Clark Howard: Calculate the true cost of that speeding ticket

Ever wonder exactly how much your auto insurance will go up after a speeding ticket? How about after two or three tickets? I have new numbers to share with you.

Local governments have gone crazy with ticketing for everything because they’re starved for revenue. You may recall that TomTom was recently busted for selling database info to police departments so the police would know exactly where people were speeding and could ticket them. (The company has now discontinued this practice.)

The calls I get are usually about the frightful cost of tickets. But what I’ve not heard a lot about is what happens to your insurance premium when you get a ticket.

The latest figures from suggest that less than one-third of drivers who got traffic tickets in the last five years are paying more for insurance. What really determines if you'll pay more is the type of ticket you get. For example, a ticket for DUI, reckless driving or leaving the scene of an accident will eat you up beyond the pale.

Meanwhile,'s Uh Oh calculator can help you gauge the impact of a moving violation on your insurance rate.

Of course, you can typically insulate yourself from higher rates by taking a driver safety course. Such courses are often sponsored by the National Safety Council and run in six-hour increments.

Meanwhile, there’s really a world of possibility for reducing what you pay for auto insurance if you use a pay-as-you-drive insurer. A company like Progressive will offer you lower rates on insurance in exchange for giving them the right to spy on your driving habits.

Consumer expert Clark Howard's column appears here each Thursday in conjunction with Deal Spotter, a weekly print section in The Atlanta Journal-Constitution. Find more answers to your consumer questions at Clark's website. And get more savings tips from Clark's previous blog posts.

-- Clark Howard -- Save More, Spend Less, Avoid Rip-offs -- for the Atlanta Bargain Hunter blog

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