When it comes to driving, major traffic tickets affect more than just your driving record. Insurance companies use driving records to assess the risks that come with providing car insurance. The best way to keep your car insurance costs under control is to maintain a clean driving record. Today, more than ever, major traffic violations and convictions can significantly impact your car insurance.
Traffic laws in Canada may vary a bit from province to province; traffic violations that affect your driving record and insurance rates are pretty much the same nationwide. Are you curious about the most common major traffic offences that could push your insurance rates higher? If you don’t already know this, we recommend you read on and buckle up for the details.
How Major Traffic Tickets or Convictions Affect Car Insurance.
Driving Under the Influence or Refusing a Breathalyser Test.
It should come as no surprise that driving under the influence (DUI) is a really bad idea – it’s a criminal conviction. A conviction can also be applied if you refuse a breathalyzer test. When your insurance provider learns you have a DUI, they have the right to cancel your policy. And your insurance company can refuse to cover your claims if you did not disclose a prior DUI.
If you get a DUI, your car insurance options will be extremely limited. Someone with a DUI on their record can expect to pay up to five times more for insurance than drivers with a clean record. This is not forever. If you’ve maintained an otherwise clean driving record for six years, you should be able to purchase an auto insurance policy at the standard rate for your area.
Speeding fines vary based on the extent of the violation. Depending on the severity of the offence, a speeding ticket will cost you 2 – 6 demerit points. A minor ticket, typically no more than 30 km over the limit, has minimal impact on insurance. However, multiple violations will add up and impact your insurance.
Most insurance companies classify speeding fines 31 km or more over the limit as a major offence, and your insurance will go up. When a speeding ticket is issued for exceeding 50 km over the limit, this will result in a criminal conviction, a loss of driving privileges, and a big-time hit on your insurance premiums when you return to driving. For more information, check out our blog: How Do Speeding Tickets Affect Car Insurance?
Distracted Driving / Driving While Using a Cell Phone.
Engaging in behaviour such as texting, talking while holding your phone, checking GPS, eating, or reading a map while driving can result in citations for distracted driving. Consequences for such tickets include fines of up to $1000, a deduction of three demerit points, and the potential suspension of a driver’s license for up to two years. Almost all insurance providers in Canada list this as a major offence, and you will be hit with a hefty increase in your insurance premium. So, it is imperative to prioritize focused driving to avoid these penalties.
Driving Without Insurance or Driving While Suspended.
If you drive without valid car insurance or while your license is suspended, this is a major offence. If you do either of these things, you’re taking a considerable risk, and you will pay significantly for this error in judgment. You can only drive in Canada with proper, valid auto insurance.
Other Major Traffic Offenses:
- Driving contrary to your license conditions or restrictions.
- Failure to obey school crossing stop signs.
- Failing to report an accident or leaving the scene of an accident.
- Newly licensed drivers failing to comply with provisions.
Minor Traffic Tickets
Minor tickets or convictions, such as not wearing a seat belt, failure to stop or yield at signs, and failure to obey a traffic signal, affect your insurance premium for three years. The difference in your insurance premium can still be up to a few hundred dollars per year.
Besides the convictions, fines and license demerit points, no one wants to see their car insurance premium substantially increase. It just makes sense to be cautious, safe, and thoughtful behind the wheel. While getting a traffic ticket is never good, mistakes can happen. Our Bauld Insurance Advisors are committed to helping all our clients get the best insurance available for their unique circumstances.