UPDATED: Mar 13, 2020
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So you were in a hurry and ran a red light. You got caught – either by a police officer or a red light camera. Will running a red light increase your car insurance rates?
Today, we’re explaining everything you need to know about whether or not running a red light increases your car insurance rates.
Typically, Running a Red Light Will Raise Car Insurance Rates
Running a red light is a serious traffic violation. It’s more serious than a speeding ticket or parking ticket. Running a red light indicates a serious disregard for safety. You’re prioritizing your own
Approximately half of all states in America operate red light cameras at various intersections. In other states, a police officer might catch you running a red light.
In most states, drivers will be charged at least $250 after running a red light. In some states, like California, the cost of running a red light can be as much as $480. In Nevada, drivers can be charged up to $1,000 if they are caught speeding through a red light.
In addition to these financial penalties, you may face higher car insurance rates in the future.
Typically, running a red light will put points on your license. The point system varies from state to state. In Utah, for example, running a red light will add 50 points to your driving record. Drivers who receive more than 200 points in a three-year period may face severe penalties – like a suspended driver’s license.
Caught By a Red Light Camera? You Might Face No Penalties
Insurance companies may vary their punishment based on how you were caught.
If a police officer pulled you over for running a red light, then you will likely face higher insurance prices, higher penalties, and points on your driver’s license.
If a red light camera caught you and sent a ticket, however, then you might not face higher insurance prices. In fact, in many states, red light cameras only have a fine of between $75 and $125 with no further penalties assessed.
If you are caught by a red light camera, then there’s a chance your insurance company will treat it like a parking ticket – which means they’ll ignore the ticket and you’ll pay the same car insurance prices.
However, these laws vary from state to state.
Every Car Insurance Company is Different with Red Light Tickets
It’s not guaranteed that your car insurance rates will rise after running a red light.
Generally, most car insurance companies will raise your rates because you were caught with a serious moving violation. You are seen as a riskier driver and thus more expensive to insure. The insurance company will raise your rates in response.
However, this isn’t true for all drivers with all insurance companies. Some insurance companies may be willing to overlook your first moving violation. If you ran a red light but have an otherwise clean track record, for example, then your insurance company may be willing to overlook your first red light offense.
On the other hand, drivers with a history of multiple offenses who then get a red light violation will almost certainly pay higher car insurance prices. If you have a speeding ticket on your record and then get caught running a red light, then you can expect to pay higher insurance prices for the next few years.
How to Avoid Higher Auto Insurance Prices
There are a number of ways to avoid higher car insurance prices after running a red light, including all of the following:
Fight the Ticket
Not all red light violations are legitimate. Were there witnesses? Does law enforcement have concrete evidence you ran the red light? Was the sun glaring in your eyes at that time of day, making it difficult to see the color of the traffic light?
Wait 3 to 5 Years
A traffic violation is on your driving record forever. However, insurance companies typically ignore a traffic violation after 3 or 5 years. If you want to avoid higher insurance prices, then you can simply wait out your red light violation. Within a 3 year or 5 year period, the higher insurance prices should have disappeared from your record.
Take a Defensive Driving Course
You may be able to remove points from your driver’s license by taking a defensive driving course. Some states allow you to sign up for a brief course in exchange for removing points from your record. Check the prices of defensive driving courses in your area to determine if it’s worth the price.
Some insurance companies treat red light violations the same way they treat at-fault collisions: they’re serious offenses that make you a much riskier driver to insure. Other insurance companies don’t care, and they might ignore your red light offense if it’s your first moving violation. With that in mind, it’s a good time to shop around for car insurance. compare car insurance quotes from local insurance companies to find the best rate.
Conclusion: Running a Red Light Should Raise Car Insurance Prices
Typically, running a red light will raise car insurance prices. However, there are some caveats.
First, not all insurance companies raise prices after a single violation. If you have multiple violations on your track record and then get a red light violation, then it’s likely your car insurance prices will increase. Drivers with an otherwise clean record, however, might not face higher insurance prices.
Second, some states treat red light camera fines very lightly. If you are caught by a red light camera, then you might just pay a small fee, for example, with no points on your driver’s license.
Whether or not your rates increase after running a red light depends entirely on your insurance company.