Your heart pumps as you hear that shrilling siren and see those flashing lights. No one likes getting a traffic ticket. College Student Aaron Dickerson can’t afford getting caught.
“Being a student having to pay a $300 or $400 ticket out of my pocket is really not something I can afford easily, said Dickerson.
He signed up for Ticketsbite.com. For around fifty dollars a year, his tickets are covered.
Chris Thomas of Sacramento created the company earlier this year and says it works very similar to insurance. Plans start from $49 a year up to $199 covering everything from speeding tickets to seatbelt and parking violations. According to the company’s website, they’ll even cover traffic school and a jump in your insurance rates.
“Tickets are unexpected and they cost a lot,” Thomas said. “We cover most major violation.”
Texas based TraffiCare International offers similar protections. It’s website doesn’t call it insurance, but says it’s a “motor club”.
“You can call it whatever you want, but if it’s insurance you have to be licensed by the State of California, said Department of Insurance spokesperson Nancy Kincaid.
She says neither TraffiCare International nor Ticketsbite is a licensed insurer in this state and says this type of coverage may be illegal.
“You cannot be indemnified against the commission of a crime,” she said.
California Highway Patrol Officer Adrian Quintero says traffic tickets are crimes.
“Our concern obviously is that individuals may look at this and say I’ll receive a citation it’s okay. My insurance or these companies will take care of this fine.”
Officer Quintero warns this won’t stop points from accruing on your driving record or keep you from losing your license.
Reviews on the Ticketsbite website say things like,
“This service is absolutely amazing. I got a $400 ticket and they paid it for me” and “Freaking Amazing. Ticketsbite really saved me when I was about to be in big financial trouble.”
The reviews are peculiar considering company founder admitted to CBS13, they’ve never paid out a claim. Since that admission, Thomas quit returning CBS13’s phone calls.
“Good intentions does not excuse you from violating the law,” said Kincaid.
Legal or not, Dickerson hopes his coverage is there for him if he needs it.
“It just gives me an extra safety net.”
TraffiCare International’s owner Troy Simpson initially set us up to interview a California client who says she had a ticket paid, but the interview was canceled. He declined to speak with us on camera, but sent us this email.
I have reached out to CDI to get more information on their laws as it pertains to our service offering. As mentioned before, we have very little presence in the state of California. In fact, we have a small group of people that have signed up for our service since 2008. Since that time, none of them have renewed. Our service resembles that of a Pre Paid Legal Service (which indemnifies a person for a potential illegal act). The difference is that we actually pay for violations as a result of a failed attempt at a dismissal.