Auto Insurance Surcharge: What Does it Mean?

auto insurance surcharge

An auto insurance surcharge is a cost or penalty addition to your premium. Accidents or driving violations are common causes.

Learn what causes vehicle insurance surcharges, how long they persist, and what you can do to avoid them.

Auto Insurance Surcharge Definition

An automobile insurance surcharge is a penalty that increases your monthly rate. It’s usually the result of something you have done, such as an accident with too many claims. Charges for traffic fines are also prevalent.

Any driver with moving offenses and penalties poses a more significant risk to insurers. High-risk drivers file more insurance claims. A temporary surcharge they add to your monthly premium until the firm determines your risk level has decreased.

How do auto insurance surcharges work?

Surcharges are an insurance company’s technique of recouping the extra costs of handling your claim. These additional expenses can be related to claim payouts or administrative fees.

  • Coverage gaps
  • Late payments
  • Traffic offenses
  • At-fault accidents
  • State fees

Most insurance companies check your driving record when you buy and renew your coverage. Speeding fines, dangerous driving, and driving under the influence of drugs or alcohol are all mentioned in your customer profile.

The insurer will also review any claims to determine if a surcharge has a warranty or not.

The surcharge may apply automatically if the insurer has an automated system. Some companies decide whether to levy a premium. The surcharge will vary depending on the type of violation.

These fees vary depending on your insurer’s policy and what caused the penalty. Extra charges often persist for three to five years before returning to normal.

Auto insurance surcharge

Is There an Auto Insurance Surcharge that I need to pay?

If you believe a surcharge on your auto insurance policy should have been withdrawn or not applied to your account, contact your insurance provider.

You can request to have a surcharge waived if you are a long-term customer with few or no traffic violations. Surcharges and fines cannot be waived in some jurisdictions without changing circumstances, such as the accident driver being removed from the policy.

A state-mandated fee is beyond you or the insurer’s control. No-fault states sometimes charge extra for medical coverage, and many charge fines after a specific number of points on your license. These fees are surcharges.

To drive lawfully, you must have auto insurance.


If you fail to pay your auto insurance premium and any surcharges then you may be left uninsured.

Some states suspend your driver’s license if you fail to pay a state-imposed surcharge (commonly known as SR-22 or Certificate of Financial Responsibility). You must then pay all surcharges and costs outstanding, including any license restoration fees.

Auto Insurance Surcharge Alternatives

If your auto insurance premium rises, it may be due to a rate increase rather than a surcharge.

A rate rise, unlike a surcharge, is neither a temporary increase nor a penalty because it is a predetermined rise in your insurance rate. These are sometimes the result of an insurance company upping its rates, and this applies to all policyholders a rate increase may also be the result of a change in your circumstances, such as:

  • Purchasing a more expensive vehicle
  • Relocating to a place with severe weather, considerable traffic, or other circumstances that enhance the chance of accidents and claims
  • Including a teen driver on your policy

If you are unsure if your insurance premium has increased owing to a surcharge or a rate hike, contact your insurance carrier. A representative should prepare to explain the charges and the circumstances behind them.


  • A car insurance surcharge is a tax or penalty added to your automobile insurance premium for months or years.
  • It is usually caused by traffic violations or at-fault accidents and administrative violations such as missed payments regularly.
  • If you are charged a surcharge on your premium, you must pay it or find another insurer to cover you.
  • A rate hike is typically a permanent increase in premiums caused by changes in your circumstances and It is not a penalty in the same way that a surcharge is.

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