One common question people ask is whether Ontario traffic tickets affect their insurance rates. It’s an important question with a lot of confusion surrounding it. In short, yes, your traffic tickets will affect your insurance rate. Let’s look at how.
TYPES OF TRAFFIC TICKETS
There are generally three different types of tickets that range from minor and major tickets, to criminal. All traffic tickets impact your insurance, and can get progressively harsher. Ultimately, you should try avoiding tickets to keep your insurance rates low by being a safe driver. Here are most (but not all) of the most common Ontario traffic tickets based on their severity and increases to your premiums that may result:
MINOR DRIVING TICKETS
20% increase for two or more convictions, with 20% added to each subsequent conviction.
- Wrong way on a one-way street or illegal turn
- Using a radar detector
- Unsafe vehicles i.e. defective brakes or broken headlights
- Slow driving
- Following too closely
- Overloading or insecure loads
- Obstructing traffic, driver views or your license plate
- Improper passing, opening of door, driving in a bus lane or railway crossing
- Failure to produce insurance or license when asked
- Failing to yield to pedestrians or traffic
- Failure to use a seatbelt or signals
MAJOR DRIVING TICKETS
Possible 25% increase per conviction.
- Many insurance offenses, including false statements or lack of insurance
- Speeding in a construction zone or school zone
- Failure to report an accident or report damage on the highway
- Improper passing of a school bus
- Distracted driving
SERIOUS AND/OR CRIMINAL DRIVING TICKETS
Possible 100% increase for each conviction.
- Driving while impaired i.e. blood alcohol level over .08
- Speeding 50 km over the posted limit
- Stunt driving or dangerous driving
- Criminal negligence
- Driving while suspended
- Refusing a breathalyzer by a police officer
- Failing to obey police or remaining at an accident
It’s important to note that tickets often come with demerit points. The number of demerit points you gain, the worse your driving record will be. In Ontario, your license might be suspended if you get between nine and 14 demerit points. If you get more than that, you can lose your license for a month or longer. That being said, demerit points DO NOT impact your insurance rates unless you have enough that would merit a license suspension.
When does an Ontario traffic ticket become a conviction?
Did you know that getting a ticket doesn’t affect your insurance rate? Being convicted of a driving offense does. Insurers are concerned about the number and severity of driving convictions you have within a three-year period. Insurance companies go by the date you paid the ticket or date you are convicted.
A ticket becomes a conviction when you:
- Pay the ticket: You are pleading guilty to the offence.
- Challenge the ticket in court and lose.
- Refuse to pay the ticket (within 15 days) or you choose not go to your trial.
If you want to check the status of your Ontario traffic tickets and fines online, or would like to request a meeting to resolve your case, click here.
Demerit points and car insurance
Generally speaking, insurance companies are not too concerned about demerit points that you may get for certain driving offences and fines. It’s important that you understand the demerit point system from a driving standpoint.
THE IMPACT OF ONTARIO TRAFFIC TICKETS ON YOUR INSURANCE
There are no exact rules when it comes to the impact that your driving tickets have on your insurance. In some cases, an insurance company may forgive a single ticket and not impact your rates at all. Your policy and your driving record in the last three years will determine if a ticket is going to impact your insurance. Some companies allow up to two or three convictions before they warrant an increase, but it really depends on your policy. The change to your rates will be impacted by the severity of the conviction, the number of convictions, and your insurer’s rules for convictions.
The fine for distracted driving is $490, plus three demerit points if you are convicted of distracted driving. If you have previous tickets and then get a distracted driving charge, your costs could skyrocket and you may get your policy cancelled.
When will I be classified as a high-risk driver?
Generally speaking, if you have three or more convictions, or a combination of a minor, major and/or serious convictions, this may mean that your company will likely not renew your policy. You may need high risk auto insurance.
Check your driving record before renewal
Ontario traffic tickets will remain on your driving record for three to five years from the date you paid them or were found guilty in court. As such, it will affect your insurance premiums for that amount of time stipulated for the offence. If you do get more driving tickets during that timeframe, the effect will be even more significant. Tickets hurt your ability to access cheap auto insurance in Ontario. If you want to see your driver’s record, you can order one online.
If you have any questions, please feel free to contact us and one of our isure brokers will answer all your insurance questions!