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Compare car insurance after a red light ticket

A red light ticket could cost you hundreds in insurance and fines, even without a traffic camera.

Running a red light is a serious traffic violation that can lead to car accidents and injuries for you and others. Because you’re considered a higher risk after this violation, expect higher car insurance rates along with your legal fines. However, your rate increase depends on your past driving record and the red light camera laws in your state.

How does a red light ticket affect car insurance rates?

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.

However, the change to your premium depends on your insurance company and your state. Most companies use the license points to determine your premiums, though nine states don’t use a point system.

Some states like North Carolina even mandate how much the points on your license increase premiums.

Penalties for a red light camera ticket

Along with higher car insurance rates, most states charge around $85 for a red light camera ticket. You could see charges up to $400, depending on the state, any surcharges and whether it’s the first time you ran a red light.

However, red light cameras are illegal in some states like Mississippi and South Carolina. In these states, the police officer could ticket you if they saw you run the red light.

What factors affect car insurance 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.

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How to update 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 when it’s time to renew your policy, any violations or points on your license will affect your premium and discounts.

If your rates go up or your policy is canceled after your insurer finds out about your ticket, you may want to shop for an insurer that’s lenient with high-risk drivers.

Will a red light ticket stay on my record if I move states?

It depends on the state. Some states incorporate your old driving record and others don’t.

But your insurance company probably won’t be fooled. If an insurer sees that you were recently issued a license in a new state, it will most likely go check your previous record before setting your premium.

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. You may lower the points on your license or eliminate the ticket if you fight it during your court hearing. This could keep your rate increase to a minimum.
  • 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.

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.

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