One of the most controversial changes in traffic law in the last several years has been the introduction of photoradar tickets to many communities. Photoradar tickets are issued by cameras rather than police officers; a special sensor is tripped when a car passes through a red traffic light or when a car exceeds the speed limit by a certain amount. The resulting ticket is then sent to the address of the vehicle's owner. Often, an offender doesn't know that he or she will be receiving the ticket until it arrives in the mail, and this can feel unfair. In some states, photoradar tickets will even affect a driver's car insurance rates, and this can make a single traffic offense extremely expensive for a driver.
A photoradar ticket could potentially cause the same change in your car insurance rates as a standard ticket. Your car insurance company knows that if a driver is receiving a number of traffic citations, he or she is probably an unsafe driver, and unsafe drivers will report more car insurance claims. In order to keep their costs down, insurance companies raise the rates of drivers after even a minor traffic offense. Photoradar tickets aren't exactly like normal tickets. For one, they're not treated the same under the traffic law of many states. They're treated as city ordinance violations, and cities issue them, not the Secretary of State. This is an important distinction, because if this is the case, your photoradar ticket may not be reported to your car insurance company and it may not be used in deciding your insurance premiums. Therefore, even drivers who receive multiple photoradar tickets may never see their rates rise.
If you're in a state where photoradar tickets can affect your car insurance rates, there are a few things that you can do after receiving a ticket to lessen its impact. You can take a defensive driving course, as most car insurance companies give drivers a discount if they complete an approved course. Defensive driving courses are very easy for an experienced driver to complete and they usually only take a few weeks. You can also check with your Secretary of State to see whether any programs exist in your state that can stop your photoradar ticket from changing your car insurance; court supervision is a common example of this type of program.
Finally, you can look online for car insurance quotes to try to find a lower cost policy. This is a good strategy for keeping your car insurance costs down and it's a great idea to keep checking your insurance rates online every few months to avoid overpaying for your policy.