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True Cost of a Speeding Ticket in California

March 13, 2020
Auto Insurance, Insurance
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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 higher insurance premiums.


How much is a speeding ticket in California?

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.

California speeding ticket fees

  • 1 to 15 mph over limit: $35.
  • 16 to 25 mph over limit: $70.
  • 26 mph to 99 mph: $100.
  • 100 mph or more over limit: $200, with higher penalties if you have a prior conviction.

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

California car insurance rates after a speeding ticket

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, full coverage car insurance 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.

» MORE: Best cheap car insurance in California

What to do after you get a speeding ticket in California

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

  • Plead guilty, pay the fine and receive a point on your license. Points can stay on your record anywhere from three to seven years, but insurance surcharges typically last one to three years.
  • Plead guilty, pay the fine and attend traffic safety school to avoid receiving a conviction and a point.
  • Request a court date where you can decide whether to plead guilty or not guilty. You can also try to negotiate your fine in court or the judge may issue a reduced fee based on your ability to pay.

» MORE: What to Do When You Get a Speeding Ticket

If you are eligible for a traffic safety course: You can complete traffic school and avoid points on your driving records. 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 car insurance quotes. Some insurers will overlook traffic violations, but you won’t know if your company is one of them unless you do the research.

Average car insurance rates after a speeding ticket in California

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

» MORE: 25 key factors that can affect your car insurance rate

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.

Average car insurance costs after a speeding ticket in California

Type of policy
Clean driving record
One speeding ticket
Annual difference
40-year-old-drivers
Full coverage$1,627$2,321$694
Minimum coverage$636$891$255
25-year-old-drivers
Full coverage$2,044$2,900$856
Minimum coverage$778$1,087$309

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 car insurance rates is by shopping around.

Cheapest car insurance companies after a speeding ticket in California

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.

California car insurance rates after a speeding ticket by company: 40-year-old drivers

CompanyAverage annual premium after a speeding ticketIncrease compared to driver with clean record
CSAA$2,009 $413
Kemper$2,054 $496
Geico$2,087 $746
Wawanesa$2,095 $617
21st Century$2,100 $512
Mercury$2,202 $528
Liberty Mutual$2,355 $889
Infinity$2,421 $621
Allstate$2,493 $763
Farmers$2,634 $841
State Farm$2,970 $1,029
Progressive$3,075 $1,281
USAA*$1,532 $132

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

California car insurance rates after a speeding ticket by company: 25-year-old drivers

CompanyAverage annual premium after a speeding ticketIncrease compared to driver with clean record
CSAA$2,277 $467
Wawanesa$2,309 $682
21st Century$2,518 $535
Mercury$2,817 $683
Kemper$3,023 $736
Geico$3,046 $1,090
Allstate$3,056 $953
Liberty Mutual$3,150 $1,008
Farmers$3,191 $1,022
Infinity$3,342 $866
Progressive$3,446 $1,461
State Farm$3,474 $1,205
USAA*$1,810 $158

*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 a 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 high-risk insurance company.

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, it can also help you find the company that’s the best fit for you.

» MORE: NerdWallet’s auto insurance reviews for 2020

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:
  • $100,000 bodily injury liability per person.
  • $300,000 bodily injury liability per accident.
  • $50,000 property damage liability per accident.
  • $100,000 uninsured motorist coverage per person.
  • $300,000 uninsured motorist coverage per accident.
  • Collision coverage with a $1,000 deductible.
  • Comprehensive coverage with a $1,000 deductible.
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:
  • 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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