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How Traffic Violations Affect Your Car Insurance

on 31 May, 2019

Approximately 70% of Canadians admit to speeding over the maximum speed limit. It’s easy to brush it off and say “but everyone does it”. 

That may be true. But if you’re one of these speed demons, have you ever stopped and considered how getting a speeding violation could affect your auto insurance? 

Well, it can and it will. Especially if you receive multiple tickets or a major violation. The scariest part is that getting a speeding violation can hurt your insurance policy for many years to come.

Keep reading to learn exactly how a speeding ticket can impact your car insurance. After this article, you’ll be totally prepared if the misfortune happens (or has happened) to you.

How A Speeding Ticket Affects Your Car Insurance 

It is hard to know exactly how a traffic violation will influence your auto insurance rates and policy. This is because it all depends on the context and your insurance company.

However, there are three trends we see among drivers with speeding violations. 

1. Your Insurance Rates May Go Up

We can’t say, for sure, that your insurance rate will increase after you receive a speeding ticket. This depends on your insurance company, the type of speeding ticket you receive, and your driving record.

Some insurance companies will increase your rates for one speeding ticket, while others will not. Often, if it is your first offence and a minor ticket, you’ll probably be let off the hook and won’t see any consequence to your insurance bill. If you do get penalized, your rates shouldn’t go up by more than 20%.

However, after two tickets, you can expect a small raise. Three tickets and your annual premium could go up as much as $600. 

If you get a major speeding ticket, your annual rate could increase by double (or more). But, remember, the increase will depend on your agency.

The type of ticket, too, matters. For example, if you get a caught speeding by a camera and receive a ticket in the mail, this will not harm your insurance rates because it will not show up on your driving record.

This is because the camera can’t tell who is driving the vehicle. They only know who owns the registration. Thus, the owner of the vehicle is in charge of paying the fine, but it will not deduct driving record points.

Don’t be fooled by province and country lines, though. While it was once commonly believed that getting a speeding ticket in another province or in the U.S. would not affect your Canadian driving record and insurance, this is simply not true. No matter where you get caught speeding, reciprocal agreements allow your province to know and keep a record.

Types of Canadian Speeding Tickets

Here are the most common types of speeding tickets in Canada.

Fine: A ticket with a fine and due date of payment is the most common type of speeding violation. These are given when a driver is speeding at no more than 50 km/h. The fine amount is determined by the number of km/h over the speed limit:

  • 1-19 km/h over the max speed limit = $2.50/km
  • 20-29 km/h over the max speed limit = $3.75/km
  • 30-49 km/h over the max speed limit = $6.00/k
  • 50 km/h or more over the max speed = court

Court Summons I: If a driver is speeding at speeds over 50/km, they will receive a ticket with a date to appear in court. A part I provincial offense summons can land you a $500 fine. A judge may also suspend your license for 30 days or less on the grounds of recklessness.

Court Summons III: If a driver is speeding at excessive speeds (over 50/km) and on a street that has a lower speed limit or is a community safe zone (school or playground zones, speed by a school bus), then they will be summoned to court. The judge can fine up to $12/km over the speed limit and suspend your license for 30 days or less on grounds of recklessness.

Reckless driving will definitely increase your insurance rates. Your premiums could go up by as much as 80% (that’s typically an increase of $1000 or more). 

2. Increased or Lost Coverage

While your insurance rate may not immediately increase (depending on the company you use), it is highly likely that the type of coverage you need will change. 

Continual tickets or one major mishap and your insurance agency will ask you to get high-risk auto insurance. You’ll also be identified as a high-risk driver.

High-risk insurance coverage is designed for people who are considered more likely to submit a claim or have an accident. This also means your coverage and premiums cost more because the insurance company wants to mitigate the high risk.

But don’t worry, there are still ways to lower the premiums of high-risk auto insurance.

If your record is serious enough, you may not be able to find a private auto insurance company willing to ensure you at all. Luckily, the Canadian provinces have public auto insurance available for these cases. However, these options can be costly.

It can take three years of safe driving to get that high-risk label off your record.  Consider slowing down and driving safely to protect your insurance rate, coverage, and reputation. 

3. Fewer Discounts

There are long-term benefits to being a safe driver. And there are long-term consequences to speeding. Multiple traffic violations will keep you from getting discounts on your future insurance premiums. 

For example, when you receive a quote, you will be asked how many speeding tickets you have had in the last three to ten years. This is so the insurance company to decide whether you deserve a safe driver discount or need high-risk coverage.

If you currently have a safe driver tracking device installed in your vehicle to keep your premiums lower (by showing you’re a safe driver), but you end up speeding and/or getting a speeding ticket, you will lose that discount. You’ll also likely lose your enrollment in the safe-driver program.

Plus, experienced drivers with few to no violations simply pay less over time. If your driving record remains clean, you can appreciate lower rates as you age. If it is stained with speeding tickets, you’ll continue paying the same or higher rates over time.

You don’t want to be paying more than a teenage for insurance, do you?

When and For How Long Will I Be Penalized?

Typically, you won’t see the premium increase or have to change your insurance coverage until your policy is up for renewal. That is when your driving record will be reviewed and your car insurance adjusted to fit.

A traffic violation will affect your insurance premiums and record for a minimum of three years. This depends on the company. Some companies will research your driving record as far back as 10 years. 

Just as your violation will not influence your rates immediately, your rates and coverage will not immediately change when the violation comes off your driving record. You will have to again wait until your insurance policy is up for renewal to see the benefits and enjoy lower premiums and more discounts.

Are You Prepared?

A speeding violation can increase your car insurance premiums, change your policy type to higher coverage or high-risk, and keep you from getting discounts and lower rates in the future.

You can prevent these auto insurance consequences by not speeding and driving safely. However, if by chance you do get caught speeding, then make sure you’re prepared with the right coverage and the right insurance agency.

You can find out which insurance companies are more forgiving by doing a bit of research online. Look through the company’s mission statements and promises. Read the reviews to see what has happened to other customers. 

And last but not least, compare quotes and talk to experienced agents to figure out the best option for you. Knowing that you have an auto insurance company that will have your back if things get hard provides more than good coverage– it keeps money in your pocket and provides peace of mind.

We can help you find the perfect insurance company so you don’t have to worry. Use our simple and convenient online Insurdinary quote search to compare quotes and find the best rate.

If you’re unsure where to start or have questions regarding your driving history, we can direct you to a quality insurance agent. Just search for an agent in the insurance sector you need, and we’ll do the rest.

If you have a speeding ticket, don’t fret. Now you know what to expect and what you can do!

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