Will a Texting Ticket Affect My Car Insurance Rates?

Man texting while drivingWhether a ticket for texting while driving will raise your car insurance rate depends on your state’s texting-while-driving penalties and your insurer’s pricing guidelines. Use the information below and the lists at the bottom of this page to get an idea of the possible insurance implications of a texting ticket in your state.

Why State Laws and Insurer Pricing Guidelines Matter

The reason state laws are a factor is that some states classify a texting-while-driving violation as a moving violation that will add points to your record, others specifically classify them as non-moving violations that add no points to your record, and others go so far as to explicitly state that insurers are not allowed to increase insurance premiums because of a texting ticket.

Your insurer’s pricing guidelines are a factor because even if an insurer does see a texting violation on your record and your state allows them to raise your rates because of it, it still might not. This could be because the insurer just hasn’t yet incorporated it into its pricing formula or that the insurer’s claim data doesn’t show any statistically significant correlation between texting violations and higher claims costs.

So if you live in a state where insurers are explicitly barred from raising your rates because of a texting penalty, you shouldn’t see higher rates. If you live in a state where a texting violation does add points to your record, whether or not you see higher rates will likely be up to your insurer. If you live in a state where the violation isn’t classified as a moving violation and adds no points to your record, chances are that you won’t see an increase, but that might not always be the case.

In some cases, a surcharge for a texting violation can be pretty significant. One analysis showed that getting a texting ticket in New York could lead to a 9 or 10 percent rate increase.

How Your State Treats a Violation

Use the following lists for an idea of the insurance implications of a texting penalty in your state. For a table showing texting-while-driving penalties in every state, including fine sizes, click here. If a state is not listed, it is because its statute did not include specific information about the violation is treated or whether insurers can use the information for rating purposes. 

States whose bans specifically state that texting violations cannot be used by insurers to increase your rates:
  • Idaho
  • Massachusetts
  • North Carolina
  • Washington
States whose bans specifically state texting violations will not result in violation points and/or will not be considered a moving violation:
  • California — no points, not a moving violation
  • Delaware – no points
  • Idaho – no points, not a moving violation
  • Iowa – not a moving violation
  • Louisiana – not a moving violation
  • Maryland – no points unless the texting contributed to an accident
  • Nevada – first violation not considered a moving violation
  • New Jersey – no points
  • North Carolina – no points
  • Tennessee – no points, not a moving violation
  • Washington – no points, not a moving violation
States whose bans specifically state that texting violations will result in violation points and/or will be considered a moving violation:
  • Alabama – 2 points
  • Colorado – 1 point
  • District of Columbia – 1 point, moving violation
  • Nebraska – 3 points
  • New York – 3 points
  • North Dakota – moving violation
  • Vermont – 2 points for first offense and 5 points for subsequent offense
  • West Virginia – 3 points for third offense
  • Wisconsin – 4 points