Auto insurance can be quite costly depending on where you live, and most drivers work hard to keep their rates cheap through careful, responsible driving. You likely already know that accidents, speeding tickets, and other moving violations can affect your premiums and cause your rates to go up, but does a seatbelt ticket affect insurance? If you’re wondering if getting a seatbelt ticket will go on your driving record, the answer depends primarily on your insurance company and the state in which you live.
Since a seatbelt ticket is a minor traffic violation, many states do not consider a seatbelt ticket a moving violation. These states also do not allow insurers to penalize drivers for not wearing a seatbelt. Some good insurance companies don’t even consider minor tickets as risk factors, and therefore do not let a seatbelt ticket affect insurance rates.
Let’s learn more about seatbelt tickets and how they can affect insurance premiums and driving records.
Does A Seatbelt Ticket Affect Insurance Rates?
Of all the different traffic tickets and violations that you could receive, a seatbelt ticket may seem very minor. After all, failing to wear a seatbelt does not put other drivers at risk. Unfortunately, from the point of view of your insurer, seat belts reduce your risk of injury. This means that in the event of an accident, you are likely to sustain fewer injuries, which would cost your insurance company less money in medical expenses. As a result, most insurance companies will raise your premiums for a seatbelt ticket.
Do Seatbelt Tickets Go On Your Record?
Whether or not seatbelt tickets go on your record depends on a few important factors.
First Violation Forgiveness
Some insurers offer “first violation forgiveness”, which simply means that your first violation will not affect your premiums. However, this does not mean that the ticket will not go on your driving record.
Fighting a Seatbelt Ticket In Court
If you are fighting a seatbelt ticket in the court system, and your ticket is dismissed, it does not go on your record and your insurance premiums will not increase.
Your Car was Manufactured Before 1963
Some cars made before 1963 year did not have seat belts, and you are not required to wear them in these cases. However, children must always be properly restrained, even in these antique cars. Failing to do this can result in a violation on your driving record and your car insurance will go up.
Finally, if you have a doctor’s note that excuses you from wearing your seatbelt due to some sort of medical condition, you can’t be ticketed for failure to wear a seatbelt, and it will not go on your record.
Which States Do Not Consider A Seatbelt Ticket A Moving Violation?
There are many states that do not consider a seatbelt ticket a moving violation. States like Alabama, Arizona, Delaware, Minnesota, Indiana, Michigan, Nevada, Missouri, Kentucky, North Carolina, Utah, and Wyoming count a seatbelt ticket as a non-moving violation. This means that a seatbelt violation in these states will not affect your insurance.
On the other hand, states like Connecticut and Massachusetts do consider a seatbelt ticket a moving violation. Furthermore, a ticket in these states will go on your driving record.
Who Receives The Violation – The Driver or Passenger?
Different states also have unique ways of issuing tickets. Some states will issue the driver a ticket if the passenger is not wearing a seatbelt, and others will issue the ticket only to the individual passenger in violation of the law. If your state issues seatbelt tickets to passengers, the violation will not affect your driving record or insurance premiums, but it may affect the passenger’s.
For example, in Washington, passengers age 16 and up can receive tickets if they are not buckled up – the driver is not liable. However, if a child under 16 is not restrained with a seat belt, the driver is ticketed, even if that driver is a teen.
If you are charged with a violation, the seatbelt ticket will add points to your license, go on your driving record, and your insurance rates will be affected.
To be certain, be sure to review the laws in your state. If you see your premiums increase, compare car insurance companies and coverage options to find the lowest rates on the market.