Drivers who text behind the wheel of their car have been warned they could face up to a 45% rise in their auto insurance rates if they are caught.
According to recent analysis, the best auto insurance providers will increase rates by an average of 23% after a texting ticket – the equivalent of a $346 hike. However, Insurance.com found that premium increases can vary significantly between states. So while drivers picking up a violation in California can expect the steepest increase in their auto insurance premium of 45% – or $776 based on the average premium charged in that state – those who are caught in New York and Louisiana will typically suffer only a 12% rise.
Auto insurer powers
Perhaps surprisingly, not all drivers busted cellphone-in-hand on the highway will be hit in the pocket. In some states – including Idaho and North Carolina – it is illegal for car insurance companies to raise rates for a texting ticket conviction. And even where auto insurers are free to act, not all will place higher premiums on guilty drivers.
“If you live in a state that treats a texting ticket as a moving violation, it’s treated by insurance companies like any other minor ticket,” says Michelle Megna, editorial director of Insurance.com. “But there’s a big difference in how individual companies handle tickets. With some, a single ticket might not affect your rates at all. Others might decide you don’t qualify for a good driver discount anymore. And some might actually raise your rates quite a bit.”
What is almost certain to guarantee a rate increase is getting caught more than once, Megna adds.
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