Not only is speeding dangerous, irresponsible and foolish, it’s also very costly. But a speeding ticket alone is not the expensive part. Consider the impact demerit points will have on your insurance rates.
Just 10 km/hr over the posted limit can earn you more than a fine and can haunt you for a considerable amount of time. It’s important to understand how demerit points affect your driving record and the price you pay for insurance.
Insurers typically consider the number of offences on your record and the severity of the offences, not necessarily the number of demerit points, when determining the rate you pay for insurance. However, demerit points do affect your insurance rates. Here’s why:
- Insurers generally categorize convictions as ‘minor’, ‘major’ or serious. Major and serious convictions tend to lead to higher rates than minor convictions.
- Some insurers will offer discounts if you are conviction-free and have a clean driving record. A ‘minor’ ticket may not ipact your insurance rating, but may indeed mean you lose your discount.
- Infractions that result in the accumulation of demerit points are not necessarily considered serious convictions by insurers. For example, making an improper left turn can result in two demerit points, but it is considered by insurers as only a minor conviction.
- A major or serious conviction, regardless of the associated demerit points, will result in losing any conviction free discount and a significant increase in your insurance rate. As an illustration, failing to obey a school crossing sign is classified as a major conviction and result in three demerits and a 15% surcharge on your annual premium rate with some insurance companies. Careless driving or speeding in excess of 50 km per hour over the posted speed limit are both serious convictions and either one of these will not only earn you six demerits, but also a 100% surcharge on your insurance rate.
One speeding ticket will normally not increase your rates, but a second ticket will put you in jeopardy of a rate increase.
If you pay any speeding ticket without fighting it, the conviction will be on your driving and insurance record for three (3) years.
Depending upon the insurance company a second or third traffic ticket can result in a dramatic insurance increase. If there is an accident or any other claim made, expect rates to be increased dramatically. If you have too many tickets, or claims the insurance company may refuse to renew your policy, or they can put you into Facility Rating. “Facility Rating” means high risk insurance rates of thousands of dollars per year, for at least three years, or until you have a clean record.
A couple speeding tickets on your record could cost you thousands of dollars. Many people look at the cost written on the speeding ticket and say why would I pay someone to fight for more than the cost of the ticket? Well, the answer is because the insurance implications could cost you thousands of dollars more. Insurance rates do not go up or down by twenty or thirty dollars per year, they increase by hundreds or thousands of dollars. Not just for one year but for up to six years.
Many times police officers give the driver a “break” by dropping the speeding ticket down to just a fine of fifty dollars or less, with no demerit points. Many drivers feel that they are getting a break from the officer and that their insurance will not be affected. The truth is that insurance companies do not count or care about demerit points. Your insurance company counts “convictions”.
If you pay a speeding ticket, even one with a small fine on it, your insurance company will put a strike against your insurance rate. If you get two or three tickets, regardless of wheather or not they carre demerit points, your insurance rates will be affected. Consider fighting a speeding ticket in an effort to keep your record clean and your insurance rates low.
Demerit points and your driver’s license
- The Ministry of Transportation in each province sets a limit on the number of demerit points you may acquire before your license is suspended.
- In Ontario, once a fully licenced driver accumulates six demerit points, a warning letter is sent. Once a driver accumulates nine demerit points, the Ministry may require that he be interviewed and plead his case as to why his license should not be suspended. At 15 or more demerit points, the driver’s license is automatically suspended for 30 days.
So while insurers don’t look specifically at demerit points when settling their rates, accumulating them is certain to cost you in the long run. For this reason, all drivers are well advised to steer clear from breaking the rules of the road and avoid tickets altogether.