How Road Rage Affects Auto Insurance Rates

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Here's what you need to know...
  • There is a difference between aggressive driving and road rage
  • The consequences of aggressive driving and road rage also differ
  • Aggressive driving and road rage both have an impact on insurance rates
  • Both road rage and aggressive driving might result in increased car insurance rates

As people become more rushed and the population continues to increase, road rage can become more common.

Most people might not realize there is a difference between aggressive driving and road rage, but there is.

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The Difference between Road Rage and Aggressive Driving

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The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration has a clear definition for both.

  • Aggressive driving dangerous driving behavior that occurs on the road itself such as running stop lights or signs, weaving between lanes, and speeding
  • Road rage – is the most violent and angry instance of aggressive driving

One of the main ways to determine if an incident is aggressive driving or road rage is the type of punishment that results.

Aggressive driving usually results in a traffic offense, while road rage often becomes a criminal offense.

Another thing that determines if an incident is classified as aggressive driving or road rage is the intent.

If a driver is speeding on purpose and runs into someone, this is aggressive driving. If a driver intentionally runs into another car or a pedestrian because they are angry, this is road rage.

The Consequences of Road Rage

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Certain states have started taking road rage very seriously.

In the state of California, road rage is considered a felony assault with a deadly weapon. Being charged with road rage in California can lead to a fine of $10,000, a suspension of the driver’s license, and up to four years in jail.

In states like Virginia, aggressive driving is classified as a Class 2 misdemeanor. It is easier for the Virginia courts to prosecuted aggressive driving as reckless driving because it is easier to prove.

For aggressive driving and road rage to be prosecuted as such, the driver’s intent must be clear.

There are currently 14 states that have passed special laws for aggressive driving and road rage.

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Car Insurance Affects from Road Rage

If a person is charged with road rage and their car insurance provider finds out, it can mean bad things for their rates. The provider most likely will not cancel the driver’s coverage outright.

A car insurance company can only cancel a person’s policy if the driver does not pay their monthly payment or if the driver provided false information on the initial application.

Instead, in the case of road rage, a car insurance provider will most likely not renew the policy at the end of its term.

Another option the provider has is to raise the driver’s rate. In this case, the policyholder will most likely leave the company to find more affordable rates for car insurance.

Even if the policyholder does try to find a new provider, they will most likely be classified as a high-risk driver.

When someone is considered a high-risk driver it means they have moving violations or accidents on their driving record, and they usually have to pay higher car insurance rates no matter which provider they choose.

Aggressive Drivers Beware

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Another way car insurance is affected by road rage is that the car insurance provider might not pay if the policyholder is the instigator of the accident.

All car insurance providers have a list of incidents they will not cover, and an intentional incident like road rage is one of them.

Some people try to explain away a road rage incident by saying the other person started it.

Even if the driver is only found to be fifty percent at fault for the accident, their car insurance provider might still classify them as a high-risk driver and choose not to pay out for the accident.

The only way to safeguard yourself from the after-effects and consequences of road rage is to not succumb to the feelings that cause the incident.

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