Does a Red Light Ticket Affect Insurance in California?
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Is it ever not stressful to get a red light ticket in California? The experience of going out to your mailbox to collect the mail, only to discover you have been cited for a red light ticket.
And then there is the fee. Suddenly you are on the hook for potentially hundreds of dollars in fines, fees and court costs. Your budget isn’t happy and neither are you.
Then it occurs to you that getting a red light ticket may increase your auto insurance premiums. Suddenly what was already stressful starts to feel panic-worthy. How can you get your red light ticket dismissed? Will it raise your insurance rates and if so, by how much? Let’s find out now!
According to the State of California Department of Motor Vehicles, if you run a red light in the state of California and you get a red light ticket, one point automatically goes on your driver license.
This holds true whether you were ticketed by an actual police officer or a red light camera.
But this isn’t the worst news. Unfortunately, in California all moving violations citations are matter of public record and can be accessed and viewed by anyone, including your auto insurance provider.
Auto insurance companies operate based on risk algorithms. The risk algorithms, which can vary from one insurer to the next, in turn govern how much you pay in auto insurance premiums.
Every time a point gets added to your driver, that is basically like sending a message to your insurer to say “I am a higher risk driver today than I was yesterday.” When your risk increases, the chances of your insurer having to make a claims payout increases.
Auto insurance companies hate to make claims payouts. They will charge you more in premiums if they think you will cost them more in claims payouts.
Of course, your auto insurer may not check your driver more than once or twice per years, so you may have a grace period before your premiums increase.
In most cases, this grace period also gives you time to take action and get your red light ticket dismissed before it can potentially increase your premium costs.
According to Value Penguin, getting a point on your driver license for any reason has the potential to increase your auto insurance premiums by as much as 92 percent.
However, most auto insurance providers have algorithms that look at other factors besides simply having a point added to your driver license. The type of ticket you get, how frequently you get tickets and specific information about each citation can also impact how much your premiums increase.
In the state of California, failure to obey a traffic signal such as a red light typically nets you about a 20 percent increase in auto insurance premiums. Typically you won’t see the rate increase until a new calendar year begins, which is often about the time you have completely forgotten you even got that red light ticket.
But your insurance company never forgets. In California, points stay on your license for at least three years. That means three years of increased premium rates because of your red light ticket.
Insurance companies have access to your driving record. So once you are convicted of an offense, it will appear on your record and they will see it.
Keep in mind, that traffic ticket wouldn’t affect your current insurance policy. But instead affects any future policies. So you will see a premium increase when your auto insurance renews or you apply for new coverage. That is because every renewal or application they review your driving record.
NerdWallet states that the average cost for a single driver to obtain insurance coverage nationwide is $1,621 per year or $135 per month.
You may pay more or less than this depending on all kinds of factors. But just for this general example, let’s assume you pay $135 per month now for your auto insurance premium.
But then you get a red light ticket. Suddenly your renewal period arrives and your new premium quote arrives with it. Now you are paying 20 percent more because a point got added to your license. Your monthly premium is now $162, which means over the next three years you will pay $1,944 per year.
This is an increase of $323 just because one point got added to your license!
According to Insurance.com, these are the average increase to your rates for common violations:
Keep in mind, how much more drivers have to pay for insurance depends on type of violation, state and prior violations.
At this point, your mind has probably started churning with ideas for ways to get your red light or other ticket dismissed.
The great news is, this is both possible and a lot more affordable than paying those increased auto insurance premiums!
The method is called Trial By Written Declaration. It is fast, easy and all online. You don’t have to make any phone calls or ever stand in front of a judge in a courthouse.
For a one-time fee of $99 (or buy a membership for $59/year) you can use Trial By Written Declaration to get your red light or other traffic ticket dismissed, make sure no points go on your license, recoup your bail fees and keep your insurance premiums where they belong – at the current rate.
California courts love Trial By Written Declaration. This is why the process is printed on the back of all traffic citations. But since it requires a written defense rather than a verbal statement, you do want to make sure you pick your words wisely!
This is where GetDismissed comes in. Our expert team has been helping clients get traffic tickets dismissed using Trial By Written Declaration for years. We can help you too.
Our service is fast, easy, reliable and no-stress. You just create your account, upload a snapshot of your traffic citation, tell us what happened in your own words and wait for our email.
Then you review and sign your written defense documents, include the bail fee and mail it off to the court. It can take up to 90 days to receive the response. In the meantime, you are free to get back to life as usual.
Give us a try and see how easy it is!
GetDismissed produces results in fighting all kinds of tickets. Unfortunately, this list does not include exhibition of speed citations. Your best bet in fighting one of these infractions, is to contact an attorney. An attorney can negotiate on your behalf to try and reduce fines, or even to reduce the charges to a lesser infraction which could possibly qualify for traffic school.
We do however, contest infractions revolving around speeding, red lights, red light cameras, cell phones, signs (primarily stop signs), carpool violations, U-turns, out of lane violations, and commercial violations. If you receive a citation and have questions, contact us today.