Will your car insurance be affected if you get a red light ticket? What can you do to minimize the impact of a traffic violation? Here are some things to consider.
First, how are your car insurance rates determined? Auto insurers determine rates and premiums based on several factors, including the potential (risk) for a claim. These factors include your age, the type of vehicle you are driving, where you live, how far you drive during the year, the coverages and deductibles you have, your sex, your recent auto claim history and your driving record.
Most states use a point system to track moving violations and traffic accidents for each licensed driver. If you get a ticket for speeding, running a red light, reckless driving or other moving violations these could potentially show up as points on your record.
Insurance companies review driving records as part of the application process when someone is buying auto insurance. They may consider you a higher risk the more points you have on your record. This translates to higher insurance costs. Keep in mind that car insurance companies only look at moving violations and not parking tickets or non-moving violations.
Many insurance companies also review their policyholders’ driving records at renewal, so if you get a ticket and are convicted, you could see your current premium increase. So what can you do about it?
Many states offer drivers the option to go to some sort of traffic school. Upon completion of the class, the violation is dropped and no points are added to your record. There is usually a fee for traffic school that is typically less than paying the citation, and there are often some limitations. For example, you may not be eligible for traffic school if you’ve had a moving violation in the prior two years.
You can pay the ticket. You will probably see an increase in your auto insurance costs.
You can fight the ticket. Of course if you lose, you will pay all of the necessary fines and court costs plus increased insurance costs. But fighting the red light ticket is very easy. Just find some Traffic ticket attorneys and 90% of the time they will get the case dismissed. This is what they do for a living. They spend hours in court dismissing 100?s of cases for people who received red light camera tickets.
If the traffic violation ends up on your record, it could affect your rates anywhere from three to seven years. It just depends upon the insurance company. Also, remember that this is just one factor insurers use to determine your rate and each company uses this information differently.
If your car insurance does increase, you may want to do some comparison quote shopping to see if you can get a lower rate. A convenient way to do this is to visit an insurance comparison Web site. You can enter your information once into an online quote form and get several quotes back.
You also might consider increasing your deductibles for a time. A higher deductible usually brings you a lower premium.