Does Running a Red Light Increase Auto Insurance Rates?

You might see an insurance increase after a red light ticket, and it may add points to your driving record.

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Rachel Bodine graduated from college with a BA in English. She has since worked as a Feature Writer in the insurance industry and gained a deep knowledge of state and countrywide insurance laws and rates. Her research and writing focus on helping readers understand their insurance coverage and how to find savings. Her expert advice on insurance has been featured on sites like PhotoEnforced, All...

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Written by Rachel Bodine
Feature Writer Rachel Bodine

Dan Walker graduated with a BS in Administrative Management in 2005 and has been working in his family’s insurance agency, FCI Agency, for 15 years (BBB A+). He is licensed as an agent to write property and casualty insurance, including home, auto, umbrella, and dwelling fire insurance. He’s also been featured on sites like Reviews.com and Safeco. He reviews content, ensuring that ex...

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Reviewed by Daniel Walker
Licensed Auto Insurance Agent Daniel Walker

UPDATED: Jun 10, 2022

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Things to remember...

  • Running a red light will probably add points to your driving record, which could, in turn, increase your auto insurance rates
  • Some insurance companies may have a ticket forgiveness policy if you otherwise have a clean driving record
  • Three points are typically removed from your driving record per year

No one likes when their insurance rates go up. It adds an extra cost to a red light ticket.

We’ve made understanding your insurance policy easy and give you ways to reduce your insurance rate, even after getting a red light ticket. Even if you get points on your driving record, they will go down over time if you practice safe driving.

There is an instance that you might find an insurance increase after a red light ticket. This article will explain the potential consequences of getting a red light ticket and what you can do about it afterward.

Will a red light ticket increase your insurance rates?

You might experience an insurance increase after a red light ticket and add points to your driving record. How many points you receive differs from state to state: In Florida, four points are added to your driving record per infraction, and in Texas, two points are added unless the violation resulted in an accident, in which instance, three points are added.

Having points added to your driving record generally means your insurance rates will go up. The police take traffic offenses seriously, and so does your insurance company. The more points you have on your driving record, the more likely it is your rates are going to increase.

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Is getting caught by a red light camera the same as being caught by the police?

While it varies by state, getting caught by a red light camera may not be treated with the same severity as getting caught by a police officer. You may see less of a rate increase if you were caught by a camera rather than ticketed by an officer.

In states with programs like these, running a red light and getting caught by a camera may be treated as a traffic violation by both the police and your insurance company, which, in turn, means your rates may not go up at all.

Auto insurance policies tend to be different from state to state, with each having its own rules and regulations. Be aware of what does and doesn’t apply to you.

Do insurance companies offer ticket forgiveness?

Many insurance companies provide rewards for consistent, safe driving in the form of lower rates. Ticket forgiveness programs are less common than accident forgiveness, but some companies to offer it. Some companies may have first-offense forgiveness, so if the red light ticket was your first violation, it might not count in the eyes of your insurance company.

At the same time, your insurance company takes these offenses seriously because seemingly minor traffic violations, such as running a red light or failing to stop at a stop sign, result in thousands of accidents every year. Rather than take a risk, it’s best if you slow down at yellow lights. Safe driving practices can prevent accidents from happening and keep your rates from going up.

While many insurance companies allow you to view your policy online, the only way to be sure about specific aspects of your policy is to call your insurance representative directly. Confer with your representative if you want to know how you would be penalized for running a red light.

How To Get a Red Light Ticket Off Your Record

After getting a traffic ticket, you can contest it in court. A judge will hear your case and possibly reduce the penalty with a lesser fee or fewer points added to your driving record. Occasionally, the officer who wrote the ticket may fail to show up for the hearing, resulting in your ticket getting thrown out.

However, this is a best-case scenario, and there is always the possibility that you will lose your case entirely. This can result in a greater penalty than simply paying the ticket.

You may have the option of enrolling in a defensive driving course to reduce the number of points on your record. While the number of points you can take off your record varies by state, you will generally receive a two to four-point reduction. Note that you may need permission from a court to take these classes, so be aware of that before you enroll.

Points on your driving record will naturally be removed over time, generally at the rate of three points per year. If you can drop your points back to zero, you can keep a clean record by always observing safe driving.

It might take longer for the violation to be expunged from your insurance record. Most insurance companies require a waiting period of three to five years before the offense is removed.

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Other Offenses That Increase Your Rates

Red light tickets aren’t the only offense that can potentially hike your insurance rates. Other infractions include:

  • Failing to obey other traffic signs, such as yield and stop signs
  • Illegally passing another vehicle
  • Driving the wrong way
  • Driving while under the influence
  • Driving recklessly
  • Making an illegal U-turn

Some violations generally don’t increase your rates, despite being illegal. Parking, distracted driving, and adult seatbelt violations don’t typically result in a rate hike. The exception is if the violation results in an accident and an insurance claim.

Final Thoughts: Insurance Increase After a Red Light Ticket

You may or may not experience an insurance increase after a red light ticket. The increase in your rate is determined by various factors, including how many points you already have on your driving record, whether it was your first offense, whether your insurance company extends accident forgiveness to you, and whether a camera or a police officer caught you. However, even if you do accrue points on your driving record, there are ways to reduce or eliminate the severity of the penalty.

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