Red light cameras are nasty. They aren’t located at every light or intersection, but they’re located at many of them. They are designed to snap photos of your car and license plate if you run a red light, and they are incriminating. If you receive one of these tickets in the mail, it comes with a photo or two of your vehicle, the red light, and the date and time of the incident. For many people, a light wasn’t red just yet and they were only going through a yellow light as permitted by law. For others, they weren’t the one driving the vehicle when this happened. It could have occurred when a friend or relative was driving, or it could be a rental car that someone else was driving and was mistakenly applied to your account.
You might want to know if you should even pay this ticket, but that’s not the question you’re asking right now. What you want to know more than anything is how this ticket will affect your insurance if you choose to pay it. Since the cost of these tickets is relatively affordable, you might rather pay it and be done with it than fight it. It’s less time-consuming and stressful to just pay the ticket, but what happens to your insurance if you choose to go this route?
Fighting a Ticket
Even if it’s a sizable ticket, it’s hard to fight a red light ticket. You must have witnesses, but judges don’t want to hear from the people in your car at the time of the light since they’re your friends or family. They want to hear from outside witnesses that something else happened, but you probably haven’t any of those since you didn’t know you were being issued a ticket at the time. You can fight a ticket like this if you’d rather not pay a few hundred dollars, but it’s easier to pay it and just deal with the hit you’ll take on your insurance policy.
Insurance and Red Light Tickets
Your rates will likely increase once this bill is paid. It’s admission you ran a red light and practiced unsafe driving techniques. It depends on where you live. Every state is different, and that means they all have different laws. The common law in most states is you will have some points added to your license. In some states it’s three and in others it’s only two. It also depends on the number of times you’ve been caught running a red light. If you’ve only done it once, you might not have as much to worry about as you do if this is your second or third offense.
Once points are added to your license, your insurance company is probably going to find out about it. This might not happen right away, but it’s going to happen. When it does, you’re going to find you have very little recourse, and your rates will increase. There are other factors to consider, which is why it’s difficult to provide an accurate answer to this particular question.
If you have a clean driving record, you might not end up with a raise in your rates. This is especially true if you’ve been driving for decades without any other tickets or accidents on your record. Your insurance company might assume it was a one-time incident and not bother raising your rates based on 20-years of never driving recklessly. If you receive tickets and warnings all the time, your insurance company might decide to raise your rates.
You can always call your insurance agent and discuss the situation with them. If you ran the red light because your wife was in labor and you were gunning it to make a yellow light prior to it turning red, it might be something they’re willing to overlook. If you ran the light because it turned yellow as you approached but the person behind you was tailgating too much for you to feel comfortable slowing down without being hit from behind, mention it. You never know if your insurance company is willing to work with you or not, but it never hurts to ask.
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