Do Warnings Go on Your Insurance? Exploring How Police Stops Impact Premiums

Getting pulled over and receiving a warning from a police officer can be an unpleasant and unnerving experience. While you may drive away just grateful not to get a ticket, you might worry about whether the stop will impact your auto insurance rates.

This article provides an in-depth look at how different types of police interactions affect your driving record and insurance premiums. We’ll cover:

  • Do verbal or written warnings go on your insurance record?
  • When does a traffic stop lead to increased insurance rates?
  • Strategies for keeping insurance costs low after a police stop.
  • How insurers view different traffic violations and citations.
  • Steps to take if a warning was reported incorrectly.

Gaining clarity on what does and does not impact your driving history can give you peace of mind after a police stop and help you keep insurance rates in check.

Do Verbal or Written Warnings Affect Your Auto Insurance?

The good news is verbal warnings and written warnings issued by police do not go on your insurance record or lead to premium hikes. Here’s why:

  • Verbal warnings are temporary interactions where an officer simply cautions you verbally but takes no official action. These are not documented anywhere.

  • Written warnings only go on your local police department’s records, not on your permanent driving history record. They are basically a reminder to drive safely.

  • Insurance companies only review your official state driving record and motor vehicle reports when calculating premiums. Without a citation on these records, insurers won’t even know a warning was issued.

So while getting pulled over creates anxiety in the moment, you can drive away knowing a simple warning is not going to hurt your insurance rates. Warnings are not considered a traffic conviction or violation for insurance purposes.

When Do Police Stops Lead to Increased Car Insurance Rates?

More serious citations like speeding tickets, DUIs, reckless driving convictions, and at-fault accidents will show up on your MVR and lead to insurance premium increases. Here’s how:

  • Moving violations like speeding, running a red light, improper passing, and failure to yield will add points to your license and appear on motor vehicle records. Too many points can lead to a rate hike.

  • DUIs and reckless driving citations are major driving offenses that insurers consider high-risk. Expect a steep rate increase if convicted.

  • At-fault accidents where you caused damage or injury will lead to claim payouts by your insurer. Accident surcharges and policy non-renewals can result.

  • License suspension for an offense like unpaid tickets can prompt your insurer to drop your policy until it’s reinstated.

To avoid points, violations and accidents, always practice safe driving habits. But if you do get cited, taking a defensive driving course can help remove points in some states.

How to Keep Insurance Rates Low After a Police Stop

If you receive a costly ticket that dings your driving history, don’t despair about insurance hikes just yet. Here are some proactive steps to take:

  • Compare quotes – Rates vary widely among insurers. Shop around to find the best deal after a violation.

  • Raise deductibles – Increasing your deductibles from $500 to $1,000 can offset some premium increase.

  • Adjust coverage – Dropping collision or comprehensive coverage can lower premiums if money is tight.

  • Improve credit – Having good credit can help offset rate hikes. Pay bills on time.

  • Take a defensive driving course – Available in most states, these courses can remove points.

  • Appeal tickets – Contesting a citation may get it dismissed and keep points off your record.

  • Maintain a clean record – Going ticket and accident-free for 3-5 years will allow rates to decrease again over time.

How Insurers View Different Traffic Violations

Not all driving citations are treated equally when it comes to raising auto insurance rates. Here’s how insurers classify them:

  • Major violations – DUIs, reckless/careless driving, license suspension, leaving the scene of an accident. High risk of claim = largest rate hikes.

  • Serious violations – Speeding 15+ mph over limit, improper passing, failure to yield right of way. Moderate rate increases likely.

  • Minor violations – Speeding less than 15 mph over, tailgating, broken headlight. Smaller premium impact.

  • Non-moving violations – Parking tickets, registration or equipment issues. No effect on premiums in most states.

The more serious the violation, the bigger the rate increases insurers will apply. But even minor tickets can add up over time to impact pricing.

What to Do If a Warning Was Reported Incorrectly

If you believe a written warning was incorrectly included on your motor vehicle record, you have options:

  • Contact your DMV – Call or visit your local DMV office and request a copy of your driving record. Review it for errors.

  • Dispute mistakes – File paperwork with the DMV to correct mistakes on your record and provide proof the warning should not be included.

  • Reach out to the police department – The police unit that issued the warning can also submit paperwork to amend driving records.

  • Notify your insurer – If a rate hike occurred already, contact your insurer to re-rate based on the corrected record.

Acting quickly is key, as errors can propagate across databases. But driving records can be corrected if you take appropriate steps.

The Bottom Line: Warnings Don’t Affect Insurance

While getting pulled over can be upsetting, you can take comfort knowing both verbal and written warnings will not impact your auto insurance rates or lead to premium hikes. Only formal citations that appear on your official state driving record can negatively impact your insurance pricing.

Practice safe habits behind the wheel, compare insurers regularly, and take advantage of any resources to remove infractions from your record to help keep rates as low as possible. With some diligence, a minor blip like a police stop need not have lasting effects on your insurance costs.

Will My Car Insurance Rates Go Up On a Convicted Traffic Ticket?


Do insurance companies know about written warnings?

No, written warnings do not affect insurance in most cases. Insurance companies do check customers’ driving records and raise premiums for drivers with moving violations, but written warnings are not usually added to a driver’s official record.

What does a written warning mean?

What Is a Written Warning? A written warning is used, by an employer and in the form of a document, to warn an employee of their actions in the workplace, general conduct, and the potential consequences if the employee does not remedy their behaviour (with regards to employment).

How long does a warning ticket stay on record in Texas?

In Texas, written warnings DO NOT go onto your driving record.

What is a warning from the police?

When a traffic stop is made, a warning issued by the officer is a statement that the motorist has committed some offense, but is being spared the actual citation. Officers use their own discretion whether to issue a citation or warning.

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