Will a cell phone ticket affect car insurance rates?

A cell phone ticket will affect car insurance rates in most cases. A ticket for being on the phone while driving could increase rates by an average of 30%. Talking on a cell phone is a moving violation that results in fines and higher insurance rates.

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UPDATED: May 19, 2022

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Written By: Laura BerryReviewed By: Joel OhmanUPDATED: May 19, 2022Fact Checked

Here's what you need to know...

  • Traffic laws can vary significantly from one state to the next
  • Driving and talking on your cell phone can cause many problems
  • If you are ticketed for being on your phone while driving, your car insurance rates could go up by an average of 30%, depending on your insurance company

Will my insurance go up for a cell phone ticket? Do cell phone tickets affect insurance rates? Generally, yes, whether you are texting or just making a phone call.

Changing technology affects every area of our lives, including car insurance.

Most states have regulated cell phone use while driving, and your car insurance rates will probably go up for a cell phone ticket. Exactly what you’ll be cited with and how high a fine you will pay will depend on the jurisdiction in which you received the ticket.

Gaining access to online car insurance quotes is no secret, but it is necessary. Comparing car insurance quotes will help you get the best coverage at the cheapest rates. Just enter your ZIP now to get started, but be honest about any cell phone tickets you’ve received.

Your Car Insurance May Increase if You Get a Ticket for Being on the Phone While Driving

Being on your phone while driving is a hazard. Along with other kinds of distracted driving, this practice affects car insurance rates and is a huge issue these days. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, almost 3,000 people were killed in 2018 from distracted driving. That’s why many states are taking cell phone use so seriously.

Do cell phone tickets affect insurance? How much does a ticket for texting while driving increase insurance?

If you get a ticket for talking while driving, how high your rates go up depends on your insurance company and the state in which you were ticketed. The National Conference of State Legislatures (NCSL) states that 20 states prohibit hand-held cell phone usage when driving, and 48 states have banned texting and driving.

Getting a ticket for using your cell phone will generally raise your car insurance rates, not to mention the fines and possible jail time. Your penalties will vary greatly depending on the state where you get your ticket.

For example, let’s look at how a cell phone ticket will affect your car insurance rates in South Carolina, California, and Florida if you have GEICO.

Geico Car Insurance Rates with a Cell Phone Ticket
Company45-year-old Male in SC with a Clean Record45-year-old Male in SC with a Cell Phone Ticket45-year-old Male in CA with a Clean Record45-year-old Male in CA with a Cell Phone Ticket45-year-old Male in FL with a Clean Record45-year-old Male in FL with a Cell Phone Ticket
Geico Monthly$154.82$175.70$121.70$212.25$141.12$151.20
Geico 6-month$928.90$1,054.20$730.18$1,273.48$846.70$907.20
Geico Annual$1,857.80$2,108.40$1,460.36$2,546.96$1,693.40$1,814.40
Rate Increase13.49%74.41%7.15%
Get Your Rates Quote Now

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This data shows you that not all car insurance rates will be affected the same. While GEICO only increases rates around 7% if you get a cell phone ticket in Florida, that increase jumps an incredible 75% in California.

And those increases are for just one ticket. Having multiple tickets on your driving record will make your car insurance rates skyrocket.

Just like seat belt laws, how a particular state views talking while driving violations will have a huge impact on how high your insurance rates will go.

But unlike seat belt tickets, there are very few states that will let you off with a simple fine and no points on your license.

The one exception to this rule occurs in states where talking on a cell phone while driving is not considered a primary offense.

In these states, you cannot be pulled over simply for driving while talking. There must be something else involved such as speeding, failing to signal a turn, driving with a suspended registration or license, etc.

Where talking and driving is not a primary offense, it is often possible to negotiate so that the court is only holding you accountable to the primary offense.

Suffice it to say that, if you’re caught driving while talking on your cell phone, you’re going to suffer at least some consequences.

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Using the Phone While Driving

As we’ve noted, some states are rolling out laws to encourage drivers to put down their cell phones. Tickets for any type of distracted driving affects car insurance rates, including cell phone usage. When it comes to a bad driving record, auto insurance gets expensive and your premiums will go up.

Using portable Bluetooth or a headset are also options while driving. Some newer cars have built-in Bluetooth, which allows you to set up your cell phone with your car to allow you to speak hands-free.

Also, OnStar, which has been a hands-free system in cars produced by General Motors for nearly a decade, now offers an aftermarket system that can be installed in any car.

However, it is important to remember that some states consider driving while talking illegal, even if you are not physically holding the phone to your ear.

In fact, according to the United States Department of Transportation, drivers who use a handheld device are four times more likely to be seriously injured than drivers who don’t.

Do your best not to speak on your cell phone while driving. If you must take the call, pull over to the side of the road to speak.

Some other examples of distracted driving include eating while driving, reading while driving, and using your GPS system while you are driving. These are all situations that could cause an accident on the road. So, if you need to grab a bite or check for directions, just pull over.

When you are driving, it’s best to put down the phone and wait until you reach your destination to send that text or make a call.

States that have Banned Only the Use of Handheld Devices

There are currently 20 states where the use of any handheld device while driving is completely prohibited. These states include California, Delaware, Georgia, and Hawaii.

The prohibited handheld devices include:

  • Cell phones
  • Portable music players
  • Tablet computers
  • Palm Pilots

When it comes to cell phones, some states such as New York and California, allow you to talk while driving as long as you’re using a headset or Bluetooth device.

Is talking on a cell phone a moving violation?

Almost every state considers violations of cell phone laws to be at least a moving violation, and some states even consider it a misdemeanor. Any type of moving violation affects car insurance rates.
Do cell phone tickets go on your record? Yes, they generally do go on your driving record, especially if they are considered a moving violation. You will see a car insurance increase to go along with the points on your driving record.

Additionally, 28 states ban all cell phone use among new drivers and assess significant fines for doing so. These drivers will also see increased insurance rates if they receive a ticket.

States that Allow Use of Handheld Devices

There are some states where drivers are allowed to use cell phones to talk while driving. However, there are 34 states where texting while driving is also prohibited.

Needless to say, texting while driving is just as dangerous as talking while driving. States take this very seriously and will punish violators accordingly.

Also, it is important to note that more than half of the states ban all use of cell phones while driving among new drivers and drivers with a long list of moving violations.

New drivers are especially vulnerable to accidents already without adding cell phone use.

Many states impose extremely punitive fines and add points to a license to discourage young drivers from engaging in this type of activity.

Many car insurance companies assign higher rates based on a point threshold. In other words, a rate increase may not kick in until you reach a five-point threshold, allowing you two tickets for talking on the phone before your rates go up.

Obviously, one ticket for talking on the phone combined with another for speeding will push you over the threshold.

Now is the time for you to start searching for better car insurance rates than you pay now. Compare quotes now by entering your ZIP to get the cheapest rates even if you’ve gotten cell phone tickets.

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Frequently Asked Questions about Cell Phone Tickets and Car Insurance

Keep reading for answers to some commonly asked questions about cell phone tickets.

#1 – How much is talking on the phone ticket in New Jersey?

If you are caught driving and on a cell phone, tickets in NJ start at $200 and go up for each offense. You can also get points on your driving license and have it suspended for up to 90 days.

#2 – How much is a ticket for being on your phone in Connecticut?

In CT, cell phone ticket points are assessed for each occurrence. You will receive two points each time and fines start at $150 and go up.

#3 – How much were cell phone tickets in California in 2017?

In 2017, cell phone tickets in California started at $20 as a base fine. How much is talking on the phone ticket in 2020? You might be surprised to learn that the fines are still the same in 2020. There are additional penalties and fees that can be added, taking the total over $150.

Editorial Guidelines: We are a free online resource for anyone interested in learning more about auto insurance. Our goal is to be an objective, third-party resource for everything auto insurance related. We update our site regularly, and all content is reviewed by auto insurance experts.

A former insurance producer, Laura understands that education is key when it comes to buying insurance. She has happily dedicated many hours to helping her clients understand how the insurance marketplace works so they can find the best car, home, and life insurance products for their needs.

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Written by Laura Berry
Former Insurance Agent Laura Berry

Joel Ohman is the CEO of a private equity backed digital media company. He is a CERTIFIED FINANCIAL PLANNER™, author, angel investor, and serial entrepreneur who loves creating new things, whether books or businesses. He has also previously served as the founder and resident CFP® of a national insurance agency, Real Time Health Quotes. He has an MBA from the University of South Florida. Jo...

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Reviewed by Joel Ohman
Founder & CFP® Joel Ohman

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