How do traffic tickets affect car insurance rates in Ontario?

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Picture of By <span>Aren Mirzaian</span>
By Aren Mirzaian

Updated on July 12, 2023

Visit author page
Picture of By <span>Aren Mirzaian</span>
By Aren Mirzaian

Updated July 12, 2023

Visit author page

5 minute read

Article Contents

How To Lower Insurance Rates By Knowing About Traffic Tickets In Ontario

Traffic citations are one of the biggest downsides of driving. They are a hassle to deal with and can result in fines. One of the biggest downsides of traffic citations is how they can increase your rates. Some things to know about traffic citations include:

  • How They Affect Rates
  • What Are Infractions, Tickets, And Penalties
  • Do Parking Citations Affect Rates?
  • How Citations Affects Your Driver’s Abstract
  • How Do Speeding Citations Effect Rates
  • Why You Should Be Afraid Of Driving Convictions

How Do Traffic Tickets Affect Insurance Rates In Ontario?

The basic relationship between rates and citations is that a citation will result in higher premiums. This is because a citation is proof that you did something to make yourself a less safe driver with it increasing the chances of you having to file a claim. Some things to know about traffic citations are the different levels of traffic citations and a driver’s abstract.

Driving Infractions, Citations, And Penalties In Ontario

There are a variety of infractions and penalties with them having varying levels of penalties. These infractions can result in either automatic fines with other ones potentially resulting in criminal penalties that can result in jail or probation. In general, there are three different levels of driving infractions including:

  • Minor Citations
  • Major Citations
  • Serious & Criminal Citations

Minor Citations are for basic driving violations. This can include things like driving without a seatbelt, speeding, or failure to completely stop at a stoplight. It can also involve problems involving your car. This may include such things as having an obstructed license plate, a broken headlight, or improperly securing a load. Minor citations may also involve coverage violations along with citations relating to failure to properly interact with the police. This can involve such things as refusing to open your door to a police officer, failure to provide proof of coverage, and failure to carry a card showing you have coverage.

Major citations are for more serious driving offenses. These infractions are not offenses that you will go to jail for. However, they do carry serious fines. This includes all offenses relating to coverage ranging from making a false statement on a claim and not having coverage. It can also involve such things as driving improperly in a school or construction zone or driving through a red light camera. The last group of major citations is for damaging property on the highway or failing to report an accident.

The last category of citations is called serious or criminal offenses. These offenses are those that will generally require a court appearance. Serious offense may result in heavy fines, probation, or a jail sentence. Some serious offenses include such things as driving while impaired, dangerous driving, and vehicular manslaughter. In addition, they can include such things as fleeing the police, leaving the scene of an accident, and failing to obey the police.

What Kind of Citations Affect Your Rates And Coverage?

Each one of these three levels of citation carries different penalties from the government. They will also result in higher rates with some offenses potentially resulting in you not being able to get coverage from some insurers. A single minor citation may result in no penalty. However, a large number of minor citations may result in higher premiums. More serious offenses, such as criminal offenses, will almost always result in higher rates.

Do Parking Citations Affect Rates And Coverage?

Parking citations are one kind of citation that has no impact on rates. This is because they do not really have any effect on how safe a driver you are. However, there are some problems that can come from having parking citations. Parking citations can result in you not being able to renew your vehicle registration. This can result in you getting a ticket for driving without registration.

About Demerit Points In Ontario

Each kind of offense will result in demerits going onto your license with more serious offenses resulting in more demerits. Demerits are valid for a two year period with them resulting in various problems. This can result in you:

  • Needing To Retake The Driver’s Test
  • Needing Additional Driver Training
  • Having Your License Suspended
  • Not Being Able To Renew Your License

In general, your demerits will not result in higher rates. However, a citation that results in a demerit will result in higher rates. This means demerits and rates are correlated. In addition, providers are not required to forget about offenses after two years, meaning driving offenses can result in higher rates long after the resulting demerits are forgiven.

How Do Citations Affect Your Driver’s Abstract?

Unlike demerits, your driver’s abstract will have a direct effect on your rates and coverage. A driver’s abstract is a government-issued document that details various things about your driving record including:

  • Type Of License
  • Date Of First License
  • Renewal Date
  • Driving Citation
  • Convictions
  • License Suspensions
  • License Renewals

This document is available to providers, and most providers will check your driver’s abstract in order to determine your rates and coverage. In addition, providers will look at your driver’s abstract when you file a claim. This means that they may potentially invalidate your claim if they find a major difference between your self-reported driving record and your driver’s abstract.

A driver’s abstract details all offenses in the past three years. This makes an abstract a major document in relation to your ability to get coverage and your rates. It is possible to gain access to your driver’s abstract by paying a ten dollar processing fee.

It is a good idea to check your driver’s abstract in order to see if there is any false information on it.

How Do Speeding Citations Affect Your Coverage?

Speeding is the most common kind of driving infraction with it being a factor in a large number of accidents. This means that speeding citations will have an impact on your rates.

One of the most important things to know about speeding is that fines and increased rates are effected by how much over the speed limit you were going. A good example of this how much you were speeding effects how many demerits you get.

  • 16-29 KPH Over = 3 Points
  • 30-49 KPH Over = 4 Points
  • 50+ KPH Over = 6 points

While demerits do not affect your rates, how much over the limit you were driving can result in higher rates. Going too much over the limit can result in citations for such things as reckless driving. It can also result in serious convictions for such things as racing.

This means that you should attempt to avoid citations for speeding. In addition, it is a good idea to do everything you can to have your citations show that you were not speeding too much.

When It Comes To Your Average Rates – Be Concerned About Driving Convictions Not Citations

The most important thing to know about average rates is that more serious traffic tickets Ontario will result in higher insurance rates. Each insurer has different rules for how citations affect rates. However, a general guideline about different levels of offenses and rates includes:

  • Serious & Criminal Offenses – 100% Increase
  • Major Offenses – 25% Increase
  • One Minor Offense – No Impact
  • Two Or More Offense – 20% Increase

One small detail about minor offenses is that many providers offer a discount for having no traffic tickets Ontario. This means that having a completely safe record is valuable.

From this general guideline, it is easy to infer that major offenses result in a huge increase in rates. Several convictions for serious offenses could potentially result in you doubling or tripling your rates.

This means that it is best to avoid major convictions than minor ones. Some ways to avoid major convictions include doing such things argue that you committed a less serious offense. It is also worth your time to contest a serious offense. It is well worth the cost to show up in court, and hiring a lawyer, in order to contest a ticket. In many cases, it is possible to have some offenses waived by successfully arguing your side of the case.

Finally, it is a good idea to switch providers or inform your provider when your offenses are three years old. This means that they will no longer show up on your driver’s abstract. This can potentially save you a lot in the case of serious offenses.

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