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True Cost of a Speeding Ticket After Insurance Increases in North Carolina

Aug. 17, 2014
Auto Insurance, Insurance
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North Carolina’s car insurance premiums are among the lowest in the country—that is, as long as drivers stay on the right side of the law. Those who are assessed a speeding ticket in North Carolina face many expenses on the way to recovering their good record. First, if they’re caught going 15 mph over the speed limit, they will—in most cases—pay a $30 ticket, plus $188 in court costs. They’ll also receive points on their license.

Legal penalties are just the beginning. North Carolina’s Department of Insurance maintains a separate system for violations affecting auto insurance. Drivers receive points against their insurance—the amount depends on the speed limit in the zone where the driver was caught and the speed they were driving—and premium increases that last for three years. The true cost of a speeding ticket in North Carolina is more than 53 times the cost of the actual ticket—drivers pay an average of $1,619.63 for a $30 speeding ticket.

What to Do If You Get a Speeding Ticket in North Carolina

Fortunately, drivers who are caught speeding in North Carolina have a few good options, as long as they haven’t had any violations within the previous three years. Agent Shaun Adams of S.J. Adams Insurance in Raleigh says, “We’ll recommend our clients go to an attorney and get the charge reduced to 10 over”—that is, 10 mph over the speed limit, which carries a lesser penalty. If the driver is successful, there’ll be no points assessed on his or her record and the insurance premium won’t change.

Drivers may also enter a Prayer for Judgment Continued (PJC). In this case, a driver may technically receive a conviction, but without insurance consequences. However, each household is only allowed one PJC every three years for insurance purposes, so drivers should use this privilege carefully. “If you get another ticket within three years, you’ll pay the penalty for both,” Adams warns.

Those unable to lodge a PJC or reduce their charge will receive insurance points and a premium hike at renewal. If their record is still good enough, Adams suggests they look for an insurer with a lower base rate: “Sometimes you can get a better deal,” he says.

Key findings 

  • While North Carolina’s average car insurance premium is a very reasonable $902.67, drivers who are caught speeding will pay an average of $1,369.89 each year—a hike of 51.81%, or $467.21—provided they switch insurers.
  • As in many states, North Carolina drivers experience premium increases for three years after a traffic offense. This means they’re actually on the hook for an average of $1,401.63 in additional insurance payments as the result of one ticket.
  • On average, a driver convicted of driving 15 miles an hour over the speed limit will pay $1,619.63 once fines, court fees and three years’ worth of car insurance increases are factored in.

The most expensive speeding tickets in North Carolina

Note: Places with similar demographics, regulation and geography often have comparable insurance rates. As a result, several spots on our top 10 list are ties between two or more cities.

1. Hope Mills
    Spring Lake

True cost of a speeding ticket: $1,830.50

Drivers in Hope Mills and Spring Lake will pay the most after a speeding ticket in North Carolina. Even before receiving a speeding ticket, drivers in Hope Mills and Spring Lake face high car insurance rates. On average they pay $1,101.83 annually, about $200 more than the state average.

2. Fayetteville

True cost of a speeding ticket: $1,825.82

Fayetteville is a close neighbor to Hope Mills and Spring Lake and the city’s drivers face the next highest premium increase after a speeding ticket, even if they switch providers. Drivers will, on average, pay $535.94 more for insurance each year.

Fayetteville is the home of Fort Bragg, a major army base. When searching for car insurance, soldiers should see if they are able to get a discount. USAA, a car insurance company, only offers insurance to soldiers and their family members. If drivers qualify for USAA, it is often the cheapest option.

3. Charlotte

True cost of a speeding ticket: $1,822.76

Charlotte is North Carolina’s largest city and its drivers will pay the third highest penalty for a speeding ticket over three years. Before receiving a ticket, the typical Charlotte driver will pay $992.83 per year for car insurance. After receiving a speeding ticket, however, Charlotte drivers will see their annual premiums jump to $1,604.76.

4. Lumberton

True cost of a speeding ticket: $1,814.24

Further south, drivers in Lumberton and Laurinburg experience the next largest premium increase after a speeding ticket even if they switch providers: about $532.08 per year. This amounts to a 50.05% increase, lower than the one experienced by Charlotte drivers. Still, because Lumberton and Laurinburg drivers have higher base premiums for safe drivers, those with a speeding ticket will pay $1,595.08 per year in car insurance.

The southeast part of the state, where Lumberton and Laurinburg are located, is relatively expensive for those purchasing auto insurance. Several other cities and towns in the top 10 are nearby. Interestingly, one of the larger cities in the region, Wilmington, has a per-year insurance increase of about $30 less than Lumberton and Laurinburg.

5. Sanford

True cost of a speeding ticket: $1,793.27

Sanford, Clayton and Smithfield, all situated between Raleigh and Fayetteville, have the next highest difference between pre- and post-ticket premiums. Drivers in these towns will see a premium around $1,557.42 once they’ve been convicted of speeding. This is an increase in premiums of about $525.09 per year, or $1,575.27 total over the three-year penalty.

Though the three towns are relatively distant from major cities, residents pay a slightly higher rate for insurance than other towns even closer to Raleigh. Apex and Garner drivers, for example, pay $1,364.75 and $1,362.08 per year for car insurance after a speeding ticket respectively, compared to $1,557.42 for Sanford, Clayton and Smithfield.

6. Jacksonville

True cost of a speeding ticket: $1,773.26

Drivers in Jacksonville pay, on average, more for car insurance than other North Carolina drivers. The typical Jacksonville driver pays $1,036.00 for car insurance annually. After receiving a speeding ticket, they will pay $518.42 more for insurance each year. Since insurance increases last for three years in North Carolina, Jacksonville drivers will pay $1,555.26 in extra insurance costs as a result of a single speeding ticket.

7. Gastonia
    Mount Holly
    Kings Mountain

True cost of a speeding ticket: $1,755.77

Gastonia, Kings Mountain, Mount Holly and Belmont all sit east of Charlotte and share the same average car insurance rates. Drivers with clean records pay an average annual premium of $986.08 but if they receive a ticket, they’ll see their rate climb to $1,498.67—$512.59 in additional premiums per year. Since rate increases last for three years, drivers will pay $1,537.77 more in total before their rates go back to normal.

8. Leland

True cost of a speeding ticket: $1,720.49

Residents of Leland, which is just outside of Wilmington, see their premiums jump to $1,454.50 if they receive a speeding ticket. This amounts to a 52.52% increase, even for comparison shoppers, or $500.83 more each year of the penalty.

The southern part of North Carolina sees slightly higher premiums, on average, than the northern part; coastal cities also rank high on the list. Leland, Wilmington, Jacksonville and Elizabeth City all make the top 10, ahead of larger cities further north and inland. Greensboro drivers see a total cost of $1,600.28 for a speeding ticket, more than $100 less than drivers in Leland. Drivers in Winston-Salem and Durham have similar figures.

9. Wilmington

True cost of a speeding ticket: $1,712.51

Wilmington drivers pay the ninth highest cost in the state for a speeding ticket, considering legal fees and insurance premiums. After three years of increased premiums, they’ll have paid an average of $1,494.51 extra to their insurance company—about $498.17 per year.

Drivers in Wilmington, the eighth largest city in North Carolina, experience higher rates than those in High Point, a city with a similar population. On average, drivers in High Point will see their car insurance rates increase by $445.16 as the result of a ticket. The typical driver in Greenville, the next largest city, will pay $474.92 more for car insurance.

10. Elizabeth City

True cost of a speeding ticket: $1,671.50

Rounding out the top 10, Elizabeth City drivers see a similar, but lower, true cost for speeding compared to other coastal drivers. Once they receive a speeding ticket, their best insurance rate increases an average 52.46%, from $923.50 to $1,408.00. That adds up to $484.50 in added premiums each year, over three years.

Elizabeth City is the northernmost town in the top 10. Though North Carolina doesn’t have as large a spread in premiums between cities as some states do, the northern part of the state does see lower average rates. In Henderson, drivers pay about $482.25 per year in added premiums after a ticket—only about $2 less than drivers in Elizabeth City, but almost $50 less than those in Lumberton or Laurinburg.

How North Carolina’s other large cities fared


True cost of a speeding ticket: $1,639.04

Raleigh drivers have the 17th-highest true cost after a ticket and the highest of North Carolina’s Research Triangle cities. On average, Raleigh drivers pay $908.80 a year for car insurance. However, after a ticket Raleigh drivers can expect their car insurance rates to increase $473.68 a year for a three-year true cost of $1,639.04.

Drivers in Chapel Hill, another corner of the Research Triangle, will pay, on average, $1,574.75 after a speeding ticket.


True cost of a speeding ticket: $1,600.67

Compared with the other Research Triangle cities, drivers in Durham pay less for a ticket after fines, court fees and insurance costs. Overall, they have the 27th-highest true cost after a ticket in North Carolina. On average, drivers will pay $460.89 each year in insurance increases after speeding for a three-year total of $1,382.67.


True cost of a speeding ticket: $1,600.28

After they are caught speeding, Greensboro drivers can expect their car insurance to increase from $901.84 to $1,362.60. And over three years, Greensboro drivers face $1,382.28 in extra insurance costs after a ticket for the 28th-highest true cost of a speeding ticket in the state.

Compared with drivers in the nearby cities of High Point and Winston-Salem, Greensboro drivers will pay a little more in extra car insurance costs. High Point drivers will pay $1,563.53, and Winston-Salem drivers will see their costs rise to $1,553.48 after a ticket.


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Most expensive cities to get a speeding ticket in North Carolina

Rank City Annual premium Annual premium after a speeding ticket Percentage increase Dollar increase Total insurance increase after three years True Cost
1 Hope Mills $1,101.83 $1,639.33 48.78% $537.50 $1,612.50 $1,830.50
1 Spring Lake $1,101.83 $1,639.33 48.78% $537.50 $1,612.50 $1,830.50
2 Fayetteville $1,093.15 $1,629.09 49.03% $535.94 $1,607.82 $1,825.82
3 Charlotte $992.83 $1,527.75 53.88% $534.92 $1,604.76 $1,822.76
4 Lumberton $1,063.00 $1,595.08 50.05% $532.08 $1,596.24 $1,814.24
4 Laurinburg $1,063.00 $1,595.08 50.05% $532.08 $1,596.24 $1,814.24
5 Sanford $1,032.33 $1,557.42 50.86% $525.09 $1,575.27 $1,793.27
5 Clayton $1,032.33 $1,557.42 50.86% $525.09 $1,575.27 $1,793.27
5 Smithfield $1,032.33 $1,557.42 50.86% $525.09 $1,575.27 $1,793.27
6 Jacksonville $1,036.00 $1,554.42 50.04% $518.42 $1,555.26 $1,773.26
7 Gastonia $986.08 $1,498.67 51.98% $512.59 $1,537.77 $1,755.77
7 Mount Holly $986.08 $1,498.67 51.98% $512.59 $1,537.77 $1,755.77
7 Kings Mountain $986.08 $1,498.67 51.98% $512.59 $1,537.77 $1,755.77
7 Belmont $986.08 $1,498.67 51.98% $512.59 $1,537.77 $1,755.77
8 Leland $953.67 $1,454.50 52.52% $500.83 $1,502.49 $1,720.49
9 Wilmington $936.25 $1,434.42 53.21% $498.17 $1,494.51 $1,712.51
10 Elizabeth City $923.50 $1,408.00 52.46% $484.50 $1,453.50 $1,671.50


Least expensive cities to get a speeding ticket in North Carolina

Rank City Annual premium Annual premium after a speeding ticket Percentage increase Dollar increase Total insurance increase after three years True Cost
1 Asheville $809.33 $1,220.67 50.82% $411.34 $1,234.02 $1,452.02
2 Indian Trail $823.42 $1,237.75 50.32% $414.33 $1,242.99 $1,460.99
3 Monroe $818.88 $1,235.00 50.82% $416.12 $1,248.36 $1,466.36
4 Harrisburg $805.75 $1,222.58 51.73% $416.83 $1,250.49 $1,468.49
5 Concord $790.42 $1,207.83 52.81% $417.41 $1,252.23 $1,470.23
5 Salisbury $790.42 $1,207.83 52.81% $417.41 $1,252.23 $1,470.23
6 Thomasville $789.92 $1,212.08 53.44% $422.16 $1,266.48 $1,484.48
6 Summerfield $789.92 $1,212.08 53.44% $422.16 $1,266.48 $1,484.48
7 Kannapolis $839.96 $1,271.00 51.32% $431.04 $1,293.12 $1,511.12
8 Asheboro $815.58 $1,250.75 53.36% $435.17 $1,305.51 $1,523.51
9 Shelby $862.33 $1,300.58 50.82% $438.25 $1,314.75 $1,532.75
9 Lincolnton $862.33 $1,300.58 50.82% $438.25 $1,314.75 $1,532.75
10 Lexington $826.75 $1,265.58 53.08% $438.83 $1,316.49 $1,534.49


To determine the average insurance premium increases, we retrieved quotes for eight different driver profiles in North Carolina: 27-year-old single men and women and 40-year-old married men and women, each driving Toyota Camrys and Ford Escapes. For each driver profile, we chose each city’s three cheapest car insurance quotes to mimic consumer behavior and to determine our overall average. We only surveyed cities that had populations greater than 10,000 residents. We calculated the total cost of a 15-mile-per-hour speeding ticket by adding the cost of a speeding ticket to three years of car insurance increases. The estimated insurance costs are for illustrative purposes only. The actual insurance increases you face will vary depending on your insurance carrier, your location and other factors.

Alice Holbrook contributed to the writing and research of this study.


Image of police officer issuing ticket via Shutterstock.