Drivers are unwittingly jeopardising their accident insurance by not declaring speeding tickets this summer.
Consumer NZ said almost all insurance companies have a fine-print requirement that drivers inform them about any traffic infringement notices.
Spokesman Hamish Wilson said: "Some insurance companies, given half a chance, will do their best to get out of paying. If you do get booked, check your policy and whether you have to disclose it to your insurance company."
Insurance Council chief executive Tim Grafton said infringement notices must be disclosed every time.
But drivers should not think that a single speeding ticket on the way home from holiday was necessarily going to make their premiums more expensive.
Returning from Waihi beach last month, intern reporter Michael Botur, 29, was stopped by a police officer and issued his first - and hopefully last - speeding ticket. He had been clocked in Pukekohe, doing 61km/h in a 50km/h zone. "I'm very surprised," he said yesterday. "I don't think many people would know they have to declare speeding tickets."
He said he would contact his insurer this week to declare his $120 ticket, though he was not happy about it. "Being a young male, I'm already in a demographic that's discriminated against. We already have to pay the highest premiums."
A Herald on Sunday survey of insurance companies shows that it is the risk of the driver crashing, rather than the value of the car, that affects how much they pay for car insurance.
Young male drivers are by far the most expensive to insure. An 18-year-old male who is the main driver of a 2005 Toyota Corolla valued at $11,850 would pay $1273.93 a year with State for comprehensive cover, assuming no crashes or tickets.