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Insurance while test driving a car

  • Will a ticket raise my insurance?
  • How much will my rates increase?
  • How many points is a speeding ticket?
  • How long will a ticket affect my rates?
  • What happens if I get a ticket out of state?
  • Can I keep a ticket off my insurance?

Your first thought, when you see the flashing lights of a cop car in the rearview mirror, is "Uh-oh."

Your second thought: "How much is my insurance going to go up for this?"

Some speeding tickets may not raise your rate much or at all, depending on where you live and what other flaws are on your driving record. Others can dramatically affect your car insurance rates for years.

To affect your car insurance, a ticket of any kind – speeding, DUI, reckless driving -- must be considered a moving violation and must appear on your driving record.

Ticket Price Tag See how much a ticket could raise your insurance rates. What is your violation?

Will a ticket raise my insurance?

Some traffic violations do result in an insurance increase, but many don’t. Every company makes its own rules about which violations bring about a surcharge and how big that surcharge is, unless the state has very specific rules for insurers to follow.

Violations and tickets that will increase your insurance rates

  • DUI or other impaired driving - review DUI insurance
  • Refusing breath or blood test for impairment
  • Reckless driving (this may include major speeding violations in some states)
  • Failure to stop after an accident
  • Fleeing from police
  • Racing
  • Driving on a suspended license

If you have a clean record, the minor violations below might not bring a rate increase. If you already have a minor violation on your record, though, it’s much more likely the second one will bring a rate increase.

If you were involved in an accident at the same time you received the ticket, you are likely to get a surcharge for the accident or the ticket, but not both.

Some violations, such as no proof of insurance or not carrying your driver’s license, are typically correctable if you show proof to the court, which then dismisses them. If you don’t provide evidence, the violation would go on your record.

  • Speeding
  • Texting (in states where texting is a moving violation)
  • Failure to yield
  • Improper passing
  • Improper turn
  • Following too closely
  • Driving without insurance or no proof of insurance
  • Passing a school bus (some companies consider this a major violation)
  • Expired or missing driver’s license
  • Child-seat violations

Violations and tickets that don't affect your insurance rates

Many violations are not typically considered rating factors and thus are unlikely to affect your premiums, such as:

  • Seat-belt tickets
  • Texting and cellphone violations (in states where they are not a moving violation)
  • Equipment violations such as broken lights
  • Failure to display license plates
  • Noise violations
  • Parking violations
  • Registration violations
  • Failure-to-appear violations

How much will my insurance rates increase after a ticket?

Everything depends on your insurance company and what state you live. No two companies will raise your rates the same amount. Some won’t raise your rates after a single minor violation. Others will. That's why we recommend shopping with multiple carriers before buying a policy.

Insurance rates after a speeding ticket in California

Here's the average amount your insurance rates will increase.


Average rate


Get an online quote
Geico $156 Get a quote from Geico
State Farm $686 Get a quote from State Farm
Farmers $710 Get a quote from Farmers
Progressive $714 Get a quote from Progressive
Nationwide $818 Get a quote from Nationwide
Allstate $1,044 Get a quote from Allstate
Average $688 Get free online quotes from multiple carriers

Based on Insurance.com's analysis of more than 490,000 auto insurance quotes and data gathered by Quadrant Information Services, here's how much common infractions will affect your rates, on average:

Insurance rate increases by violation

Violation % increase in your rate
Reckless driving 22%
DUI 1st offense 19%
Driving without a license/permit 18%
Careless driving 16%
Speeding: 13%
30 mph over the speed limit 15%
15 to 29 mph over the speed limit 12%
1 to 14 mph over the speed limit 11%
Failure to stop 15%
Improper turn 14%
Improper passing 14%
Tailgating (following too close) 13%
Failure to yield 9%
No car insurance 6%
Seat belt infractions 3%

For more tailored results, use the traffic ticket calculator to enter your own age, type of dwelling, state, marital status, and length of time you’ve been with your car insurance carrier.

Here’s an example of just how different rate increases can be from company to company: For a driver in Apple Valley, Minnesota, with two speeding tickets 11 mph over the limit, one carrier wouldn't return a rate at all; five others increased rates anywhere from 13 to 121 percent.

We strongly suggest you compare car insurance quotes after a violation.

How many points is a speeding ticket?

Your state may assign demerit points for some violations and suspend your license or fine you when that total reaches a certain level. Point systems vary widely by state, but too many points can bring an SR-22 requirement that automatically makes you a high-risk driver who'll need high-risk auto insurance.

But any points your state assigns after a ticket are different from the ones your insurance company uses to calculate your rates. Insurance companies make their own calculations based on your record, but each makes its own judgments about which violations to count. Each makes its own decisions about accident fault, too.

In order for an insurance company to raise your rates, your ticket must appear on your state motor vehicle record, or MVR. An MVR shows your license status, traffic violations and accident reports.

Your rates won’t increase until the insurer checks your MVR. Some may check your MVR at every renewal; some may check only every year or two, especially for longtime customers with clean records.

How long will a ticket affect my rates?

The look-back period differs by state and by company.

You should expect at minimum to be rated on violations, accidents and suspensions for the last three years. Some companies go back to the date of the incident, and others go back to the day of conviction.

Many companies will look back five or even 10 years for major violations such as a DUI. For instance, in California insurers aren’t allowed to offer a good driver discount until 10 years have passed after a DUI violation.

And, just as a violation doesn’t raise your rates until your insurer sees the offense on your MVR, the surcharge won’t stop immediately when a violation falls off your record. You will have to wait until the next policy period when your insurer pulls your MVR.

What happens if I get a ticket out of state?

Expect it to show up on your record.

Most states have reciprocal agreements that automatically share information on citations. The Driver’s License Compact has been signed by 45 states and Washington, D.C. Georgia, Massachusetts, Michigan, Tennessee and Wisconsin are not members, but they share and receive information just the same.

If your driving privileges are suspended in a state you are visiting, your home state typically will suspend your license as well.

Some states may not assign driver’s license points to out of state convictions, especially minor ones. But insurance companies will rate you on a violation no matter where it occurred, if it appears on your MVR and is considered a surchargeable offense.

4 ways to fight a speeding ticket

To keep a speeding ticket off your record, you can contest it in court, or you can plead guilty in a way that keeps the infraction off your driving record.

If you keep a ticket off your motor vehicle record, your insurance company cannot rate you on it (i.e. raise your rates because of it).

  1. Contest the ticket: You are pleading not guilty. You will need to notify the court that you want a contested hearing. Typically you will be offered another chance for mitigation or a deferral. You can go to court yourself or hire a traffic attorney. If you are accused of a major violation such as a DUI, you should hire a lawyer. If you win, the charge is dismissed and will not appear on your MVR. If you lose, the penalty will stay the same and the conviction will appear on your record, and you may have to pay court costs as well.
  2. Ask for mitigation: You are pleading guilty but offering an explanation. The court may reduce the fine, but the conviction would go on your record. In some states, though, the judge may amend the charge to a non-moving violation, or you may have the option at this point of seeking a deferral or defensive driving class.
  3. Seek a deferral or defensive driving class: You are pleading guilty but asking to have the conviction deferred. If you complete a class or go a certain period of time without another violation, the charge will not appear on your MVR. Typically you will pay a fine and fees that are as large as or even larger than you would have under the original violation, but your record will remain clear and your insurance rates will not rise. You must contact the court before your appearance date to ask about these options. Some jurisdictions will not offer deferrals or traffic school for certain violations, such as school- and construction-zone tickets or extreme cases of speeding.
  4. Limit the damage: If a conviction on the original charge seems inevitable, you might want to ask for a continuance to delay a conviction past your next renewal date. In addition, a defensive driving class, even taken after the fact, can remove points from your motor vehicle record. While it cannot erase a conviction from your insurance company’s calculations, the class might bring a discount that softens the blow from the surcharge.


Insurance.com analyzed more than 490,000 auto insurance quotes provided to Insurance.com users from 14 carriers, comparing quotes given to drivers with the 14 most common infractions recorded to quotes given to drivers with no violations. We used a model to estimate the annualized premium expected for certain combinations of personal attributes (residence, state, time with prior carrier, marital status and age) along with 14 violations. This ranking is not inclusive of all possible driving violations. Rates shown are averages; your own rate will depend on your personal factors. State laws governing traffic violations are subject to change.

Insurance.com commissioned Quadrant Information Services to gather rates comparing a driver with a clean record to a driver with certain violations from six major carriers in 10 ZIP codes in each state. Rates were returned on sample driver, male, 40 years old, single, a homeowner, driving 12 miles each way to work in a 2014 Honda Accord LX, for 100/300/50 liability coverage, collision and comprehensive coverage with a $500 deductible, uninsured motorist and additional mandatory coverages as required in each state.


Not sure about something?

  • About our car insurance
  • Buying your cover
  • About your payment
  • My policy documents
  • Using the car
  • The policy excess
  • No-claims discount
  • Security devices
  • Making a claim
  • Changing your cover

About our car insurance

Who underwrites AA Car Insurance?

We find the best car insurance deal for you by comparing quotes from our hand-picked group of insurers. The insurer who gives you the best value for money on your car insurance will be your underwriter.

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Buying your cover

Can I get motor insurance that starts right now?

Yes. When you buy online or over the phone your car insurance can start immediately.

You'll need a credit or debit card to pay either the full premium or an initial deposit if paying by monthly instalments.

If I don't buy straight away, how long is my quote valid for?

You can future date your quote by up to 60 days. The quoted price remains valid as long as your details remain unchanged.

Do AA Members get a discount on car insurance?

When you get a quote online, confirm that you are an AA Member. You could get a discount when you insure your car with us for the first time, and on subsequent renewals if you remain an AA Member.

My car has modifications – will they affect my insurance quote?

If your car has been modified we can give you an online quote for a maximum of two modifications from the following list:

  • Alloy Wheels.
  • Front Spoiler or Air Dam.
  • Locking Wheel Nuts.
  • Rear Roof Spoiler.
  • Rear Spoiler or Aerofoil.
  • Bull Bars.
  • Dual Control.
  • Hand Controls.

Modifications will affect the quote price, as they present a higher risk than original components.

If your car has more than two modifications, or the modification isn't listed, please call us on 0800 197 7178 – we may still be able to give you a quote.

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About your payment

Can I spread my payments and pay by monthly instalments?

Yes, you can pay by monthly instalments. We'll ask for an initial payment by debit or credit card and the rest of your payment will be made in 11 monthly instalments. Credit will be provided by Automobile Association Insurance Services Limited, and you must be over 18.

How secure is my online payment?

We keep your personal details and your credit or debit card information private and secure when you buy online. We do this by using secure server software that encrypts any information you give us. It takes the characters you enter and converts them into a secret code, which is then securely sent to us.

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My policy documents

How can I access my policy documents online?

Your policy documents are in your My AA account. See the My AA help page for advice on how to access them.

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Using the car

Can I drive abroad with my car insurance?

AA Car Insurance provides the same cover you get in the UK in any EU country for up to 90 days in a year. So as a comprehensive policyholder, you have comprehensive cover when you drive within the EU.

Depending on your insurer, and for an additional premium, you may be able to extend the 90-day period, and be insured in countries outside the EU.

Am I covered for towing caravans or trailers?

When towing a caravan or trailer, you are covered for the costs you are liable to pay if you cause damage to property, or injury or death to someone.

Your car insurance also covers a single-axle trailer, worth up to £500 and kept in a safe and roadworthy condition, while attached to your car. For example, if you have comprehensive insurance, your trailer will also be covered on a comprehensive basis, which includes accidental damage, fire and theft.

When do I need to select business use?

Select business use when you use your car to travel to various places in connection with your work, such as offices or factories. Business use is not required when you travel to a single permanent place of work.

If I do voluntary work, do I need to select business use?

When you only commute to and from one permanent place of voluntary work, then select 'Social, Domestic, Pleasure & Commuting' for the use of your car.

If you travel to more than one place of voluntary work, our panel of insurers has agreed that 'Social, Domestic, Pleasure & Commuting' is also sufficient cover and should be selected.

But if you transport goods or people as part of your voluntary work, then please call 0800 197 7178 for a quote.

Please note, we do not charge an administration fee if you call us to update your policy to show you now do voluntary work.

Our panel of insurers operates under the statement below, issued on the Association of British Insurers website.

"The insurer will insure their policyholders to carry out voluntary driving, that is, the use of a vehicle they own in connection with, or for the benefit of, charities, voluntary organisations, clubs or societies, where payment does not exceed the HMRC mileage rates in force at that time. This does not cover use for hire or reward or vehicles owned by, hired to or lent to the voluntary organisation."

Can I drive other cars?

Yes, our comprehensive policy allows you to drive other vehicles with third-party cover, unless it's specifically excluded by your insurer. If this is excluded, we'll state this when you get a quote. If you've already bought car insurance from us, check your certificate of motor insurance. There are conditions that apply to this benefit, so please view our Car Insurance Policy Booklet for more details.

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The policy excess

What is a policy excess?

An excess is the part of the costs of a claim for loss or damage to your car that you have to pay out of your own pocket. Your insurance will be cheaper if you agree to pay more of these costs yourself. There are two types of policy excess:

Compulsory excess – the insurer will decide how much you'll be asked to pay for each claim before you buy the motor insurance policy. Check that you are comfortable with how much you'll have to pay for each claim before you buy a car insurance policy.

Voluntary excess – the amount you'd be prepared to pay on top of the compulsory amount. The higher you go, the lower your premium.

Can I pay a voluntary excess?

Yes, you can pay a higher voluntary excess for when you make a claim, usually up to £500. Typically, you pay less for your car insurance if you select a higher voluntary excess.

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No-claims discount

What is a no-claims discount?

A no-claims discount is a reward for not making a claim on your motor insurance policy. If you do make a claim, your discount will normally be less at the next renewal if your insurance company cannot get their money back from the person responsible.

Where can I find proof of my no-claims discount?

The renewal or cancellation notice from your previous insurer will contain proof of your no-claims discount.

Can I protect my no-claims discount?

Yes, you can pay an additional premium to protect your no claims discount. Depending on your insurer, you can usually make two 'fault' claims in a 3- or 5-year period without affecting your no claims discount.

What is the AA Uninsured Driver Promise?

If you make a claim following an accident that is not your fault, and the driver of the other vehicle is not insured, you will not lose your no-claims discount or have to pay any excess.

We just ask you to tell us the other vehicle's make, model and valid registration number, so that we can identify the driver of the other vehicle.

Can a named driver earn no claims discount on my policy?

Yes, named drivers over 25 years can earn their own no claims discount to use on an AA policy in the future. See our page about named drivers.

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Security devices

What is a Thatcham security device?

The Motor Insurance Repair Research Centre tests car security products for insurers. It's better known as 'Thatcham' after the Berkshire town where it's based. Most insurers like these products and give you discounts if you get them for your car.

What is a tracking device?

The police can track a stolen car with an electronic signal sent by this bit of kit hidden in the car. Most cars that have this are found after they are stolen. You can pay up to 10% less for your motor insurance if your car has a tracking device.

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Making a claim

How do I make a car insurance claim?

Call our 24-hour claim line 0800 269 622.

Before you call, please see how to make a motor insurance claim.

Is a courtesy car included on my policy?

Yes, a courtesy car is available with comprehensive cover. Following an accident, you will be provided with another car while yours is undergoing repair.

When you buy comprehensive cover direct from us, you also get a courtesy car for a total loss claim, where the vehicle is written off or stolen and unrecovered, or for accidents occurring outside the UK.

Is windscreen cover included on my policy?

If you have comprehensive cover, then windscreen cover is included. We cover the windscreen, sunroof and the remaining windows. And your no claims discount is not affected by a windscreen claim.

A windscreen replacement is subject to the applicable excess, but there is no excess to pay on a windscreen repair.

You can check your windscreen replacement excess when you get a quote online. On the quote page a summary of your details includes a link to 'Excess details / policy terms'.

How can I get my windscreen repaired?

Call our 24-hour claim line 0800 269 622 and select option 2.

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Changing your cover

What information is needed to advise a change of vehicle?

Please call 0800 316 1193 and select option 1 to make any change to your policy.

If you have changed your vehicle, we'll need the same type of details as you provided for the previous model, such as registration number, market value and any modifications.

Can vehicles be added temporarily?

Usually yes – call us on 0800 316 1193 and ask to add a temporary additional vehicle (TAV). We'll need to know all the details of the model.

Allowing a TAV is subject to the current insurer accepting the risk. Test drives are not covered.

You can add a TAV from 1 day to 4 weeks, and a cover note will be issued.

We cannot offer insurance where a policy is already in place for the vehicle.

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Read the Spanish version: ¿Cómo afecta un DUI en tu seguro de auto?

There’s no doubt about it: If you’ve been convicted of driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs, you’ll face challenges with your car insurance.

No matter what you do, your auto insurance rates will increase when your insurer finds out. However, there are still ways to find affordable auto insurance quotes after your brush with the law.

How much will a DUI affect my rates?

Penny Gusner, consumer analyst at Insure.com, says that a DUI conviction can increase your rates anywhere from 30 to 200 percent, depending on the circumstances and your insurer’s policies. In other words, a $100 per month bill could rise to anywhere from $130 to $300.

Even harsher, some companies may not even bother raising your rates.

“Some carriers will simply non-renew or cancel your policy after learning of your conviction,” she says. “Not all companies want to deal with drivers with checkered pasts.”

If that happens, you’ll be forced to look for car insurance with two dark marks on your record – a DUI and a cancellation.

However, that doesn’t mean that you should necessarily stick with any insurer that doesn’t end your policy. If your insurer chooses to gouge you rather than drop you, it may be time to shop for a new company.

How long will a DUI affect my rates?

Although a DUI may remain on your criminal record for the rest of your life, insurance companies will usually only see what’s on your state’s department of motor vehicle (DMV) record. When your DUI is eventually cleared from your DMV record, you will once again be able to get cheaper car insurance.

Each state determines how long it will keep a DUI on your record. In most states, an alcohol- or drug-related conviction will remain on your DMV record anywhere from five to 10 years.

For example, California, Florida and New York will keep it on your record for 10 years, while Arizona keeps it for five years. But some states are much stricter, like New Mexico, where a DUI conviction will remain on your record for 55 years.

However, if your DUI is viewable by insurers for a lengthy period of time, state laws may only allow car insurance companies to rate on it anywhere from three to seven years. But there are exceptions, such as California, where state law keeps you ineligible for a good driver discount until 10 years have passed.

Is there such a thing as DUI forgiveness?

Some car insurance companies will forgive your first at-fault car accident, but none will ignore a DUI conviction. But again, insurers vary widely in how much they’re going to penalize you.

“Every insurance company is different in how they treat a DUI and how they price it,” says Pete Moraga, spokesperson for the Insurance Information Network of California. “This is one area where it really pays to shop around. Make calls. Go on the Internet and eventually you will find a company that best suits your needs until the DUI disappears from your record.”

For example, if you're insured with Progressive, you will not face cancellation or nonrenewal due to a DUI conviction, but you are likely to face a rate increase. Progressive reviews rates on a case-by-case basis. It will weigh multiple factors such as your age, gender, driving history and vehicle model.

State Farm reviews DUIs on a case-by-case basis too. But the outcome also depends on which subsidiary you're with. If you have a preferred policy with State Farm Mutual Insurance Co. and receive a DUI, State Farm will likely move you into State Farm Fire & Casualty, which is its standard-policy company for riskier drivers and higher rates.

Will I end up in my state’s high-risk pool?

Each state has what’s called a “high-risk” or assigned-risk pool for risky drivers. How these pools operate can vary by state, but in general states require car insurance companies to participate in these pools in proportion to the amount of business they do there. Each insurer must accept the motorists assigned to it, retaining the profit or absorbing the loss that comes with that customer.

You’ll land in a high-risk pool when you can’t find a private insurer that will sell you a policy. But this is meant to be your last option. You’ll pay a high premium and secure only the minimum liability insurance you must have by law to drive. And you won’t find any money-saving options here – you’ll have to wait it out.

But don’t panic. Your first DUI will not necessarily land you in your state’s high-risk pool. However, if you have numerous speeding tickets, traffic violations and more than one DUI on your record, you may find yourself swimming in the high-risk pool and there’s not much you can do about it. At that point, you generally can’t find car insurance in the "voluntary market" until your driving record improves.

Is it possible my insurer won’t find out about my DUI?

Auto insurance companies may check your motor vehicle record only once every three years or when you're applying for a new policy. It's also possible that accidents, tickets and DUIs may never make their way to your official motor vehicle record.

According to the Insurance Research Council, as many as one in five convictions for traffic violations never end up on motor vehicle records due to lack of shared information between courts and motor vehicle departments, or because a conviction has been erased through alternative means, such as driving school.

If you get your DUI charge reduced in a plea bargain, or have a limited license suspension, such as 30 days, it's also very unlikely your insurer will find out about your conviction.

However, if your insurance company misses the conviction at the time it happens, it still has a few years to raise rates if the DUI is discovered later.

Don't count on your car insurance company missing the DUI. The odds are still good it will find it, which usually means a significant hike in your rates.

What is an SR-22?

SR-22 insurance

Delaware, Kentucky, Minnesota, New Mexico, Oklahoma and Pennsylvania don't require SR-22s, but if you have an SR-22 and then move to one of these states, you must continue to meet the requirements of the SR-22 state where the offense was committed.

New York and North Carolina don't require SR-22 filings at all.

In some states there is a fee for SR-22s.

Source: Progressive

Most states require DUI offenders to get a form called an SR-22 from their auto insurers.

An SR-22 proves to the DMV that you carry liability insurance and can assist in regaining your license. An SR-22 also requires your insurance company to notify your state’s department of motor vehicles (DMV) if it cancels your auto insurance for any reason. You'll likely have to file this proof of insurance for three — sometimes five — years with your state's DMV.

Some car insurance companies don't offer SR-22 policies, so your policy could be non-renewed or cancelled because your company can no longer provide what you need.

What if I refused a breathalyzer?

The majority of states have some type of "implied consent" law, which means refusing a breathalyzer test usually does more harm than good.

"(An implied consent law) means that when you sign up for your driver's license, you also consent to taking a breathalyzer test upon demand from a police officer," says Eric Misterovich, a DUI attorney at Newburg Law in St. Joseph, Michigan.

Many times people refuse a breathalyzer because they don't want to provide evidence of their blood alcohol to police out of fear of being arrested. However, the penalty for refusing the breath test can be harsher than the OWI (operating while intoxicated) charge, says Misterovich.

"In short, at least for first-time offenders where there is no car accident or bodily injury, refusing to take a breathalyzer will likely subject you to greater penalties than the OWI" in Michigan, says Misterovich.

On the flip side, "from an evidentiary perspective, no breath test means an attorney may be able to argue away the subjective evidence,'" says Luftman. All that's left is how you appeared at the time of your arrest, what you said, how you smelled, and the officer's opinion of your field sobriety tests. You may be able to argue away those things," he adds.

Does that mean refusing a breathalyzer could spare you the pain of high car insurance rates? Don’t count on it, says Gusner.

“While it’s technically possible to beat a DUI charge this way, it’s not an easy thing to do,” she says. “Plus, you’re likely to end up paying a lot to an attorney if you even try, which can be especially painful if you don’t win the case.”

Can I still get car insurance if I lose my license?

If your license is suspended or revoked, your insurance company can cancel you at the end of your policy, or in some states your policy can be canceled midterm if the insurer finds out that you lost your license.

It can be very difficult to find car insurance if you don’t have a valid license. But if you still need your car insured, either because it is financed or because you need someone else to drive you around in it, you’ll need to search for an insurer who will allow you to insure the car for another primary driver while excluding you as a driver.

Is there anything else I can do to improve my rates after a DUI?

Gusner says your best defense after being caught driving drunk is to accept the consequences of your actions and look for legitimate means to keep insurance costs at bay.

“Drunk driving is a serious crime that kills thousands of people every year,” she says. “If you escaped the situation without hurting anyone, your best bet is to pledge to do better in the future and look for the best car insurance company you can find for your circumstances."


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