Does Running a Red Light Increase Your Car Insurance Rates?

Running a red light will probably increase your insurance rates, but your insurance company might be able to lower the penalties.
Written by Jacoba Bood
If you get caught running a red light, there is a good chance that your auto insurance rates will be affected.
  • Running a red light is a serious traffic violation in most states. 
  • Too many traffic infractions could label you a high-risk driver with your insurance provider—and your insurance rate may rise as a result.
  • Cleaning up your driving record or taking a driver improvement course could help you reduce your insurance costs after a rate increase in the future.
  • Some insurance providers will treat certain violations less seriously—so if you’ve experienced a rate increase with your current provider, shopping around for insurance quotes could help you save.

Will running a red light increase my insurance rates?

The more points or violations you have on your driving record, the more your insurance rates are likely to increase.
Running a red light is generally considered a more serious traffic violation than things like parking or speeding tickets—especially if the circumstances leave you with a reckless driving conviction. Most states will add at least two points to your driver’s license for violating traffic signals, and your insurance rates could increase as a result of the ticket.
Keep in mind: Getting points on your license doesn’t necessarily mean that your insurance rates will increase. Some auto insurance companies treat red-light violations less seriously than others, and some providers will forgive first-time moving violations.

What if I get caught by a red light camera?

If you get a red light camera ticket, you may not face the same insurance increases you would if a police officer ticketed you. It largely depends on the laws in place in the state where you get ticketed.
Plenty of states will let you off the hook with only a ticket if you’re caught speeding by a camera. 
In this case, the insurance company may choose to treat the ticket like a traffic violation—but they may not. If state laws work in your favor and your insurance company lets you off the hook, you might not have to pay more for your insurance.

What if I don’t have other violations on my record?

Many insurance providers will forgive your first-time traffic offense as long as you have no other serious violations on your record.
Most insurance companies will also reward drivers for maintaining a clean driving record. Some offer accident forgiveness programs that essentially ignore your first at-fault accident so it won’t raise your car insurance premium.
The bottom line: If you’re ticketed by a police officer for running a traffic light, your insurance premiums will likely increase. If you’re caught by a red light camera, you might get off with a ticket that won’t affect your rates.

How to avoid higher insurance prices

If you have violations on your driving record, you still have options to help minimize the negative impact on your insurance premiums:
  • Wait three to five years: Even if you can’t get the points removed, they won’t stay on your record forever. While it varies by provider, most violations are ignored by car insurance companies after three to five years.
  • Fight the ticket: You always have the right to contest a traffic ticket. If you decide to fight your ticket, the case could be thrown out. Alternatively, a judge may choose to reduce your fine or take fewer points off your license. Note that if you lose, you’ll end up paying more to go to court.
  • Take a traffic course: Many states reward drivers who complete an approved driving course by removing two to four points from their driving record. Be sure to check your state’s requirements before you enroll.

Shop around to lower your insurance coverage costs

Another way to reduce the impact of a red light ticket on your auto insurance premium: Shop around for new insurance coverage. 
Some insurance companies consider red-light violations minor offenses while others consider them major offenses. Drivers with major offenses are considered higher risk and therefore pay higher premiums.
Here are the average annual insurance premiums for drivers with violations on their record:
Without Jerry
With Jerry
Clean record
Minor offense
Major offense
That’s not the only way that insurance rates vary between providers, though. Some companies put less weight on driving history when calculating your premiums. Others might ignore your violation if it was your first offense.
“My past tickets were making it hard to find affordable insurance. With
, I went from paying $450/month to $273/month. They took care of everything—such a relief!” —Josephine R.
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