Not all traffic tickets will affect your auto insurance premiums. Parking tickets, speeding tickets, and other minor infractions regarding traffic typically won’t cause your any change in your insurance premium as long as there was no damage involved for which you had to file a claim. However, if you run a red light and get a ticket, your insurance rates are likely to go up.
Running a red may not be punishable by jail time, but it’s still a serious mistake on the road. When you run a red light, it puts yourself and the other motorists on the road at risk for both property damage as well as severe injury. Think about it: a vehicle barreling through an intersection at 45 mph T-boning another vehicle in the intersection makes for, at best, two very damaged vehicles and, at worst, injury or death.
Insurers calculate a person’s auto insurance premium based on the perceived risk to the company for having to pay out a claim. Someone with a lot of driving experience and a good driving record will pay less than someone who is new to driving and/or has a poor driving record – even if both people are buying the exact same policy – because the person with the worse driving record is likely to continue driving poorly, while the good driver is likely to continue driving well.
The reason auto insurance premiums tend to increase after running a red light and not after speeding or a parking violation is because the risk involved with running a red light is greater than it is with other infractions. Parking badly has nothing to do with damaging your vehicle or injuring someone else, so insurance companies don’t care if you get parking tickets.
Speeding is dangerous, but again, it doesn’t necessarily mean you’re going to get into an accident (unless you’re charged with a crime like reckless driving, in which case your insurance rates may go up). The result of running a red light can be a disaster for everyone involved – including the insurance company. As such, when a policy holder is ticketed for running a red a light, they represent an increased risk to the company, and therefore their insurance premium may go up.