Ever wondered how a traffic ticket will affect your insurance rate? The answer, unfortunately, is that all traffic tickets impact your rate, sometimes severely!
Tickets issued under the Highway Traffic Act, Insurance Act, or Criminal Code affect your insurance rates. This includes all tickets classified as Minor, Major, or Severe/Criminal. Parking tickets are the only type of ticket issued that has no impact on your insurance rate.
Minor convictions involve speeding (under 50 km/hour over the speed limit), and a host of other violations such as failure to signal, failure to use seatbelts, stop sign infractions, improper lane changes, and many more. Relatively new laws, such as driving in the high occupancy vehicle lane on some highways or talking on your cell phone will driving (unless hands free), also count as minor offenses, and will affect your insurance rates.
Not surprisingly, major and criminal offenses affect insurance rates to a greater extent. These tickets include: speeding 50 km/hour over the posted speed limit, school bus or school zone improper driving (or failure to stop), all insurance related offenses, such as driving with no insurance or producing a false insurance document, and failure to report an accident. Criminal offenses include driving while impaired, careless driving, dangerous driving, failure to obey police, and racing.
Minor offense convictions can see your insurance rates rise by approximately 10% for each offense (please note this can vary by insurance provider). Major convictions generally result in an automatic rise of 15%. Serious or criminal offenses increase your rates significantly, sometimes as high as 100% for a conviction.
Ticket convictions stay on your driving record for 3 years.
If you have teenage children or dependents that are covered under your policy, please note that any tickets they receive will be included on your policy. If your teenage daughter gets a ticket for chatting with her friends on her cell phone or texting while at a red light – this works the same as if you received the ticket and your rates can be affected.
There is no substitute for following the rules of the road. Be careful not to speed, and remember to put the cell phone away while driving. Be aware of how driving rules vary from province to province (and state to state) when travelling, so that you’re not vulnerable. Drive carefully for everyone’s sake – not just because tickets impact your wallet immediately and can cost you thousands in increased premiums over time.