Do Speeding Tickets Affect Insurance?
Thursday, 6 August 2020
You’re cruising along, enjoying the open road and then you see flashing lights behind you. You pull to the side of the road, heart pounding and that sinking feeling in the pit of your stomach. You know you’re getting pulled over for a traffic violation. Getting a traffic ticket can be embarrassing and stressful, but even worse is the cost of the fine, the demerit points, and potential effect it has on your insurance. It is best to cooperate with the officer and make sure you have your vehicle ownership, license and proof of insurance on hand for the process. While you’re waiting for the officer to come back with the news, you may be wondering, “Do speeding tickets affect insurance?” This blog will discuss all the ins and outs of your traffic violation and explain the effect it may have on your insurance.
Do Speeding Tickets Affect Insurance?
Yes, speeding tickets will most likely affect your insurance. Regardless of the reason – running late, losing track of your speed, no cars around, etc. – it’s still your responsibility as a driver to abide by the traffic laws and if you don’t, there are consequences. We know traffic violations still happen, so it’s best you are informed of the impact it may have on your car insurance to motivate you towards safe driving habits.
When you receive a ticket, you usually get a fine, possibly accompanied with demerit points. When you pay the ticket, you are showing that you acknowledge and take responsibility for the offence. At the point the ticket is paid, the Ontario Ministry of Transportation (MTO) will add it to your driving record. If you decide to fight it in court, the offence will not show up on your record unless you: 1. pay the fine, or 2. you lose in court and must pay the ticket. If you win in court and the ticket is dropped, it will not appear on your driving record.
When Will My Insurer See My Speeding Ticket?
Once you have paid the fine, the conviction will appear on your Ontario driving record showing as the date you paid the ticket. The MTO will not contact your insurance company to inform them of convictions. You can choose to inform your insurance broker that you have received a ticket, however your broker will apply to the MTO to see your driving record when your policy is up for renewal. If there are convictions on your driving record, your broker must disclose this information to your insurer.
How Do Speeding Tickets Affect Insurance?
Subject to a regulatory approval, each insurance company will use their own set of rules and standards to rate for speeding tickets and other traffic violations. Your insurance rate is based on many different variables, so the increase will vary based on the number and severity of traffic violations you may have.
Insurance companies do not base your premium on the number of demerit points you accumulate. Demerit points are a system used by the MTO for the licensing, but they are inconsequential to your insurance rate.
The number of convictions or type of convictions may also affect the type of insurance you need. If you have 2 or 3 minor tickets in a short period of time, or a serious or criminal conviction (stunt driving, 50km/h over, impaired driving), you may require high risk auto insurance.
How Long Do Speeding Tickets Affect Insurance?
When you have a speeding ticket, or other minor conviction on your driving record, you may wonder how long do speeding tickets affect insurance? Any conviction that appears on your driving record remains on your driving record for 3 years from the conviction date (the date the ticket is paid, or you were convicted in court). As a result, traffic violations listed on your driving record can affect your insurance for up to 3 years starting from the policy effective date and, for any new traffic violations, at the time of policy renewal.
It might sound a bit confusing, but the bottom line is that speeding tickets or other convictions will affect your insurance premium until a renewal date when the convictions roll off your driving record.
Scenario 1: You have a new conviction from May 1, 2020 on your driving record, but your policy does not renew until September 1, 2020. In this case, your premium will not be affected until your insurance company becomes aware of the ticket at the time of renewal.
Scenario 2: You had speeding ticket from May 1, 2017 that expired on May 1, 2020, meaning it will no longer show on your driving record. If your policy does not renew until September 1, 2020, then your insurance will continue to rate for the conviction until the renewal date.
There are some cases where an insurance company offers a coverage called Minor Conviction Protection. Similar to Accident Forgiveness that forgives your first at-fault accident, Minor Conviction Protection will not raise your premium for your first minor conviction if the policy was in force at the time of the offence. Only certain insurance companies offer this coverage and is only available to eligible drivers based on driving record and insurance history. Ask one of our trusted BIG brokers to shop around and see if this coverage is available.
What If I Get a Speeding Ticket Out of Province?
Whether you were visiting family across the border, or doing a cross-country road trip, the location of a traffic ticket doesn’t matter. Any ticket from outside Ontario appearing on your driving record will affect your insurance. Once the ticket is paid, an out-of-province offence will still show on your driving record for 3 years and potentially lead to an increase in premium. Just as with Ontario speeding tickets, at the time of your insurance renewal, your broker will pull your driving record and see the offence, which they are obligated to disclose to your insurer and may lead to higher premiums.
In any case, getting a speeding ticket is not a fun situation. Our best advice is to practice safe driving habits to avoid getting a ticket and seeing a rise in your insurance premium. Some companies even offer a telematics discount that rewards you with lower premiums for good driving habits. If you’re ready to shop around for your car insurance, contact us for a no-obligation quote. At BIG we pride ourselves in finding the best insurance coverage for you at the best price!