Myth: Demerit points affect insurance rates

By Jonathan van Ekelenburg

A lot of people concerned about traffic ticket fines assume that the number of points that come with a traffic ticket will determine how much the traffic ticket will affect your insurance rates. The points don’t matter to your insurance provider.

Lino D’Intino, an insurance broker with Young’s Insurance Brokers in the Niagara region, says that insurance companies determine a traffic ticket’s affect on your insurance rates based on whether they consider the charge to be a minor, major or criminal offence.

For example, a disobey stop sign charge is considered a minor offence, as is a speeding ticket for 20 km over the speed limit. Both of these charges would affect your insurance rates in the same way because all minor traffic tickets carry the same weight for insurance rates. A careless driving charge, however, is considered a major charge, and would have much more drastic affects on your insurance rates. Major and criminal traffic tickets carry specific kind of affects on insurance rates.

Different insurance providers will have different policies about just how much a type of traffic ticket will affect your insurance, and some also have different policies about what constitutes a minor or a major traffic ticket. Some providers consider any speeding ticket for below 50 km over the limit to be a minor charge, while others will consider a speeding ticket for 40 km over and up to be major. You have to find out from your particular provider how a specific charge might affect your insurance.

Some police officers have been known to tell drivers that getting a speeding ticket with 0 demerit points will mean it won’t affect your insurance. Those officers are mistaken. Any conviction on your driving record can affect your insurance rates, regardless of the number of points it comes with.

Read about more traffic ticket myths