Howes & Howes, Attorneys at Law

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Good Drivers:  Don’t let that traffic ticket ruin your good insurance record

Of the hundreds of New Jersey motorists that contact and retain Howes & Howes each year, most have excellent driving records that place them in the preferred tier for automobile insurance.  Before you decide how to handle your ticket, you should determine whether you are eligible for the preferred tier.  This article summarizes the preferred car insurance tier.

Under New Jersey law, the owner of an automobile must carry certain basic car insurance coverage.  The law also provides guidelines on how the insurance company can rate drivers to determine their insurance premium.  In the voluntary market, there are three tiers—preferred, standard and substandard.  The lowest rates are associated with the preferred tier. 

Howes & Howes consults with hundreds of drivers each year.  The vast majority of them are excellent drivers who are receiving either their first ticket in many years or their first ticket ever.  Most good drivers have earned a place in the preferred tier, and should take great care not to do anything that will jeopardize their preferred standing.

To be eligible for the preferred tier, the customer must have the following characteristics:

No Division of Motor Vehicle points.

No insurance eligibility points.

No claims or accidents for more than three years.

Insured with the same company for more than three years.

More than three years of driving experience.

Policy limits greater than the minimum required by law.

Full coverage for at least one vehicle.

Companion policy such as whole life or homeowners.

No history of cancellation as a result of non-payment

Low annual mileage on principally insured vehicle.

A good driver should avoid points like the plague because points or an accident or a drivers license suspension can knock a good driver out of the preferred tier, a misfortune that can have long-lasting effects.  As such, sound legal advice and representation is usually worth the cost.

There is one exception to this general rule:  Individuals who have a clean driving record may not be assessed surcharges or have any impact on their insurance as a result of a single 2-point speeding violation.  (Source:  New Jersey Statutes 17:33B-14.1) The insurance companies will generally record the two point speeding ticket as �forgiven� and thus not count them for purposes of determining the appropriate insurance premium tier.

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