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Does a Seatbelt Ticket Affect Insurance?

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Why you can trust Insurify

Insurify partners with top insurance companies and is a licensed agent in all 50 states. However, the insurance experts writing our content operate independently of our partners. Check out reviews from over 3,000 satisfied customers, how we make money, our data methodology, and our editorial standards.
Maria Sanchez

By: Maria Sanchez

Edited by Jackie Cohen

Updated September 15, 2022

A safety feature put in motor vehicles to protect drivers and passengers, seatbelts save lives. If you’ve seen the “Click It or Ticket” campaign, then you know that not wearing a seatbelt runs the risk of getting a traffic violation. While this is relatively minor, it is still important to know how—and if, depending on what state you live in—it can affect car insurance rates.

Don’t let a little seatbelt violation be the reason why you see a spike in your insurance premium. Insurify is here to help you save on costs. We do all the work to make sure you get the best rates by sifting through millions of quotes and giving you side-by-side comparisons. Compare car insurance quotes and choose your perfect policy today.

Quick Facts

  • At most, seatbelt tickets can affect your car insurance rates by up to 3 percent, but it depends.

  • You are not likely to get pulled over for not wearing a seatbelt, as it is a conditional ticket.

  • A seatbelt ticket may or may not impact you at all, depending on what state you live in.

Is not wearing a seatbelt illegal across the United States?

Will a seatbelt ticket increase my car insurance rates?

Though it depends on the state you live in, seatbelt tickets are generally not reflected in car insurance quotes.

While you should wear your seatbelt at all times in order to protect your own safety (regardless of the law), it is not legally required in all states. New Hampshire is the only state where there is no seatbelt law, except in the case of passengers under 18 years old. But in any of the other 49 states, it is the law for the driver and front-seat passengers to be strapped in when on the road.

In the case of passengers who get caught riding without a safety belt, the driver might still be the one who gets in trouble with a ticket. This varies on a state-to-state basis, so check your local laws. If you have a child passenger under the age of 18 in your car without a seatbelt and you get pulled over by law enforcement, then you are responsible for the ticket, not the minor.

Compared to other more severe traffic violations, getting a seatbelt ticket isn’t the worst thing that could happen because it is a conditional violation. This means that you can’t get pulled over just for not wearing a seatbelt. But if you get pulled over for any other reason, like running a red light, and the police officer notices, then you would get hit with two separate tickets.

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Not All Seatbelt Tickets are the Same

Each state treats traffic tickets differently. In some states, a seatbelt ticket might be considered a moving violation. In this case, this is where you might need to worry about it raising your auto insurance rates. If this is not your first offense and you have other moving violations on your record, like speeding tickets or not stopping for a school bus, then it could hurt you even more.

However, a handful of states treat seatbelt tickets as non-moving violations, comparing them to the likes of parking tickets, which might have better or no outcomes on your insurance. Lastly, some states, like Minnesota, might just give you a slap on the wrist. In this more fortunate case, drivers caught without a seatbelt just have to pay a fine. It does not count as a driving violation.

If your state treats seatbelt violations seriously, then you might face other penalties for breaking this traffic law. On top of a potential increase in your insurance premium, you also run the risk of adding points on your driving record, which can hurt how much you pay in the future with other insurance companies. In very rare instances, you may also be responsible for paying court fees.

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States that consider seatbelt tickets as a non-moving violation

Finding out that your seatbelt ticket is handled as a non-moving violation is the ideal situation. This means that law enforcement does not place a citation on your driving record and you will not rack up points on your driver’s license. There is little to no change in your car insurance rates. Keep in mind, though, that the state you get caught driving in matters, not your residence.

State laws change regularly, so keep an eye on any updates by checking rules from that specific state’s DMV. Here is a list of states that treat seatbelt tickets as a non-moving violation:

States that consider seatbelt tickets as a moving violation

On the other hand, breaking this traffic law and getting charged with a moving violation can have some impact on your driving record and, therefore, negatively impact how much you pay in car insurance. seatbelt tickets are treated as minor offenses, very much unlike a hit-and-run or driving under the influence. Not a felony, this is usually more of an infraction or misdemeanor.

In this case, failing to use a safety restraint can add points to your license or stay on your driving record, which would impact your car insurance rates, similar to a claim or collision in your history. Some states might also charge not only the driver but also the passengers a fine for not being strapped in. Here are a few states that treat seatbelt tickets a bit more severely:

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How a Seatbelt ticket affects your car insurance rates

A seatbelt ticket could affect your car insurance rates, depending on whether your state deems it a moving or non-moving violation, your pre-existing driving record, and even your insurer. In the worst case, if you are charged with a moving violation, it will not have a huge impact on your rates because it is considered a minor infraction, unlike a DUI or an expired license.

At most, it’s not likely that a seatbelt ticket will cause more than a three percent increase in your insurance rates. By comparison, a more serious violation like reckless driving or a DUI can spike your rates by 20 percent or more. Because a seatbelt ticket is so minor, paying it and leaving it on your record is an incredibly simple option with very little consequence.

Some actions you can take to help offset costs if needed:

Dispute the ticket. If you believe you were wrongly charged with a seatbelt ticket, then you might want to consider appealing it. In some cases, you might have to go to court to do so, or even hire a lawyer. But if you are confident in your ability to get out of it, then it could lead to some benefits, like paying fewer fines or even dropping the ticket entirely.

Talk to a professional to find out how long the ticket will stay on your record. The DMV, police officer, or an insurance agent can all help you better understand your state’s laws and your options. A representative from your insurance company can also help you figure out what a minor violation on your driving record entails. It might be very minimal!

Be extra careful behind the wheel in the future. Being a good driver has its benefits. Not only does it keep you and your passengers safe, but it also protects others on the road and can lead to great discounts! Many insurance companies offer discounts that reward drivers with clean driving records or those who go claims-free for a number of months.

Consider enrolling in a minor violation forgiveness program. Just like with speeding tickets or other violations you might have on your record, you can show insurance companies that you are a responsible driver by taking driving courses. If your driving record is clean and this is your first offense, some insurers would be willing to forgive it, especially because it is minor.

Go a step further with traffic school. Alternatively, if your driving history shows a number of claims, collisions, and accidents already on it, then you might need to figure out a more serious solution. In this case, you might want to consider a defensive driving traffic course that can help you get lower insurance rates in the long run.

If you find that none of these solutions is an option, or maybe you try one and don’t see your rate decrease at all, you might want to consider buying a policy from a new insurance company. Insurify can help you get an affordable rate by comparing quotes from hundreds of companies. Other insurers might not care about your seatbelt ticket as much, or even at all.

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Seatbelt Tickets: Not the End of the world

At the end of the day, getting a seatbelt ticket isn’t ideal, but it really won’t hurt you that much. While it can affect your car insurance rates, at most, you might see a minimal increase of three percent. That means that if you pay $200 for your monthly premium and get charged with a seatbelt violation, then your premium could go up to just $206. It’s not worth the hassle of court.

What you might need to worry about is racking up points on your driver’s license or driving history if you already have a number of claims or violations. In this case, it might be time to shop around for another policy. Insurify has you covered. In just a few minutes, we can help you find affordable rates that fit your needs and budget. A cheaper policy is just a couple of clicks away!

Frequently Asked Questions

  • seatbelt use is required in every state across the country, with the exception of New Hampshire, where only minors (those under the age of 18) have to buckle up. No matter if you are the driver or in the back seat, seatbelts are safety features included in cars to prevent fatalities and injury. Regardless of whether or not it’s illegal, it’s always recommended that you drive safely.

  • Follow traffic laws and you should be all set; a seatbelt ticket is a conditional violation, meaning you can’t get pulled over just for driving without one. However, if you are caught, what happens next depends on what state you’re driving in. Regardless of if you live there or not, that state might treat it as a non-moving or moving violation. The latter is the one that could raise rates.

  • Across each of the 50 states, it’s required by law that minors (or anyone under the age of 18) be buckled in when in a car. However, car seat laws are different. In most cases, children under the age of 5 and less than 60 pounds must ride in a car seat; otherwise, seatbelts are ineffective. Children ages 5 to 8 should be in a booster seat, but especially if they are shorter than five feet.

  • Thankfully, a seatbelt ticket is so minor that even if you are charged with it as a moving violation, it should not increase your rates by any more than three percent. In the grand scheme of things, accepting the ticket, paying it, and dealing with a very minimal increase in rates is a lot easier than going through the hassle of paying legal fees to find a lawyer to represent you in court.

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Maria Sanchez
Maria Sanchez

Insurance Writer

Maria Sanchez is a personal finance writer specializing in auto, home, and renters insurance. With a special interest in educational content, Maria distills complex financial information to be more accessible to the greater public. She holds degrees from the University of Massachusetts and the London School of Economics.

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