Is racing taken seriously by insurers? I got a ticket for racing
and speeding -- 75 in a 45, in North Carolina. What type of
penalties will I get, and will my insurance go up? My friend said
my auto premiums would skyrocket.
: Yes, street racing is a big deal, as you are likely to find out
when you go to court for your ticket and get your next bill for car
Auto insurance companies and state laws treat racing, speed
contests/competitions or exhibitions of speed (basically the same
offense but different names depending upon where you live) as
. In fact, depending upon state laws and your auto insurance policy
terms, it's possible that if there were an accident while you were
racing your car insurance company could deny claims.
I've seen policies that have exclusions under the
bodily injury liability
, property damage liability,
, underinsured motorist,
accident death benefits
and collision coverage portions saying if the loss were the result
of racing there would be no coverage.
So racing is illegal, and racing is risky, and racing may even
cancel out your coverage. But what will a conviction do to your
Typically your rates can rise anywhere from 30 percent to 200
percent, depending on your insurer and your state's laws.
You live in North Carolina, which has a safe driver incentive
plan (SDIP) in place so the state dictates how many insurance
points you receive and the percentage your auto rates will
increase. Under this system your rates will indeed skyrocket if you
are convicted of racing.
Your insurer will assign 12 SDIP points, the maximum given out
for any offense, for prearranged racing and 10 SDIP points if
you're convicted instead of willful racing. According to the SDIP
system, willful racing will raise your auto insurance rates 260
percent, while prearranged racing will push your rates up an
incredible 340 percent.
The difference in the two types of racing, in North Carolina, is
that prearranged racing means you planned the race beforehand and
willful racing means you spontaneously raced someone; both come
with a mandatory court appearance since they are misdemeanors and
could come with jail time (per Section 20-141.3 of the North
Carolina General Statutes).
Jail time isn't typically handed out, but a fine, which is up to
the discretion of the court for prearranged racing and up to $1,000
for willful racing, along with a license suspension are the usual
penalties for racing in your state. You might want to get a
lawyer, though. (See, "Fight a car-insurance-busting
North Carolina has no problem suspending or revoking a
motorist's license. For just your speeding offense alone (75 in a
45) you could get your license revoked for 30 days. But the racing
will most definitely get your license suspended by the Department
of Motor Vehicles, which says they take your license as soon as
they receive the conviction report from the court for the
Prearranged racing with another motor vehicle comes with a year
license suspension of three years. Willful racing comes with a
license suspension of up to one year; the length is determined by
Also, when law enforcement finds that someone is operating a
motor vehicle willfully in prearranged racing (or has loaned their
car for racing), the officer will seize the vehicle. The DMV says
if you are convicted of the offense, the court can order the
vehicle sold at public auction.
While racing off the line at a red light might be enticing,
don't let the temptation get the best of you. You can lose your
license and your car from this one act -- and place yourself into
such a high-risk insurance category that it will be hard for you to
find auto insurance that you can afford. (See "What a big
ticket does to your insurance rates")