Why did they raise my car insurance when I had my ticket reduced to nine over the limit?

We handle a lot of speeding tickets for our clients in Wake County and Chatham county. The main goal for most clients is a reduction of their speeding ticket so their car insurance won't go up.

The general rule is that everyone is allowed one speeding ticket every three years under 10 miles an hour over the limit without getting any N.C. Department of Insurance SDIP points (otherwise known as insurance points).  But what we see more and more with the insurance companies is that they are getting around the law in North Carolina with a "safe driver discount."  So one is penalized with higher vehicle insurance for any sort of speeding ticket (even as low as five miles per hour over the limit) because it violates the "safe driver discount."

So our advice for most clients (assuming eligibility) is to try to get their speeding tickets reduced to the non-moving violation of improper equipment.  A reduction to improper equipment is the best way to go because it avoids the issue of the safe driver discount that a reduction to nine miles an hour over the limit will include.

I've attached a letter below from my own family insurance policy.  Someone on my insurance policy (not me) had a speeding ticket of nine miles an hour over the limit just about three years ago.  At that time Wake County wasn't allowing reductions to improper equipment.  Because of that ticket my insurance quote went up $110 for the six month insurance premium.  The only ticket on our policy was that one speeding ticket (hint, hint it was my wife) for speeding nine miles over the limit.  We should not have received any SDIP points but the insurance company still raised  the rate because they said it violated their "safe driver discount."  So in our case that one speeding ticket cost us about $660 in extra car insurance over three years. 

NC SDIP Letter.JPG

So in this example a reduction of a speeding ticket from 15 mph over the limit down to 9 miles an hour over the limit cost an extra $660 over three years.  Had we been able to get that ticket reduced to improper equipment we would have save a lot of money in higher insurance premiums because of the safe driver discount.  A reduction to improper equipment in Wake County would have saved us a lot of money if we had been able to get that close to three years ago.  Unfortunately the Wake District Attorney's Office had a new policy that went into effect in 2015 and it was not available in 2014.  Most of the other counties in North Carolina generally allow for reductions to improper equipment if the ticket and driving record meets certain county by county rules for eligibility.  The change in policy by then newly elected Wake County DA Lorrin Freeman has undoubtedly had the effect of saving Wake County residents from much higher car insurance premiums.  Our clients have certainly been able to benefit from lower insurance because of the new Wake County improper equipment policy.  The result is more money in the pockets of minor speeders and less money in the pockets of the big insurance companies.  The improper equipment reductions come with higher court costs/fines so the State of North Carolina also benefits with more revenue in the General Fund. 

The main take away is that if you are eligible for a reduction to improper equipment it's always the safer move versus a reduction to nine miles over the limit because your insurance company may have a safe driver discount that will penalize you even though you don't get any NC Department of Insurance SDIP points with a reduction in speed.

If you have received a speeding ticket in Wake County or Chatham County contact The Law Offices of Wiley Nickel,  PLLC for a free consultation at 919-585-1486. 

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Wiley Nickel

Wiley Nickel lives and works in Cary, North Carolina. In 1998, he graduated from Tulane University with a major in Political Science and a minor in History. After college Wiley went to work for Al Gore and travelled with the Vice President as part of his national advance staff. Following the Gore campaign he earned his law degree from the Pepperdine University School of Law in 2005. While in law school Wiley worked as a law clerk in the Ventura County District Attorney’s Office where he gained valuable criminal trial experience before taking and passing the California bar exam. His first job out of law school was for the Merced County District Attorney’s Office where he worked as a Deputy District Attorney with a focus on prosecuting DWI offenders. Wiley later joined the Law Offices of Joseph Uremovic where he focused on civil litigation and family law. When the opportunity came to join the Obama campaign in 2008 Wiley jumped at the chance. He spent three years travelling with President Obama as a member of his national advance team. In 2011 Wiley left his work for the White House to return to the practice of law. Wiley devotes the majority of his practice to the areas of criminal law, family law, traffic tickets and DMV issues. The Law Offices of Wiley Nickel was started with the goal of providing the best representation possible for all of his clients. Experienced, Compassionate, Aggressive Criminal Defense While defense attorney Wiley Nickel works as the primary attorney for all of his cases, he does have an associate attorney, a team of investigators, forensic consultants, and support staff to call on to help achieve the best possible result in every case. He limits his case load so that he can focus on providing the best possible legal defense to all of his clients. Every case is a top priority and the goal is to have your case dismissed with a focus on being able to expunge your charges at the end of the process. When he is not working, Wiley is an avid family man, distance runner and golfer. He loves North Carolina college sports and is hoping this is the year for Cam Newton and the Carolina Panthers. Wiley is licensed to practice law in North Carolina and California.