving course and have 2 points removed from his record for completing the course and passing the final exam.

Being a financially responsible guy, David decides he is going to weigh his three options based on how much they cost and how they will affect him in the long run.  Here is what David learns:

Option 1:  Pay the Ticket, Total Cost: $1500

Looking at the easiest option to just pay the ticket, David knows that the ticket itself costs $200 and there is another $100 in court fees, so that’s $300 total.  In addition, David found out that his insurance company will increase his rates by 20% for the additional 2 points on his driving record.  The points will be on his record for 5 years.  Since David’s auto insurance policy costs $100 a month, that means if he just pays the ticket, his premiums will increase to $120 a month for the next five years.  So that’s an extra $20 monthly for 60 months, or 5 years, which totals an additional cost of $1200 if he just pays the ticket.  That means the total cost for the ticket is $1500.

Option 2:  Fight the Ticket in Court, Total Cost: Nothing or $1500

David’s second option is to fight the ticket in court.  He has heard that many people win when they fight their tickets but he knows just as many people who have lost.  If he fights his ticket and wins, it will cost him absolutely nothing.  But if he doesn’t win, it will cost him $1500 and there will no longer be an option for defensive driving.  David is pretty risk averse, so this isn’t really an option for him.

Option 3:  Take Alaska Defensive Driving, Total Cost:  $324.95

If David takes an Alaska defensive driving course, David will still need to pay the $300 fine but can have the two points removed from his record thus avoiding any insurance premium increases.  The course costs $24.95 so the total cost if David takes Alaska defensive driving is $324.95, the cheapest option by far.  David decides that this is the best option for him.

The Importance of a Clean Driving Record

Posted on: October 5th, 2011 by Traffic School

Many people do not realize just how important it is to have a clean driving record, but there are actually many benefits of having and maintaining a clean driving record. The key benefits are:

1.  Lower Auto Insurance Premiums:  Perhaps the greatest benefit of a clean driving record is the fact that your insurance premiums will be much less than someone with marks on their driving record, such as tickets or accidents.   In fact, someone with a clean driving record may pay up to 25% less than someone with just one speeding ticket on their record.

2.  Accident Forgiveness:  Many insurance companies offer accident forgiveness for drivers who have a clean driving record and are involved in their first accident.  Since these drivers have been safe drivers for so long, the insurance companies are willing to provide some leeway for their first accident.

3.  Lower Deductible for Vehicle Insurance:  Many insurance companies will offer not only a lower insurance premium, but also a lower deductible to people with clean driving records.  Having a lower deductible means you have to pay less out of pocket if you are involved in an accident.

4.  More Rental Car Options:  Some rental car companies will not rent to people with multiple violations on their driving record.  Having a clean driving history will allow you to rent from more companies.

5.  Easier Auto Loans:  Some auto loan companies, use a driver’s record as a factor in calculating their auto insurance rates.  They assume  that safer drivers are more responsible in general, and therefore may be willing to offer lower rates or a larger loan.

6.  Career Prospects and Stability:  For people who work in a transportation related job or are looking for work in that industry, having a clean driving record is vital.  Companies will not hire or keep drivers with multiple infractions on their records.

Luckily, if you do not have a clean driving record because your recently got a traffic ticket, you may still have time to save it.  Many states will allow drivers to take a traffic school or defensive driving course to dismiss their ticket and thus avoid points on your record.

Factors Affecting Your Auto Insurance Rates

Posted on: October 1st, 2011 by Traffic School

For most of us, understanding how and why our auto insurance rates are what they are is extremely complex and difficult. It sometimes may seem like everyone you know pays less than you even though you are a better driver. Here are some of the most common factors that insurance companies use to determine auto insurance rates. Some may surprise you.

  • Driving record: Your driving record and specifically the number of citations you have on your driving record is a huge factor in insurance costs. The more traffic tickets you have, the higher your rate will be. This is especially true for any serious offenses like a DUI or reckless driving for example.
  • Family’s driving record: If you have a joint policy with your spouse or other family members, their driving record will also affect the rates of your insurance plan. Since all the driver’s are normally covered on all the cars, one poor driver can drive up everyone’s rates.
  • Your vehicle(s): The newer and more expensive your vehicle, the more expensive your insurance can be. However, sometimes the type of car you drive can also affect rates. Faster and sportier cars generally have higher insurance rates.
  • Gaps in coverage: Any gap in your insurance coverage, even for a day, makes you a riskier driver in the eyes of the insurance company. The more gaps you have in auto insurance coverage, the higher your premiums will be.
  • Credit Score: Few people are aware that your credit score actually impacts the price of your auto insurance. Insurance companies believe that people with higher credit scores are less likely to be involved in accidents and are safer drivers in general.
  • Where you live: Your zip code can be a major factor in determining your auto insurance rates. In areas with higher crime rates, car insurance tends to cost more. Also, urban areas or places with higher populations usually are more expensive because insurance companies believe that since there is more traffic the likelihood of an accident is higher.
  • Annual mileage: The more you drive each year, the higher your insurance costs. Insurance companies believe that the more you are on the road the more likely it is that you will be in an accident.

How Much a Speeding Ticket Cost? The $4,685 Speeding Ticket!

Posted on: September 26th, 2011 by Traffic School

Most of us have been pulled over at one time or another in our lives and it is extremely easy to just pay it rather than deal with the hassle of fighting it in court or taking traffic school. We think, “How much can just one ticket really cost me over time?” Well let’s explore that question a little by looking at a common example.

Let’s imagine you are on a joint auto insurance policy with your spouse. You pay $200 monthly for this policy. You got one ticket 6 months ago for speeding, just 10 miles over the limit. Luckily you live in a state that ignores the first traffic citation, so your insurance rates didn’t change. However yesterday your spouses called and let you know they were pulled over for making an illegal left turn. Let’s look at what this one small ticket can actually cost you over time.

First let’s look at the cost of the ticket. The ticket itself was for $150, but after the court fees and additional costs, it really ended up costing $365.

Then, since it was the second offense on your joint policy, there is a 20% surcharge added to your insurance rates. In your state, this rate increase lasts for 6 years. Not only that, you lost your “safe driver discount” which gave you an extra 10% discount off. That means in full, your auto insurance is going to increase by 30% each month for the next 6 years.

What does that mean over time? First we have the cost of the ticket – $365. On top of that, we have a 30% increase to your auto insurance each month, meaning you now pay $260 monthly. Each year that is an additional $720 you will pay for your auto insurance. In six years that this will stay on your record, that is an additional $4,320. When we add the ticket cost to this, you have just spent almost $5000 on that ticket.

So what can you do to avoid that? Essentially you have two options. The first is to take traffic school to dismiss your ticket. The second is to fight your ticket in court. Both cost substantially less than the $4685 you would have spent. Traffic school courses are usually about $35 and a lawyer can cost around $150.

Which Cars Get the Most Traffic Tickets?

Posted on: September 24th, 2011 by Traffic School

In 2010, Quality Planning came out with a study of what cars and models were most likely to get traffic tickets.  Since auto insurance companies sometimes based insurance rates on statistical driving information (think the age old adage that driving a red convertible is more expensive) this information can be important to know if you are car shopping or wondering about your insurance rates.  According to their study, here are the cars that had the most citations in 2010:

  • Mercedes Benz SL-Class Convertible
  • Toyota Camry Solara Coupe
  • Scion tC Coupe
  • Hummer H2/H3 SUV
  • Mercedes Benz CLS-63 AMG Sedan
  • Acura Integra Coupe
  • Pontiac Grand Prix Sedan
  • Mercedes Benz CLK-63 AMG Sedan
  • Volkswagen GTI Hatchback

For anyone considering buying one of these cars, they can be more expensive to insurance according to experts.  Insurance companies use many different types of data, including the car you drive, your driving history, age, location, credit rating, and more to determine your insurance rate.  If you do drive one of these cars and are looking for to lower your insurance rate, you may consider taking a traffic school course to lower your insurance rates.

Auto Insurance and Traffic Tickets

Posted on: September 24th, 2011 by Traffic School

As the price of auto insurance continues to rise for most people, especially in urban areas, many people do not realize the serious impact that traffic tickets can have on your auto insurance rates.  According to a recent study from a leading insurance website*, having traffic violations on your record can increase your auto insurance rates by up to 50% if you have multiple tickets.  Specifically, according to the study:

  • Zero traffic tickets: $1,119
  • One traffic ticket: $1,318
  • Two traffic tickets: $1,497
  • Three traffic tickets: $1,713

That means that people with three violations on their driving record pay on average 53% more than someone without a traffic violation. These numbers can also increase even more depending on the type of violation. Reckless driving, driving under the influence, and other serious offenses will cause steeper auto insurance increases than less severe traffic citations.

*Data from Insurance.com

What Can I Do If My Insurance Premium Increases

Posted on: September 24th, 2011 by Traffic School

Did you recently get a traffic ticket or have your insurance premium increase? Insurance premiums can increase for many reasons.  The most common is getting a traffic citation.  Many people don’t know that getting just one ticket can increase your insurance premium by as much as 20% in many states. Additionally, your auto insurance premiums may increase if you move, get a different car, change your policy, or even change jobs.  Luckily there are some things you can do when this happens to lower your insurance cost.

  1. Take a Traffic School or Defensive Driving Course:  One of the fastest and easiest way to lower your insurance premiums is to take a traffic school or defensive driving course.  You can take one of these courses whether you received a ticket or just for insurance reduction.  If you take the course to dismiss your ticket, then you won’t experience the rate increase that likely would have occurred.  If you take it for insurance reduction, you can get between a 15%-25% discount with most insurance companies.   Most of these courses cost around $30, take about 4 hours, and can save you about $200 annually if you have one ticket on your record.
  2. Shop Around for New Auto Insurance Policies:  With online auto insurance quotes it is extremely easy to compare insurance companies, policies, and rates.  First figure out what kind of coverage you need and then get between 3-5 online auto insurance quotes.  You may be able to find a cheaper plan for the auto insurance coverage you need.
  3. Ask for a Higher Deductible:  One last way to lower your insurance premiums is to ask to raise your deductible.  However, it is important to weight the pros and cons of doing this.  If you do get into an accident, you will need to pay the deductible before the insurance will kick in.  That means you should only raise your deductible if you have that money and are willing to take the extra risk.

Likely the easiest and least risky choice is to take an online traffic school, defensive driving, or insurance reduction course.  Although it does take some time to complete the course, it ensure that you are not taking on any additional risk.