How Much Is a Speeding Ticket in California?

A speeding ticket in California can cost up to $490, but will also have an impact on your car insurance.
Kayda NormanMar 13, 2020

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A speeding ticket in California might not seem like a big deal at first. After all, the average base fee for going over the speed limit is $35, with fines all the way up to $200 depending on how fast you’re going. But this price doesn’t include additional penalties, court fees or .

Your base fine combined with surcharges and other penalties for a traffic ticket can range from $238 to $490 depending on how fast you were going, according to the Judicial Branch of California. Additional penalties and fees may be applied, depending on location.

If you get a speeding ticket in highway construction zones and maintenance areas, your fee will be increased by $35.

But the biggest hit to your bank account is yet to come: The average 40-year-old California driver will pay 42% more per year for full coverage insurance after one speeding ticket, according to NerdWallet’s 2020 rate study. For our analysis, includes liability coverage, uninsured motorist protection, comprehensive and collision insurance.

Based on our research, the true cost of a speeding ticket in California could be more than 33 times the cost of the actual ticket — considering drivers could pay an additional $1,184 for a $35 ticket. That total cost includes the average $694 per year in additional insurance premiums, based on our analysis, and up to $490 in fees to the state of California.

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California drivers with clean records have three options after receiving a minor speeding ticket:

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If you are eligible for a traffic safety course: You can complete traffic school and avoid points on your driving record. This is called a “confidential conviction” and it doesn’t affect insurance rates, but you still have to pay a fine. You must have a valid license and have gotten your speeding ticket in a private (nonwork) vehicle to be eligible.

After a conviction: If you are found guilty for speeding, you should consider shopping around for . Some insurers will overlook traffic violations, but you won’t know if your company is one of them unless you do the research.

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Car insurance companies use multiple factors beyond a person’s driving history to determine auto insurance rates. These factors can include gender, location and a car’s make and model.

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Additional characteristics insurers will certainly consider are age and coverage amount. NerdWallet’s 2020 rate analysis looked at the average rates for a 40-year-old driver in California after one speeding ticket, going 16 mph over the speed limit and a 25-year-old driver in California after a speeding ticket. We also analyzed rates for both minimum and full coverage.

Does this mean young drivers with a speeding ticket are doomed to spend thousands of dollars on car insurance a year unless they purchase minimum coverage? Not necessarily.

Although these are the auto insurance trends we’re seeing for drivers with speeding tickets in California, insurance companies use different formulas when calculating rates. For example, one company may charge young drivers 10% more than older drivers with the same driving history. Meanwhile, another insurer might charge young drivers only 5% more. The only way you’ll find the cheapest price is if you with multiple companies.

It’s smart to shop around and get several quotes to find the cheapest insurer after a speeding ticket. To help find the best company for you, NerdWallet compared rates among the largest insurance companies in California for hypothetical 40- and 25-year-old drivers ticketed for going 16 mph over the speed limit.

*USAA is available only to active military, veterans and their families.

*USAA is available only to active military, veterans and their families.

For 40-year-old drivers with one speeding ticket who can’t buy insurance from USAA, CSAA is the cheapest choice on average. CSAA is the AAA insurance provider for all of Northern California, and an AAA membership is required. Kemper and Geico were next cheapest, respectively.

Similarly, USAA provides the lowest rates for 25-year-olds in California with one speeding ticket, with CSAA second-cheapest. In contrast to 40-year-old drivers, Wawanesa and 21st Century provide the next lowest rates for young drivers.

Keep in mind, Wawanesa insures only “good drivers” who don't have more than one traffic violation or at-fault accident point in the past 36 months. If you get another speeding ticket or have an at-fault accident, you may be rejected for coverage by Wawanesa and others, and may need to use a .

You still may have plenty of options. Besides price, consider a company’s customer satisfaction ratings, consumer complaint data and coverage options. Taking the time to shop around could not only save you hundreds of dollars, but it could also help you find the company that’s the best fit for you.

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Methodology

For our “good driver” profile, NerdWallet averaged rates from the largest insurers in the state for 40-year-old men and women in all ZIP codes with 12,000 annual miles driven. The policy includes:

If required, minimum additional coverages were added. Our “young driver” had all the same characteristics, but average rates were for 25-year-old men and women. We used the same assumptions for all other driver profiles, with the following exceptions:

We used a 2016 Toyota Camry LE for all drivers. In all cases, a paperless discount, e-signature discount and electronic funds transfer discount were automatically applied. These are rates provided by Quadrant Information Services. Your own rates will be different.

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