True Cost of a Speeding Ticket in North Carolina

You could end up paying more than $1,700 from speeding fines, court costs and insurance rate increases.
Lisa GreenMar 18, 2020

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At first glance, a North Carolina speeding ticket may not look like a big deal — typical fines range from $10 to $50. But the costs don’t stop there.

Depending on how fast you were driving, the true cost of a speeding ticket in North Carolina can be more than $1,700, a NerdWallet analysis found. That includes the fine, court costs and three years of higher auto insurance rates, though you may not pay additional premiums for that long.

If that sounds daunting, there are a few steps you can take to reduce the expense:

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The fine for a North Carolina speeding ticket is generally $50 or less, although it can go much higher — for example, $250 if you were speeding in a marked work zone or school zone. Court costs are typically around $190.

But those one-time costs are dwarfed by the potential increase in car insurance rates. Under North Carolina state law, your auto insurance premiums are likely to jump 30% to 80% after a speeding conviction, depending on how fast you were driving. Your rates could go up 260% if you were highway racing or speeding to elude arrest.

If you’re hit by a 45% increase in premiums after a speeding ticket, your car insurance rates could go up, on average, by about:

Here’s how annual rates are affected for a hypothetical North Carolina driver recently caught driving 16 mph over the speed limit.

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You may be tempted to pay the fine and put your speeding ticket behind you. But keeping the violation off your record can save you hundreds of dollars in car insurance premiums. Here’s a look at two options.

In some cases, you can get your speeding charge reduced to a lesser offense. Depending on the details of your case, this could mean a smaller insurance increase or none at all.

You can request a reduction online at no extra cost. You may qualify if:

With this option you technically plead guilty, but if the judge grants your request, judgment against you is “continued,” or postponed indefinitely. As a result, you might avoid penalties like a fine and higher insurance rates, although you’ll still have to pay court costs.

Typically you can use one PJC every three years per insurance policy, and everyone on your policy counts toward that limit. So if your auto insurance policy covers you plus other family members, only one of you can benefit from a PJC during a three-year period.

You probably won’t qualify to enter a prayer for judgment continued if:

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Although your premiums are likely to go up after a speeding conviction in North Carolina no matter which carrier you have, it’s still important to compare . Some companies charge significantly higher prices than others after a moving violation, and one of those could be your current insurer.

We compared average rates from the eight largest insurers in North Carolina for hypothetical 40-year-old and 25-year-old drivers ticketed for going 16 mph over the speed limit.

The cheapest companies weren’t the same for everyone, but the least expensive insurer typically charged only half as much as the priciest one.

Shopping around for the lowest car insurance rates could save you hundreds of dollars. And don’t forget to check car insurance quotes again when your speeding ticket is well behind you. Rates often decline at the one-, three- and five-year anniversaries of a ticket or other violation, giving you another opportunity to save.

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 and "good driver" discounts were automatically applied. 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:

For drivers with minimum coverage, we adjusted the numbers above to reflect minimum required coverage by law in the state.

For drivers with a ticket, we added a single speeding violation for driving 16 mph over the speed limit.

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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