Where You Live Could Mean Higher Costs for Speeding Tickets

No one wants to get a speeding ticket, but did you know that you could end up paying more than others based on what city you're from? A new study released last month revealed that where you live can determine the increase in your vehicle insurance costs as a result of a traffic violation.

In Illinois, the cost of a conviction of driving 15mph or more over the speed limit is $120. The actual financial impact of the ticket, however, is much greater. A study done by NerdWallet—a financial advice company in San Francisco—found that on average, an individual's insurance rates will be increased by $125 per year for up to five years after the violation. That's an actual cost of $745 over 5 years, which is no small amount of change.

The study covered 88 Illinois municipalities that had 15,000 or more residents. Among them, Harvey had the highest increases in insurance premiums due to a speeding ticket while the lowest were in Evanston. Between the two ends of the spectrum, there was a $401 difference in the additional insurance costs paid over 5 years. This seems a drastic cost difference for the exact same crime—and in the same state no less. John Kuo, who conducted the study for NerdWallet, pointed out several factors that relate to the variations in insurance costs including average household income, education levels, employment rates and crime.

The study does include advice on what to do if you receive a speeding ticket in order to minimize the financial impact. One option, the site suggests, would be to attend traffic school to save yourself from a conviction. If that option is available, you may have to pay a fee up front ($27 in Cook County), but your insurance rates would not increase. If you cannot avoid the conviction, it might be worthwhile to seek out quotes from other insurance carriers to find out how your costs would vary given the ticket.

No matter where you live, this study makes one thing very clear: more than just an inconvenience or hard hit to your wallet today, a speeding ticket can really cost you.

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