How Ontario Speeding Tickets Impact Insurance Premiums
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How Ontario Speeding Tickets Impact Insurance Premiums

Here’s how much speeding costs you in Ontario, what happens to your Ontario insurance rates following a ticket, and a closer look at Ontario demerit points’ impact on your insurance premiums.

To learn more about how Ontario car insurance works, expected premiums per month, the most expensive cars to insure in the province, who can drive your car under your coverage, and more, read our full Ontario car insurance guide here

Speeding is a costly habit. Not only does it increase wear to vehicle components, it also increases your vehicle’s fuel consumption. If you’re caught speeding and issued a ticket, you’ll also face a fine. 

Get charged with a serious speeding or traffic offence, and there’s a court date, possible vehicle impoundment, and even the loss of your driver’s licence. From here, you’ll need to spend thousands of dollars on legal, impound and other fees before you’re able to drive your car again. 

Though it’s easy not to get a speeding ticket, that doesn’t stop Ontario drivers from racking up millions of dollars worth of fines every year. Of course, there’s also the added premium costs you’ll face when your insurance company finds out about your ticket. Also, paying up any applicable outstanding fees and charges from those speeding tickets when you’re renewing your Ontario license plate.

But how do speeding tickets impact your insurance premiums, and how much will your insurance increase if you're charged with an offence?

Resoundingly, the answer is, ‘it depends’. 

Many variables are at play when it comes to how speeding tickets affect insurance rates in Ontario, and every insurance company handles speeding tickets a little differently. There’s no cut-and-dry answer to this question, but below, we’ll dig into some useful information to help you understand what to expect.

Here’s how much speeding costs you in Ontario

The Highway Traffic Act lays out offences and fines in schedule 43. In this schedule, fines are laid out for offences ranging from failing to provide a breath sample to non-functional turn signals to having a defective odometer. 

According to schedule 43, you can even be fined $5.00 for not having sleigh bells on your sleigh. Speeding fines are costlier, however. 

If you’re speeding between 1 and 19 km/h over the limit, schedule 43 lays out a fine of $2.50 per kilometre per hour over the speed limit. Speed by 20 to 29 km/h over the limit, and that figure climbs to $3.75 per kilometre. It’ll cost you $6.00 per kilometre if you’re speeding 30 to 49 km/h over the limit.

These fines double if you’re caught speeding in a community safety zone, or in a construction zone with workers present.

If you’re caught driving 50 km/h or more over the limit, you’re given a court date, not a speeding ticket. From here, things get much pricier. Fines can reach $10,000, your licence may be suspended, and you could even spend time in jail. With a 50-over conviction, expect your insurance rates to skyrocket.

What happens to your Ontario insurance rates following speeding tickets?

Your insurance company will find out about your speeding ticket, usually at renewal. 

A speeding ticket can cause your car insurance rates to increase, but that’s not always the case. Speeding tickets come in various shapes and sizes, and each insurance company uses their own means of calculating your risk as a driver, and therefore, the insurance premiums you’ll pay.

These calculations and the factors considered to make them vary by insurer. The drivers history, age, and locale are all factored into your insurer’s risk-assessment calculations, which are used to set rates.

There’s no set-in-stone rule when it comes to how much a speeding ticket can increase your insurance rates, though most drivers can expect an increase in premiums between 0 and 10 percent for a single minor speeding ticket. 

Aren Mirzaian is the CEO of My Choice, an insurance resource for Canadians. 

“There’s no hard and fast rules because different insurance companies have different “settings” or ways of determining risk” he says. 

“For example, for most minor tickets like speeding, your first infraction will cause approximately a 5-10% jump in rates (most insurance companies have a discount for zero conviction drivers and that discount gets removed with your first infraction, so you notice a 5-10% increase). 

It will then go up 15-25% for each additional infraction. With too many tickets under their belt, a driver could be viewed as having an undesirable amount of risk. The driver may then have to sign up with a high-risk insurer, where each additional ticket has even larger rate consequences”.

For safe drivers with clean records, some insurance companies forgive a first minor conviction. Others do not.

With too many speeding tickets, you may be considered a high-risk driver. This may result in your insurance being cancelled, or the need to switch to a more expensive high-risk insurer. You may also have to sit in front of an official and explain why you should keep your driver’s licence.

By the way, speeding tickets stay on your driving record, affecting your insurance premiums for 3 years.

“If you are going 40 km over on a road and 50 km over on a highway, you could get a different ticket called “stunt driving” or “racing” which is classified as a Serious or Criminal ticket and has much more of an impact on rates” says Mirzaian.

“For example, apart from the rate increase from the ticket, stunt driving tickets come with immediate license suspensions which could easily raise rates by 25%.”

Ontario demerit points explained

Demerit points, speeding tickets and insurance rates are all related to one another, but that relationship is sometimes confusing. 

Demerit points for speeding start at 16 km/h over the speed limit. A speeding conviction of 15 km/h or less comes with no demerit points, but can still affect your insurance premiums.
A speeding conviction of 25 km/h over the limit comes with 3 demerit points, and can affect your insurance premiums, too.

So what’s the relationship between demerit points and insurance premiums? 

In simple terms, your insurance company considers the specifics of your conviction (in this case, a 25 km/h over speeding ticket) when calculating your insurance premiums. Demerit points, on the other hand, are used to determine which drivers are allowed to have a licence in Ontario. 

Some speeding tickets come with demerit points, others do not. Since your insurance company considers convictions (not demerit points) when assessing your rates, even a speeding ticket with no demerit points can increase your rates.

What’s the point of demerit points? They’re attached to your driver’s licence as a means to determine which drivers can (and can’t) hold a valid licence. You can think of demerit points as ‘strikes’, and when it comes to demerit points, it’s ‘15 strikes and you’re out’.

Demerit points can be applied to your licence for various reasons, including speeding. For instance, you can get 2 demerit points for not wearing a seatbelt, 3 demerit points for distracted driving, 4 demerit points for speeding by 30 to 49 km/h, and 6 demerit points for stunt driving or excessive speeding. Fleeing the scene of a collision or impaired driving adds 7 demerit points to your licence.

“Demerit points indirectly affect insurance premiums in two ways” says Mirzaian.

“Usually demerit points are accompanied by tickets. This will raise your rates at renewal. If you accumulate 15 demerit points you will likely get a license suspension for three months, which can increase your rates by up to 25%. This will bring your point balance down. Further breaches will increase the license suspension term to six months causing an even larger increase”.

Demerit points stay attached to your license for 2 years. Accumulate too many, and you can face licence suspension or an interview in which you’ll have to face an official and prove why you should be allowed to keep your licence. 

Accumulate 15 or more demerit points, and you’ll lose your licence automatically for 30 days.

Demerit points stay on your licence for two years, while convictions stay on your record for three years.

To summarise, your insurance company is looking for convictions when it comes time to set your insurance rate. Sometimes, those convictions add demerit points to your driver’s licence, and sometimes, they don’t. 

“The easiest way to think about it is that demerit points are a Ministry of Transportation metric for driver quality, whereas insurance companies look at tickets to determine risk” Mirzaian explains.

“Demerit points would stay on a driver’s record for two years as the Ministry of Transportation views this as a reasonable amount of time to determine the drivers’ eligibility to continue driving. Insurance companies would naturally be a bit tougher with this (three years) as they are trying to determine risk (the drivers’ likelihood of getting into an accident and filing a claim).”

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