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How Do Tickets Affect Insurance In Ontario

Have you ever wondered how a traffic offence or a ticket can affect your insurance premium? People with a previous record as well as people who have a clean record would like to understand the relationship between traffic tickets and insurance rates. In Ontario, there are several factors, which are taken into consideration while renewing an insurance policy. One significant factor is the driver’s past record and the number of traffic offences. As a driver, you want to avoid being issued traffic tickets as it can increase your insurance premium. However, there are various categories in traffic offences and each would have a varying impact on your yearly premiums.

Broadly, traffic offences can be categorized into three categories:

  • Minor Conviction: Includes failing to follow basic driving rules or obstructing traffic, which does not necessarily result in a hazardous situation for other people.
  • Major Conviction: Engaging in a serious traffic violation, which may expose the public to threats, and is followed by heavy traffic fines.
  • Criminal Conviction or Serious threats: Pertains to activities that not only violate traffic laws, but also result in criminal offences, which is punishable by the court of law.

All types of traffic tickets can increase insurance premium rates. However, the impact on insurance premium will be greater for serious offences compared to minor offences. Moreover, even if you change your insurance provider, the impact will not diminish as traffic ticket history is maintained for a minimum of three years and is accessible to insurance companies. Therefore, there is no loophole that can be utilized to reduce the impact of traffic offences on insurance premiums. However, understanding the mechanism behind insurance premium calculations would encourage drivers to maintain a positive record that can result in considerable savings on their insurance premium. Understanding the system not only encourages drivers to maintain a clean record, but also reduces the risks and hazards created due to negligent driving.

Here is a detailed explanation of the three types of convictions, which can result in traffic tickets that ultimately increase insurance premiums in Ontario:

Minor Convictions

A single minor traffic offence might not spike your insurance rates. However, you will not be able to claim any sort of conviction-free discounts at the time of renewing your auto insurance. While it is true that traffic fines or tickets can spike your auto insurance rates, parking tickets do not affect car insurance premiums. The reason is that parking tickets do not appear in your history. Therefore, you don’t need to worry about paying a higher insurance premium at the time of renewal. With that said, other minor convictions are recorded in your driving history and can affect your car insurance premiums for the following year. Some common minor convictions are as follows:

  • Backing up in an illegal or improper place
  • Inadequate braking
  • Overcrowding the vehicle
  • Obstructing the traffic
  • Minor speeding offences including failure to stop at stop signs
  • Irresponsible driving

Major Convictions

Every major offence can spike your insurance premium rate in Ontario. Major offences increase your “risk rating” for the insurance company, which is evened out by charging higher premiums. For a major conviction, the individual may be fined with hefty tickets that affect their personal driving record as well. Some common types of major convictions are as follows:

  • Negligent driving
  • A G1 driver driving the car without being accompanied by an adult driver
  • Violating school stop signs
  • Failing to report an accident
  • Overtaking a school bus improperly
  • Speeding or irresponsible driving in a school zone

Criminal/Serious Convictions

A criminal conviction or offence can spike your insurance premiums significantly for every incident. In certain cases, the insurance company may reject your application for renewal depending upon the severity of the offence and number of occurrences. A criminal conviction not only spikes your auto insurance rates, but is also punishable in the court of law, which can be followed by jail term. Here are some common examples of criminal conviction:

  • Driving under the influence of alcohol or other drugs
  • Over-speeding by more than 50km of the allowed limit
  • Driving without insurance
  • Refusing an officer for a breath test
  • Hit and run accident cases
  • Participating in road rages or illegal racing

With all that being said, you should note that insurance providers and brokers are not responsible for the type of ticket you have received. If a ticket or conviction is shown on your driving record, that is how your insurance rates will be calculated.

For more information on how tickets can affect insurance in Ontario, feel free to contact us.

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