Even the safest drivers may fail to come to a complete stop at a stop sign now and then or may even miss a stop sign when driving on an unfamiliar road. If you're cited for a stop sign violation, it could affect how much you pay for car insurance. A number of factors can influence whether you can expect a premium increase for the infraction.
Running a stop sign is considered a moving violation, along with infractions such as speeding, failing to yield or running a red light. However, unlike infractions like driving under the influence or reckless driving, it is typically viewed as a minor violation instead of major. Although it is considered more serious than a non-moving occurrence like parking illegally, any moving violation can still impact your driving record and your auto insurance rates.
Insurance Company Rules
Auto insurance companies are typically required to file a rating plan with the insurance department of any state in which they do business. The rating plan indicates the company's policy for how it intends to treat occurrences such as minor violations. In some cases, the company's rating plan allows for forgiveness of a first violation if the policyholder can meet certain criteria, such as being insured by the company for a certain length of time. If forgiveness does not apply, the company may issue a rate increase or surcharge.
If the stop sign violation results in an accident, the situation can be quite different. In most cases, running a stop sign means the driver will be deemed at fault for any ensuing accident. If so, the company is likely to raise the driver's rates by adding an accident surcharge. If the driver has had several at-fault accidents, the result could be the termination of the policy, forcing her to obtain more expensive nonstandard coverage.
In some states, the motor vehicle department assesses points for moving violations. An accumulation of points may eventually cause an insurer to raise the driver's rates. If the driver can remain free of additional violations for a specified time frame, the points will drop off his driving record and the insurer may remove any rate increase or surcharge. If the driver successfully completes traffic school or meets other necessary requirements, it can speed up the point removal process.