How Do Tickets Affect Your Insurance?

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Everyone knows the sinking feeling you get when you see the flashing lights in your rear-view mirror and realize you are getting pulled over. Many thoughts flash through your mind such as “What did I do?” or “How fast was I going?” but eventually we all wonder “How is this going to affect my car insurance?”

While paying for the cost of the speeding ticket itself is not exactly convenient, the real cost is often the increase in premium you will pay on your car insurance. The following is a quick look at how tickets can affect your insurance and what you can do about it.

Points Do Not Matter

A very common misconception with auto insurance in Ontario is that if you get a ticket with that has no points then it will not affect your insurance. The reality is that insurance companies only treat convictions in three different categories; minor, major, or criminal(or serious). These categories are what matters to insurance companies, not the points.

Here are just a few examples:
Criminal or Serious Conviction
DUI, blood alcohol over .08
Speeding over 50 kms above posted limit
Failing to remain at an accident
Racing

Major Conviction
Distracted driving
G1 driver driving unaccompanied
Improper passing of a school bus
Improper passing/speeding in a school or playground zone

Minor Conviction
Speeding
Brakes – none, inadequate, improper
Other moving offences – speeding, failure to stop at stop sign
Driving imprudently

We hear it all the time; someone believes that since the ticket was dropped down or they fought it in court and got it lowered that there is less points and thus their insurance will not go up as much. Again, matters is the category of ticket, not the points. A speeding ticket for going 10 km over the limit and one for going 35 km over the limit are both rated as a minor convictions and your insurance will treat them the same way.

So How Does it Affect My Price

Most policies, if the driver does not have any tickets and otherwise qualifies, will have a conviction free discount. If the driver receives one conviction the discount will be removed and the price will increase accordingly, this discount is usually around 10%-15%. Any additional minor convictions will often add a 20% surcharge for each conviction. A major or criminal conviction will result in a much higher surcharge or the policy may not renew since the driver no longer qualifies. If there are too many minor convictions or a combination of convictions and other things such as claims or non-payments you may be considered “high risk”

Why Am I “High Risk”

With a lot of insurance companies in Ontario, any driver with 3 or more convictions will not qualify with them. They consider the driver high risk, so the coverage will need to be placed with a “high risk” insurance company. As a rule, the pricing with these “high risk” companies is more expensive and the same surcharges above often apply. These tickets will stay on your driving record for three years, after which the surcharges will be removed and you may be able to get away from the “high risk” companies.

What Can I Do About It?

If you have not had any convictions you should talk to your broker about Minor Conviction Protection, a lot of insurance companies in Ontario are offering this product. What is does is it guarantees that the conviction free discount will not be removed and your insurance will not increase for your first minor conviction. Any further convictions would be treated as your first conviction and the charges mentioned above would apply.

If you do get a ticket, you can always dispute it. Keep in mind that the ticket is not held against you until you are actually convicted or you pay the ticket. Also, paying the ticket is the same as pleading guilty. Getting a ticket thrown out will stop the conviction from going on your record and you will not be charged for it.

And of course; drive carefully, obey the laws, and do your best to avoid getting pulled over in the first place.

Conviction protection is not offered by all insurance companies and it is a new coverage for some companies. To check if you have the coverage or to see if it is available contact Absolute Insurance Brokers today at 1-877-941-2266 or contact@absoluteinsurance.ca.

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