Does a Red-Light Ticket Affect Insurance in California?

Red-light tickets can be one of the most frustrating citations to get. Usually, they are cited by a camera taking a photo of your vehicle and license plate, running the red light. Infractions can also be given by police officers who witness a red-light violation occur. One of the long-term consequences of receiving traffic tickets is insurance rate increases. Let’s explore the impact red-light tickets have on insurance in California.

What Constitutes Running a Red Light?

Red-Light tickets are given out for not following California red-light traffic laws. The infraction relates to CA VC 21453. Here is what constitute a breach of this California vehicle code:

  • Failing to stop at a red light
  • Failing to correctly yield to pedestrians or other vehicles
  • Failing to stop at flashing red lights
  • Failing to stop at a red arrow light

Many California citizens believe red-light tickets to be unjust; in many scenarios, cars will run red arrow lights because there are no other vehicles around. This is a common citation trap for police officers. Let’s take a look at the various penalties associated with red-light tickets.

Is Insurance Affected?

Does a red-light ticket affect insurance in California? Simply put, it does affect insurance if the ticket goes unpaid for 30 days after the citation is created. If paid in time however, the ticket will not negatively affect insurance.

Other Red-Light Ticket Penalties

California red-light tickets typically cost $100 as a base fine. The other additional costs are listed here:

  • $170 for average county penalty assessments
  • $50 for DNA Fund for Identification
  • $50 for the Court Construction Fund
  • $20 state surcharge
  • $20 medical emergency surcharge
  • $40 for court operations
  • $35 conviction assessment

The grand total is $485 for a mere red-light ticket. As you can see, the $100 base fine is a mirage in the grand scheme of things. Other consequences include a CA DMV “point” being added to your driving record. If your license acquires too many points, then it can be temporarily suspended. The good news is that points can typically be removed from one’s record through driving school or dismissing the ticket altogether. If you are extremely careless or unlucky, a red-light citation can lead to a reckless driving conviction. This depends on the severity of the event, and what occurred. If this offense leads to another person dying, then you are at risk for vehicular manslaughter charges. On a lighter note, should you blatantly accept any red-light ticket that comes your way? Or should you fight your traffic ticket in order to avoid these potential penalties? Let’s find out.

Red-Light Tickets: Accept, or Contest?

Red Light Camera Tickets don’t carry any points unlike many other traffic rule violations, people know this fact. What they don’t know is that getting traffic tickets might affect their insurance. For instance, in California, failure to pay a red-light camera ticket in 30 days will cause the driver to pay additional amount and the citation will appear in the driving records for everyone to see, including the insurance company. Naturally, this will affect your insurance. (hint: your rate will increase significantly) It is usually a good idea to contest your red-light ticket. How does someone go about doing this? Use a ticket dismissal service, such as GetDismissed.

How Does GetDismissed Work?

Contesting a traffic ticket in California with a Trial by Written Declaration is your best option to fight your traffic ticket, keep your driving record clean, and save you money. Report details of your red-light ticket incident to the GetDismissed service, let our team build a defense for you, and send in your Trial by Written Declaration in order to beat your citation. Find out how GetDismissed can help you out, and don’t hesitate to contact us with any questions regarding red-light tickets.


Wherever you drive in California.



GetDismissed is ready to fight your ticket from a desktop, laptop, or any mobile device.

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