One of the first questions people want to know when they have been pulled over and issued a traffic ticket is how it will affect their insurance rates.
The answer depends on the infraction and the type of ticket you are issued. There are 3 main types of traffic tickets: minor, major, and serious convictions. Serious convictions (or criminal convictions) might include offences such as DUIs; driving 50 km above the speed limit; driving without insurance; and failing to remain at the scene of an accident. Major convictions include distracted driving; failing to stop at school crossings or for a school bus; failing to report an accident; and a G1 driver driving unaccompanied.
While many offences can impact your driving record – and, consequently, your insurance rates – the ones with the greatest impact include DUI, distracted driving, careless driving, speeding 50 km over the posted limit, speeding in a school or construction zone, and driving without insurance.
While each insurance company determines how driving convictions impact their rates, there are a few general guidelines:
- Your rates could increase 100% for each serious or criminal conviction
- Your rates could increase 25% for each major conviction
- One minor conviction may not impact your rates, but might make you ineligible for a clean driving record discount
- Two minor convictions could increase your rates 20%
With the exception of parking tickets and speed camera tickets, most driving convictions will impact your insurance rates. When you renew your annual auto insurance policy, the insurance company will check your driving record, looking specifically for the number of convictions you have and their severity. The best thing you can do to keep your rates low is follow the rules of the road and practice safe driving.
If you do find yourself facing higher insurance rates as a result of your driving record, you should work with an insurance broker that specializes in high risk insurance. These brokers will work with you to improve your driving record and bring your rates down over time. As frustrating as increased rates can be, there are ways to recover from driving infractions, restore your driving record, and get back to lower insurance rates.