The start of the school year means the return of school-related traffic troubles. It’s time again to look out for school buses, crossing guards and traffic around busy school areas. School-related driving infractions can result in heavy fines and can have an even bigger impact on car insurance quotes.
NerdWallet did some math homework to find out how much your car insurance could increase after a violation related to a school bus or school zone. We found wide variations based on the type of ticket and the insurer.
Going to insurance detention
NerdWallet checked to see how insurers respond to four school-specific violations:
- Illegally passing a school bus.
- Failing to yield to a school bus.
- Speeding in a school zone.
- Disobeying a school crossing guard.
We also checked the response to a more general but related violation: failing to yield to pedestrians at a crosswalk.
We analyzed car insurance quotes from four of the biggest insurers in Florida and New York for 30-year-old drivers.
- In Florida: Allstate, Progressive, State Farm and USAA.
- In New York: Allstate, New York Central Mutual, State Farm and Travelers.
We found that violations for school-related driving offenses are generally treated the same as regular moving violations. But there are significant variations by company:
- Progressive delivered the largest rate increases: 50% for most of the violations in Florida.
- Travelers boosted rates by 57% in New York for failing to yield to a school bus, but just 14% for the other violations.
- USAA increased rates by 13% for nearly all violations in Florida, but didn’t raise rates at all for a ticket for passing a school bus illegally.
|Insurance rate increases for school-related driving violations in New York and Florida|
|No violations||Disobeying crossing guard||Illegally passing school bus||Failing to yield to school bus||Speeding in school zone||Failing to yield at crosswalk|
|New York average||$1,362||$1,516||$1,516||$1,708||$1,516||$1,516|
Methodology: Rates are averages from four large insurers for 30-year-old men and women driving a 2010 Toyota Camry with state minimum coverage (liability injury limits of $25,000 per person and $50,000 per accident, plus $10,000 in property damage and $50,000 in personal injury protection in New York; $10,000 per person and $20,000 per accident, plus $10,000 in property damage and $50,000 in personal injury protection in Florida). Your own rates will be different.
Do your homework if you get a rate increase
The upshot is that getting nabbed for a traffic violation could cost you hundreds of dollars a year in a car insurance surcharge, which often lasts for three years. But the financial pain depends on your state and insurance company.
Of course you should exercise extra care when driving in school zones and when school buses are on the road, not only to avoid tickets but also to protect schoolchildren.
If you are ticketed in a school zone — or anywhere else — and get hit by a rate increase at renewal time, it can pay off to shop around for new car insurance quotes.
Image via iStock.