Reckless Driving and Auto Insurance Rates

Reckless driving auto insurance rates are very expensive. A first-time reckless driving offense means a ticket of up to $2,500, though how much a reckless driving ticket costs you will vary by state. Insurance rates for reckless drivers will also increase significantly. Reckless driving insurance coverage can be expensive, but there are ways to lower costs, and different offenses can mean varying increases.

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Chris Tepedino is a feature writer that has written extensively about auto insurance for numerous websites. He has a college degree in communication from the University of Tennessee and has experience reporting, researching investigative pieces, and crafting detailed, data-driven features. His works have been featured on CB Blog Nation, Flow Words, Healing Law, WIBW Kansas, and Cinncinati.com. ...

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Rachael Brennan has been working in the insurance industry since 2006 when she began working as a licensed insurance representative for 21st Century Insurance, during which time she earned her Property and Casualty license in all 50 states. After several years she expanded her insurance expertise, earning her license in Health and AD&D insurance as well. She has worked for small health in...

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Reviewed by Rachael Brennan
Licensed Insurance Agent

UPDATED: Jul 19, 2021

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Can't-Miss Facts

  • Reckless driving is driving a vehicle without regard to reasonable caution or at a speed or in a manner that endangers someone
  • Some examples of reckless driving are driving at night without headlights, racing, or driving more than 25 miles per hour over the speed limit
  • Reckless driving convictions will almost always result in higher auto insurance rates

We understand that finding the right insurer can be a hassle. This is further exacerbated by the fact that reckless driving and auto insurance rates do not mix well.

If you’re looking to buy reckless driving auto insurance, you’ll find that reckless driving auto insurance rates can be quite high, and often, coverage can be hard to come by. To help you find the best auto insurance rates for your situation, we will go through everything you need to know step-by-step.

Before learning more about reckless driving and auto insurance rates, feel free to type your ZIP code in our free tool to get reckless driving auto insurance quotes from insurers in your area. You may even be able to find cheap auto insurance for those with speeding convictions or other reckless driving offenses.

What happens if you’ve been convicted of reckless driving?

Unfortunately, your insurance rates are likely to increase.

What is considered reckless driving? According to Virginia law, reckless driving is defined as:

Irrespective of the maximum speeds permitted by law, any person who drives a vehicle on any highway recklessly or at a speed or in a manner so as to endanger the life, limb, or property of any person.

Sometimes, reckless driving can be something as simple as drowsy driving, not just driving drunk or driving 30 mph over the speed limit. So if you are in one of the occupations at the highest risk of drowsy driving or take medications that make you sleepy, make sure to familiarize yourself with the signs of drowsy driving. The last thing you want is a reckless driving ticket at the end of a long day of work.

How much is a reckless driving ticket? A reckless driving ticket could cost you anywhere from $300 to $2,500, but that’s not all. You’ll have your driving record to think about.

How long does reckless driving stay on record? It depends on where you live. In Florida, for example, it will be on your record for three to five years. However, in other states, a reckless driving citation may stay on your record for up to 11 years, and there is no standard method of expungement.

Remember that you will also have to put a reckless driving charge on your future job applications.

If you are convicted of reckless driving, your insurance rates will most likely skyrocket. A reckless driving conviction is a serious offense that will likely increase insurance costs for many years.

Motorists have seen their rates increase by 50 percent or more. Other drivers have been unfortunate enough to have their car insurance canceled by their provider. Then, you have to go through the hassle of shopping for new coverage and reinstating your license.

Many states in the U.S. are concerned with decreasing driver speed, lowering the number of drunk drivers on the road, reducing reckless driving, and improving safety. To that end, many of these states have created basic courses such as driver’s education, driver safety, and defensive driving classes for motorists to take advantage of.

As a driver, you can find these courses online, you can take them in a classroom or get personal instruction behind the wheel with a driving instructor who will ride along with you.

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What is the best auto insurance for a reckless driver?

If you have any moving violations on your driving record, you can be sure your rates will increase (we’ll discuss just how much later). However, not all insurance companies treat driving infractions the same way. For example, State Farm’s rate increases for speeding, at-fault accidents, and even DUI are significantly lower than companies like GEICO.

The General is considered the best for minimum coverage, and State Farm is considered to have the best rates after a DUI.

However, being a reckless driver can make it difficult to even find auto insurance coverage. In some cases, if an insurance company determines that you are too high-risk, they may even refuse to sell you coverage. If you’re unable to find insurance coverage successfully, your state may have an assistance program for drivers looking to buy high-risk auto insurance coverage.

Where can you buy high-risk auto insurance? If your state has an assistance program in place, most licensed insurance agents should be able to point you in the right direction. You may also be able to find out more through your local Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV).

Keep in mind this coverage will be more expensive than standard insurance because of the high-risk designation. However, you may still be able to save on high-risk insurance by taking a defensive driver course and doing your research before filing a collision claim. Get quotes for the cost of repairs before filing a claim. If you can afford to pay out-of-pocket, do so to avoid any further increases in your insurance rates.

Is there legal assistance for reckless driving?

If you’re having a tough time finding coverage, you may wish to seek legal counsel. With the help of an attorney, you can figure out exactly what your rights are and what fair rates are, given your specific situation.

A lawyer who is skilled in traffic law may be able to help you negotiate the charge down to a lesser offense, thus improving your record. Of course, most of what happens in the wake of a reckless driving charge depends heavily on state law. Your best bet is to deal locally to help resolve your particular situation.

Let’s move on to what will happen to your rates.

What happens if you’re charged with careless driving?

Your insurance premiums will go up. Why? Because your insurer will pay out even if you cause an accident while driving recklessly. In some cases, if the culpability is slight, you may get the judge to allow the charges to be reduced to improper driving, but you’ll probably still see an increase in your rates.

But there are things you can do to improve your driving record, even in the short term.

If you are a reckless driver in Alabama, for example, you’ll have to pay a ticket of up to $500, and then you’ll have two different classes you can take to improve your record. The first is a four-hour class, but in order to take it, you must have had no moving violations on your record within the past five years.

After that, if you would like to improve your record further, there is an eight-hour class on defensive driving you can take. Your previous four-hour class is required, in addition to a clean record. You can also take the eight-hour class to clear a recent reckless driving charge.

Your state will have more information on careless driving and how it affects your driving record. You can also find out how accidents and traffic violations increase car insurance rates. There is little doubt that with reckless driving, your insurance will increase.

How much will your rates increase with a reckless driving violation? Let’s take a look at a table comparing rates for those with a clean record to those with a record containing a reckless driving citation.

Average Monthly Auto Insurance Rates with a Clean Record vs. Rates with a Reckless Driving Record
StatesAverage Monthly Rates with a Clean RecordAverage Monthly Rates with a Reckless Driving Violation
Illinois$34$49
California$64$164
New York$93$153
Texas$105$145
Florida$126$225
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As you can see, a reckless driving ticket can more than double your rates (ex. in California). Is there anything you can do to lower your rates after that reckless driving violation? Fear not, you can lower these rates.

For example, in New York, there’s an all-encompassing program in place called the “Point and Insurance Reduction Program.” If you are an insured motorist who completes a certified accident prevention curriculum, you may be eligible to take up to four points off your license and save up to 10 percent off your auto insurance rates.

New Jersey is another state that has programs in place to help reduce the influence of driving citations on your record. Taking an approved defensive driving class can remove at most two points from your driver’s license if you live in the state.

Having an at-fault accident on your record will also affect your rates. Let’s take a look at a table comparing a clean record and a record with an at-fault accident on it.

Average Monthly Auto Insurance Rates with a Clean Record vs. with an At-Fault Accident
StatesAverage Monthly Rates with a Clean Record Average Monthly Rates with an At-Fault Accident
Illinois$34$52
California$64$101
New York $93$93
Texas $105$157
Florida$126$199
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Interestingly enough, rates in New York remain stagnant even with an at-fault accident on record.

It’s important to note that not all citations increase insurance rates. If you’re cited for improper seat belt use or equipment failures (i.e., a broken headlight, tail light, etc.), for example, insurance companies won’t typically increase your rates as a result.

Now, let’s move on to how you can lower your rates.

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How do you lower your auto insurance rates after a reckless driving offense?

Charged with reckless driving? Auto insurance premiums can still be lowered.

After getting charged with reckless driving, the first step is to check with your local DMV and see what classes are available to help improve your record and/or reduce the reckless driving charge.

The next step is to find out how a defensive driving course can help lower your insurance premiums.

Do you have a reckless driving charge in Texas? Are you wondering how to get full coverage insurance with a reckless driving ticket? Are you in a situation where you were denied gap insurance coverage because of reckless driving?

Perhaps you got a reckless operation offense in Ohio. It’s important to know that with any reckless driving citations, you’re going to be considered a high-risk driver.

Maybe you’re thinking, “I got a citation for careless driving, not reckless driving.” Unfortunately, while reckless driving is considered worse, both will result in you being labeled a high-risk driver. This applies to reckless driving vs. careless driving in NJ, Michigan, Montana, anywhere, really.

Remember that some insurance companies only want to cover low-risk drivers, while others want to help insure those who may be a high-risk driver. No matter what sort of company you buy your policy from, you need to be prepared to pay higher rates than you would with a clean record.

How much does insurance go up after a speeding ticket? It depends on the severity of the offense.

Let’s look at a table comparing rates for a clean record and records with a DUI and a minor speeding ticket.

Average Monthly Auto Insurance Rates for a Clean Driving Record vs. Records with a Speeding Ticket and a DUI
StatesAverage Monthly Rates with a Clean Record Average Monthly Rates with a Minor Speeding TicketAverage Monthly Rates with a DUI
Illinois$34$42$49
California$64$91$164
New York $93$107$153
Texas$105$123$145
Florida$126$159$225
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As you can see, while a minor speeding ticket does raise your rates, it’s a DUI that drastically increases what you pay for insurance.

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Reckless Driving and Auto Insurance Rates: The Bottom Line

Reckless driving is considered driving a vehicle with no regard for reasonable caution. Also, it includes driving at a speed or in a manner that endangers others. Examples include driving in the dark without your headlights or racing.

Reckless driving citations (and even careless and negligent driving citations) can mean tickets of up to $2,500, depending on where you live, and a dramatic increase in insurance rates. In fact, that rate increase can be by as much as 70 percent.

Don’t let reckless driving charges make your insurance policy unaffordable. Shop around for reckless driving auto insurance today.

Frequently Asked Questions: Reckless Driving and Auto Insurance Rates

We hope we’ve covered everything, but just in case, below are some common questions.

#1 – How long does a wet reckless charge affect your insurance and stay on your record?

A wet reckless charge will stay on your record for 10 years, and your insurer will treat it just like a DUI. Wet reckless charges increase insurance rates drastically. This includes an incident of wet reckless in Vermont, Washington State, or any other state.

#2 – How much will insurance increase with four points?

Even just two points increase a driver’s insurance by anywhere from 20 to 100 percent, depending on your state of residence.

#3 – Are there factors besides driving that can make you a high-risk driver?

Yes. A few examples include your age and credit score. The younger you are (particularly when you’re under age 25), the higher risk you are in the eyes of insurance companies, simply because of your lack of experience. Less time practicing on the road means higher chances of incidents that result in filing claims.

Your credit score can also affect your risk determination. Lower credit scores can often increase your perceived risk for insurance companies because credit score is used to determine your overall responsibility as an individual. Higher credit scores are assumed to indicate responsible life choices, which insurance companies extrapolate to mean you’ll also be a responsible driver. The reverse is also true.

Now that you know about reckless driving and auto insurance rates, type your ZIP code into the tool on this page to find reasonable rates in your area. You’ll even be able to get auto insurance quotes for convicted drivers and affordable reckless driving auto insurance for those with drunk driving convictions.

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