Speeding tickets are flagged as one of the most prominent driving violations issued in the province of Ontario. Speeding is against the law, but sometimes it happens – whether we mean it to or not. In good conditions, with an open road ahead of you, there is always that temptation to push on the gas a little harder. Or, maybe you’re late for something and there are few enough cars on the road to merit going a little over what the road signs suggest.
It may not have happened to you yet, or you’ve seen this all unfold before: you get pulled over and a police officer tickets you. Speeding tickets can impact your insurance – and most people know this, but did you know that a speeding ticket can impact your premiums for as long as 3 years?
How a speeding ticket can impact your car insurance rates-
In Ontario, speeding tickets will affect the premiums you pay for your auto insurance. However, all is not lost. Your driving history is a major factor in determining the overall cost of your insurance and your provider will take that into account when calculating your premiums. If this is the first instance of having been issued a ticket, and it’s relatively minor, you are not as likely to see much impact. On the other hand, if this is one of multiple speeding tickets in the last 3 years, you’re guaranteed to be paying much higher premiums.
The “severity” of a speeding ticket may be assessed based on how much faster than the posted limit you were driving. The thresholds are stated as follows:
- 0-15km/h faster than the speed limit.
- 16-29km/h faster than the speed limit.
- 30-49km/h faster than the speed limit.
- 50+km/h faster than the speed limit.
Your insurance rate increase may vary depending on the number and severity of your traffic violations. Minor infractions, such as small speeding, failing to signal, or obstructing a licence plate, may only result in a 10% increase.
Major infractions, including instances of distracted driving, failing to report an accident, or speeding in a construction zone may result in an increase of up to 25%.
In Ontario, speeding 50 km over the posted speed limit may be considered a serious or criminal ticket. This would constitute a 100% increase and may be labeled as racing or criminal negligence. Other examples of criminal driving include failing to remain at the scene of an accident or DUIs.
How long do speed tickets affect insurance?
Any conviction that has appeared on your driving record will remain there for up to three years from the date that you were either convicted in court or paid your ticket. This means that your policy and insurance will be affected for up to three years beginning from the start of the policy effective date and, if you incur any new traffic violations during the lifetime of your policy, at renewal time.
How is my insurance impacted if I’m labeled a high-risk driver?
Depending on the number of convictions and their severity, you may be labeled as a high-risk driver. In some instances, insurance companies will refuse to insure you altogether. Three or more convictions, depending on the carrier and the severity of the convictions, will cause you to be labeled a high-risk driver. Your insurance company may not want to continue to insure you at this point, but they may give you recommendations to other providers who will insure high-risk drivers.
You can ask for your driving record copy in the province of Ontario for $12, or $18 for certification. As for your insurance history, you can ask for that for free. This allows you to see your past claims, policy info, etc., so nothing shocks you come renewal time. You can also discuss with an insurance broker to see how your recent insurance history or driving record will affect your rates.
This can also help you to determine whether it’s time to compare quotes from other companies or do some shopping around.
How do I lower my insurance rates if my driving record isn’t good?
Unfortunately, to wipe the slate clean on your driving record you will need to wait up to three years. It can feel miserable, but there are options to reduce your premiums. You can always elect to drive your car less and swap for public transport, thereby lowering the annual number of kilometers that you drive and lessening the chance that you will receive another ticket altogether. If you live at home with other drivers who use your car that have had violations in the past, you can exclude them from using your vehicle. Other ways to reduce your premiums include:
- Raise your deductible amount
- Lump together all your insurance policies
- Take a defensive driving course
- Install anti-theft devices in your car
- Shop around – or have a broker do it for you
In the end, the worst thing you could do for your insurance rates is lie to your provider about your driving history and past convictions. Insurance companies will do their reports regardless and there may be issues that arise if they discover you have obscured any information regarding prior tickets or violations. Lying to your insurance company may result in your claims being denied or your policy voided altogether.
Want to see what kind of insurance rate we can provide you? Try our Rate Reducer to get the best auto insurance quote.