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Compare car insurance after a red light ticket

One ticket might not mean sky-high rates, but several could.


Fact checked

Running a red light is a serious traffic violation that caused over 900 deaths in 2017 alone, according to the AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety. And while not all driving mistakes cause accidents, your insurance premium might still increase after getting a ticket for running a red light.

How does car insurance change after a red light ticket?

How your insurance company responds may depend on how you were caught along with other factors.

  • High risk equals high premiums. Because of the number of devastating accidents caused by running a red light, getting a ticket can make you seem like a high-risk driver. That high-risk status can increase your premiums and possibly erase any clean driving discounts you’ve enjoyed.
  • Traffic cameras aren’t always accurate. While 23 states now use red light traffic cameras to issue warnings and tickets, many insurance companies treat camera-issued tickets as less serious than those issued by an officer.
  • A previously clean driving record can help. If this is your first red light ticket and you have an otherwise clean driving record, your insurance company may be willing to overlook the incident or consider it with less weight than if it was your third or fourth recent ticket.

Compare car insurance rates after a red light ticket

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Motion Auto
Reap a myriad of rewards based on how safe you drive and car safety features, plus free accident forgiveness and diminishing deductible.

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How much does a red light ticket affect car insurance rates?

Running a red light could cost you. The average driver will pay almost $300 extra per year for car insurance after getting a red light ticket. That’s around $50 more than speeding and twice as much as most other tickets.

The change to your premium after a ticket depends on your insurance company and the state where you live. For example, most companies use the points against your license to increase your premiums, though nine states don’t use a point system. Some states — like North Carolina — mandate by law that points on your license increase your insurance premiums and by how much.

There are also disparities between how states assess points. For example, a single point against your license in California could increase your premiums by as little as 3% or as much as 20% because the increase depends on what the violation was rather than on the number of points. That could mean paying $25 to $170 more for car insurance per year.

Get cheap car insurance after a red light ticket

To get back into your insurer’s good graces, you can reduce your premiums even after your mistake.

  • Fight the ticket. If you don’t think the ticket is legitimate, or if there were mitigating circumstances, you could try fighting the ticket in traffic court to prove you weren’t guilty. Many cases can be thrown out if the police officer doesn’t show up to the court appointment or if the red light camera picture can’t prove it was really you.
  • Take a defensive driving course. Most insurance companies offer discounts for continuing your driver’s education. Taking an online class could reduce the points on your license that you got from the ticket.
  • Keep your record clean. Prove that this ticket was a one-time thing by keeping your record clean moving forward.
  • Shop around for a new policy.Not all companies penalize for tickets the same, which means this could be a good opportunity to see if you could save some money every month by going with another company.
  • Wait it out. These kinds of violations have a shelf-life of three to five years. After that, insurers will usually drop any related penalties.

How do I update my car insurance after a red light ticket?

You don’t have to inform your insurance company about a traffic ticket, but if your insurer runs your driving record for any reason, such as when it’s time to renew your policy, any violations on your record will affect your premium and discounts.

If your rates go up or your policy is canceled after your insurer finds out about your ticket, it could be time to shop around for an insurer that’s more lenient with high-risk drivers.

Bottom line

If running a red light is going to affect your insurance premium, remember that there are steps you can take to mitigate the increase. And if the increase is too much for you, take the opportunity to shop around for car insurance to see if another company might save you money.

Common questions about car insurance and red light tickets

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