Over 2 million insurance quotes
Enter your postal code:

Demerit Points on Your Licence: How They Work, What They Affect

May 31, 2012

Demerit points are placed on your licence as the result of a conviction of a traffic offence. The number of points you receive depends on the severity of the charge against you. Demerits can accumulate, so that adding points during the time (usually two years) it takes for points to fall off your licence will mean they are added together. Demerit points can have a very negative effect on your driving privileges, and they affect your car insurance although not directly.

How Demerit Points Work

Each traffic conviction or violation is accompanied by a certain number of demerit points. Minor convictions, such as speeding under a certain amount or running a red light, carry fewer demerit points. More serious offences such as failing to stop for a school bus and leaving the scene of an accident will carry a larger number of demerit points.

Demerit points are added to your licence when you are convicted of any violation that carries points. Your first demerit points will generally not affect your licence much, but as they accumulate they can really start to cost you.

In Ontario, for example, after nine demerits, you may be called in for an interview and asked to defend your driving skills and present an argument for why you should be allowed to keep your licence. At 15 demerit points you will find your licence automatically suspended. Demerit points are also a factor in the cost to renew your driver’s licence in many provinces.

Which Convictions Earn Demerit Points?

There is a long list of convictions that can earn you demerit points on your licence. These are moving violations; in most cases parking violations do not result in demerit points. Among the common traffic violations for which drivers receive demerit points are:

  • Speeding, number of points depending on how fast you were going
  • Failure to obey a stop sign or traffic signal
  • Failing to wear a seatbelt
  • Improper turns
  • Following too closely
  • Improper passing
  • Going the wrong way on a divided road or one-way road
  • Careless driving

Some of these convictions can be fought and removed from your record if you can successfully prove you are not guilty. If you successfully fight a ticket, you won’t get demerit points added to your licence. Remember that this is only a small list of the possible violations that can result in demerit points; it’s best to consult the laws in your home province to get a full list.

Do Insurance Companies Charge for Demerit Points?

The answer to this is a little more complex than yes or no. Insurance companies charge an increased rate to drivers who have convictions on their record. These are often the same convictions that result in demerit points on your licence.

Each insurance company can determine which convictions they charge for and how much they charge. Two violations that carry the same number of demerit points may not be seen as the same by an insurance company. One may cost you more than another.

Insurance companies don’t charge you based on the number of demerit points you have on your licence, but based on the number of convictions and the type of conviction. Still, having demerit points is a pretty sure way to get an increase on your insurance. While demerit points can fall off your licence after two years, insurance companies will charge you for the conviction for three years, whether or not the demerit points are still present.

Drivers with a large number of demerit points, and thus several convictions, may find themselves facing non-renewal by the insurance company. This means that the insurance company will inform you that when your policy comes up for renewal, the insurance company will not offer you a new policy term.

Demerit points can cost you in a number of ways. They are given for violations that often carry a fine, and you may pay more for your licence on renewal if you carry demerits. They can also indirectly cost you on your auto insurance, as they are most often given for the same convictions that insurance companies raise rates for. It’s simple to avoid getting them; stick to the rules of the road and drive carefully. While even good drivers can make a mistake sometimes, it pays to avoid traffic tickets as best you can.

  • Gary

    If you get convicted for driving with a hand held device does this affect your insurance rates?

  • Nick – InsuranceHotline.com

    Hi Gary,

    Each insurance company has their own rules for tickets so you are best to check with your insurance professional for the rules for your company.

  • Dave

    It’s been two years since my last ticket and demerit points, if I switch insurance company will they know this if I don’t tell them? Will it still be on my driver’s abstract? Thanks.

  • Nick – InsuranceHotline.com

    Hello Dave,

    Yes, insurance companies are aware of tickets on your driving record. You should mention mention that you have a ticket on your record to avoid providing false information. On the plus side, the ticket is removed from your driving ticket after 3 years – so only one year left!

  • Omid

    If I was pulled over and did not have my license on me and got a ticket for it , does that effect my insurance and does it give me demerit point

  • Nick – InsuranceHotline.com

    Hello Omid,

    Any ticket on your driving record may affect your insurance rate.

    Here is a list of traffic violations and the demerit points associated with the tickets:
    http://www.ontario.ca/driving-and-roads/understanding-demerit-points

    Hope this helps.

  • Vihit

    Hi, How would a speeding ticket ( a minor infraction with points ) be affected on the insurance ? and how most companies see this ticket as. Note: this is a first Speeding Ticket.

  • Nick – InsuranceHotline.com

    Hi Vihit,

    All tickets (regardless of the type of violation) affect your insurance. Each insurance company treats tickets in a different manner; some may increase your rate, while others may not for the first ticket. Please check with your insurance company or shop around for new car insurance quotes and find out how much you would pay other companies.

  • angie

    hi, i recently got in a minor car accident for making a wrong turn, and i got a ticket for it. How many demerit points would that be if im 18 and have had my license for less than a year? I live in ontario, canada.

  • http://www.insurancehotline.com/ InsuranceHotline.com

    Hello Angie,

    Demerit points are separate from insurance. The ticket is what counts, regardless of the demerit points. Any ticket will remain on your insurance record history for 3 years. Any accident remains on your record for 6 years. If you are curious about demerit points, you can contact someone at the MTO http://www.mto.gov.on.ca/english/about/contact-us.shtml
    The only time demerit points might effect your insurance is when they result in a licence suspension.

  • Karan

    Hello I got a ticket for driving with handheld device. I wasnt using the phone though. I just moved that to another side and cop gave me ticket?
    Will the ticket affect my insurance premium and how can i fight this ticket?

  • http://www.insurancehotline.com/ InsuranceHotline.com

    Hello Karan,

    In Ontario, distracted driving tickets such as the one you received will likely effect your insurance. In Alberta, this is not the same.

  • Valentina

    Hi, i got a $240 ticket for not having my seatbelt on and i was seating on the back seat (happened in Berrie). They also gave me 2 demerit points on my licence. i want to know if i can fight this or if the 2 demerit points have to be given on my situation?

  • http://www.insurancehotline.com/ InsuranceHotline.com

    Hello Vaneltina,

    Demerit points do not effect your insurance, they effect your provincial license. You would need to contact the provincial courts to fight your conviction for demerit points. I believe there are many services out there that also specialize in fighting tickets and demerit points that you can hire to help you. I hope this helps.

  • Nick

    Hello, I live in Alberta, and just got a speeding ticket worth 3 demerits which puts in to 9 demerits which includes another two speeding tickets. My court date is coming soon and I will lose my licence due to demerits on that date. I am wondering how losing my licence to those demerits will affect my insurance.

    Thanks.

  • http://www.insurancehotline.com/ InsuranceHotline.com

    Hello Nick,

    Demerit points typically do not effect your insurance rates, however, when this would effect your insurance is if your license was suspended as the suspension will effect your insurance.

  • danny

    I have been convicted of speeding 0-15 km with no demerit points,will it show on my driver abstract ?

  • http://www.insurancehotline.com/ InsuranceHotline.com

    Hello Danny,

    Yes it will show. Any speeding ticket will remain on your record for 3 years. Accidents and major tickets will remain on for 6 years. Your demerit points have nothing to do with your insurance – they are regulated by MTO and police.

  • V.B

    Hi there, I recently received a speeding ticket but got no demerit points. Will it increase my insurance?

  • http://www.insurancehotline.com/ InsuranceHotline.com

    Hello VB,

    Yes, the ticket itself is what will effect your insurance. Demerit points have nothing to do with your insurance. Demerit points are issued and governed by the MTO and police.

    Alex

  • John

    Hi I just got into lil accident , my car was fine and the other car was fine too . He just got lil scratch on his very side of bumper . Just want to kinow what should I do ?

  • http://www.insurancehotline.com/ InsuranceHotline.com

    Hello John,

    This is your personal decision. You may choose to contact your insurance professional (broker/agent) to make a claim, or you might choose to settle outside of insurance. This is a personal decision if the damage is minimal.

  • Ralph

    Hello there, earlier in the summer i recieved a ticket for failing to obey a railway crossing sign, the fine was about $85 or $110. i looked it up and it is three demerit points, i have an appeal for the ticket because the area i was driving in is not a familiar one to me, the railway crossing had no arms, and i am a young driver in university. im planning to suggest a higher fine for no demerit points if this is possible so that my insurance won’t force my parents to not allow me to drive. Is this the right course of action? Any help would be greatly appreciated

  • http://www.insurancehotline.com/ InsuranceHotline.com

    Hello Ralph,

    Demerit points have nothing to do with insurance. Demerit points are an issue to discuss with the MTO or police. it is the ticket itself, regardless of the points, that might effect your insurance premium. This depends on how many other tickets you have; if it is a major or minor conviction you received, also on what your insurance companies underwriting rules stipulate. You are best to speak directly to your insurance professional (broker/agent) as they will be able to accurately help you out and inform you of what your specific policy details are and whether or not this will impact your rate.

  • jim

    hi, i got a $60 parking ticket, since this is my first time having a ticket, the ticket says “stand vehicle-signed highway-transit stop zone” does it give me demerit points? or if i pay it off then it would be all set?thanks.

  • http://www.insurancehotline.com/ InsuranceHotline.com

    Hello Jim,

    Demerit points have nothing to do with your insurance. They are part of the MTO and/or police reporting. It is the actual ticket itself – the infraction/conviction that will effect your insurance, regardless of whether or not you were given demerit points.

  • Carla

    How many points can you lose for fleeing the scene of an accident, and having unopened alcohol in the back seat?

  • http://www.insurancehotline.com/ InsuranceHotline.com

    Hello Carla,

    Demerit points are separate from your insurance and are governed by your Provincial Ministry of Transportation and the police. Please refer this question directly to your Ministry as it relates to your license.

  • http://www.insurancehotline.com/ InsuranceHotline.com

    Hi Larry,

    If you broke the law and were caught on camera, you will likely receive a ticket. Check with your broker or insurance ombudsman if you decide you wish to dispute this.

  • http://www.insurancehotline.com/ InsuranceHotline.com

    Hello
    It might or it might not. It depends on your current driving record as well as your insurance company’s underwriting rules.
    If it is your one and only ticket it may not affect you too much. If you have more tickets it could affect you greatly.
    The demerit points only could for your licence status. The insurance company looks at the number of tickets on your record.

    Thank you

  • http://www.insurancehotline.com/ InsuranceHotline.com

    Hello
    Your rate may have gone up as a result of RBC increasing their rates or it may be as a result of your driving record.
    Compare your insurance rate at http://www.insurancehotline.com. See if you can save some money.
    Thank you

  • http://www.insurancehotline.com/ InsuranceHotline.com

    Hello

    I haven’t heard that before. You would be best to check with Services Alberta for the correct answer.
    Thank you

  • http://www.insurancehotline.com/ InsuranceHotline.com

    Hello
    I am sorry but I can’t answer that. You are best to check with the ministry of transportation for your province.

    Thank you

  • Bella

    I just got a ticket for dangerous driving? 4 demerit points outside of Ontario today. I currently have an Ontario Driver’s license, but will be changing it to a Quebec one in a few days- will the points “follow me” and how long does it take for them to transfer? thanks!

  • http://www.insurancehotline.com/ InsuranceHotline.com

    Hello

    Your driving record will follow you as Ontario and Quebec have a reciprocal agreement where they exchange driving record information.

    Thank you

  • http://www.insurancehotline.com/ InsuranceHotline.com

    Hello

    Paying the fine is an admission of guilt and you are considered “convicted”.

    Ticket show up on your record effective the date that you are convicted or pay the ticket- not the date that the ticket is issued.

    Thank you

  • http://www.insurancehotline.com/ InsuranceHotline.com

    Hello

    It may be the number of tickets on your record that makes the difference. When with the insurance brokers association of Alberta at http://www.ibaa.ca

    Thank you

  • MG

    Hello Nick, I had a question – I live in Alberta and got a speeding ticket today but officer didnt mention anything about demerit points. Should I automatically assume that I have 2-3 demerit points on my license now?

  • http://www.insurancehotline.com/ InsuranceHotline.com

    Hello

    You can find out for sure how many demerits are on your licence by ordering a driving abstract from the Alberta Ministry of transportation.

    Thank you

  • http://www.insurancehotline.com/ InsuranceHotline.com

    Hello

    There is a reciprocal agreement between Ontario and Sasketchewan. Your ticket may show up on your Ontario record.

    Thank you

  • http://www.insurancehotline.com/ InsuranceHotline.com

    Hello

    The insurance company most of the time would just look at the number of occurrences for minor tickets vs the speed. If you were going 50km or more over the limit it would have an impact.

    Thank you

  • http://www.insurancehotline.com/ InsuranceHotline.com

    Hello

    You can order it through the ministry of transportation. The cost is around $12

    Thank you

  • Ralberta

    The little backup camera on my tailgate broke off its mount as was dangling in front of my license plate. To my astonishment, Edmonton police gave me a ticket for obscuring my license plate! How many demerits accompany this “offence”?

  • http://www.insurancehotline.com/ InsuranceHotline.com

    Hello

    I am not sure if there are any demerits applied for that infraction. You are best to check with the ministry of transportation in Alberta.

    Thank you

  • http://www.insurancehotline.com/ InsuranceHotline.com

    Hello

    A parking ticket will not show up on your record.

    No. Accidents do not cause demerit points on your licence.

    thanks

  • jklfgga

    I live in manitoba and I have 10 demerit points and only have an intermediate license, will my amount of demerits result in my license being suspended?

  • http://www.insurancehotline.com/ InsuranceHotline.com

    Hello

    You would be best to check with the licencing agency in Manitoba

    Thanks,

  • GOTP_54

    Hello,

    First I just want to say I used InsuranceHotline.com to save myself around 3300 annually when dealing with a careless driving conviction. The conviction no longer affects my insurance but I still use the insurance broker that you put me in touch with to this day.

    My question is this:

    I live in Ontario, and Ihave a careless driving conviction from 4 years ago, and in Ontario the points disappear after 2 years. In B.C. the points disappear after 5 years. If the conviction transfers to a B.C. driver’s abstract when I change over to a B.C. license, will they generate points for the conviction?

    Thank you!

  • http://www.insurancehotline.com/ InsuranceHotline.com

    Hello

    I am so glad to hear that we were able to help you save money. You made our day by telling us that.
    Can we use your experience as a testimonial?

    To answer your question, as I understand it, your demerits will not appear on your BC licence as I have been told that they will use your Ontario record.

    Thanks again for the great comments.

  • http://www.insurancehotline.com/ InsuranceHotline.com

    Hello

    You should check with the licencing rules in your city.

    Thanks

  • http://www.insurancehotline.com/ InsuranceHotline.com

    Thanks, Mike!

  • http://www.insurancehotline.com/ InsuranceHotline.com

    Hello
    An agreement exists with Ontario and Quebec whereby Quebec motor vehicle dept will advise MTO of drivers who receive tickets. So it will show on your record.

    You will have to decide for yourself if you want to fight it.

    Thanks

  • http://www.insurancehotline.com/ InsuranceHotline.com

    Hello

    you may not even get a letter unless your demerit points are high enough that the ministry of transportation is required to notify you.

    this website lists the conviction and demerit point.
    https://www.ontario.ca/driving-and-roads/understanding-demerit-points

  • Sharon

    Hey I’m a G1 driver, just got into an accident the other day. I was at fault of the accident. I got 3 tickets. Where do I see how many points the officer took off? Is it on my ticket ? Can i loose my license ?

  • http://www.insurancehotline.com/ InsuranceHotline.com

    Hello

    You are best to check with the Ministry of Transportation for the points attributed to the ticket as well as the impact it may have on your licence status.

    Their website is http://www.mto.gov.on.ca

    Thank you

  • http://www.insurancehotline.com/ InsuranceHotline.com

    Hello

    you are best to check with the Alberta Ministry of Transportation.

    Thank you

  • http://www.insurancehotline.com/ InsuranceHotline.com

    Hello

    In Newfoundland you will have 4 demerits and will likely see an increase in your insurance..

  • http://www.insurancehotline.com/ InsuranceHotline.com

    hello

    You are best to double check with the B C ministry of transportation for your answer.

    Thanks

  • http://www.insurancehotline.com/ InsuranceHotline.com

    Hello

    You are best to double check with the Transportation ministry in Alberta

    Thanks

  • http://www.insurancehotline.com/ InsuranceHotline.com

    Hello

    You will be 100% at fault and might see an increase in your insurance premium.

  • http://www.insurancehotline.com/ InsuranceHotline.com

    Hello

    Some provinces will report and some might not. You should double check to see if Alberta will report tickets to manitoba

  • http://www.insurancehotline.com/ InsuranceHotline.com

    hello

    you can check with the ministry of transportation in your province. Most have the offense and demerit points listed.

  • Ameer Mohamed

    hi ,
    today i got a ticket for $130 for 67kmh on 40kmh zone , and i got 3 points , now my question is will my premium go up ? if so will it make a huge difference ? pleas and thanks

    Ameer

  • http://www.insurancehotline.com/ InsuranceHotline.com

    hello

    it all depends on how many other tickets you have as well as your insurance companies underwriting guidelines. Some insurance companies will not penalize for one minor conviction.

  • Dan

    Hi in Alberta I got an impaired just over 2.5 years ago and my insurance doesn’t know and I want to put another vehicle on my plan will they do a background check and find my DUI?

  • http://www.insurancehotline.com/ InsuranceHotline.com

    Hello

    There is no exact rule of when insurance companies order your driving record. They can be quite random and often done just prior to your renewal.

  • bonnie

    if my son received a distracted driving ticket will it show up on his drivers abstract right away or when it goes to court?

  • http://www.insurancehotline.com/ InsuranceHotline.com

    Hello

    Convictions are shown on your driving abstract once you are convicted of the offense.

  • http://www.insurancehotline.com/ InsuranceHotline.com

    Hello

    You are best to double check with ICBC here http://www.icbc.com/driver-licensing/tickets/Pages/default.aspx

  • http://www.insurancehotline.com/ InsuranceHotline.com

    hello

    I have pulled this information from the Alberta Ministry of Transportation website.

    Demerit point system for fully licenced drivers

    Demerit points are recorded against an operators licence.

    When a total of eight or more but less than 15 points have accumulated, you are mailed a courtesy notice of point standing.
    When an accumulation of 15 or more points occurs within a two-year period, your licence is automatically suspended for one month.
    When the suspension is the second demerit suspension within one year, your licence is suspended for three months.
    When the suspension is the third or more demerit suspension within two years, your licence is suspended for six months. In addition, you may be required to appear before the Alberta Transportation Safety Board.
    There is no remedy or appeal against a demerit point suspension, unless it can be proven the demerit points were assigned in error. You may request to review your driving record on these grounds by making a written submission to the Driver Fitness and Monitoring Branch.
    When a demerit point suspension has been served, the licence is reinstated with seven points. These points remain on your record until a period of two years from the assessed date has passed.
    When two years have elapsed from the date of a conviction, the number of points assessed for that conviction are removed from your record. Remember, the date of conviction is the date that you actually pay your fine or are found guilty in absence, not the date that you received the fine.
    If an approved defensive driving course has been successfully completed prior to accumulating 15 or more points, a maximum of three demerit points may be removed from a driving record once every two years.

  • http://www.insurancehotline.com/ InsuranceHotline.com

    Hello

    That’s tough to say. It all depends on the company

  • http://www.insurancehotline.com/ InsuranceHotline.com

    hello

    It is likely that the ticket that you received in NS will show against your NB licence since most of Canada’s provinces have reciprocal agreements whereby they report tickets.

  • Firefighter22

    Hey i have a Saskatchewan licence and got a speeding ticket in Ontario while on my drive to move to Ontario does the ticket and points transfer when i switch my licence to Ontario? ?
    Thanks in advance!

  • Wondering

    If i get into an accident in a work vehicle, will i need to report it to my personal auto insurer as well ?

  • Shannon

    Hello, I recently had a car rental in Wales, UK and we received a ”notice of intended prosecution” for exceeding a 30MPH limit by 5mph…will that show up on my Canadian abstract? The citation amount is 0, but it’s apparently still an offense worth sending all the way to Canada….

  • http://www.insurancehotline.com/ InsuranceHotline.com

    Hello

    It is most likely that it will since most provinces have a reciprocal agreement to exchange ticket information.

  • http://www.insurancehotline.com/ InsuranceHotline.com

    Hello

    Not necessarily. However, if your personal insurance company pulls your driving history, they will see the accident since it will be attached to your drivers licence number.

  • http://www.insurancehotline.com/ InsuranceHotline.com

    Hello

    No it will not reflect on your Canadian licence since tickets there is no agreement with Wales to trade traffic violations.

  • http://www.insurancehotline.com/ InsuranceHotline.com

    hello

    The conviction will stay on your record for 3 years from the date of conviction NOT the date that it happened.

    The points removed after 2 years.

    I don’t know about employment. I imagine that would depend upon the prospective employer.

  • http://www.insurancehotline.com/ InsuranceHotline.com

    Hello

    Most of the time the demerit points don’t factor into your premium it’s the number of incidents that make the difference.
    You should check with your insurance broker since each insurance company has their own rules and you didn’t mention if the 4 points were for 1 speeding ticket or more than 1.

    Thanks

  • hat50

    If I got a speeding ticking in AB that costs me 3 demerit points while still having my BC license will the demerits carry over to my AB license when I switch?

  • http://www.insurancehotline.com/ InsuranceHotline.com

    Hello

    It is likely that it will since most provinces have a reciprocal agreement where they exchange driving ticket information

  • http://www.insurancehotline.com/ InsuranceHotline.com

    Hello

    It all depends on the rules of the commercial insurance company.

  • http://www.insurancehotline.com/ InsuranceHotline.com

    It all depends on the rules of your insurance company.
    Some insurance companies will not increase your rate for one ticket.

  • http://www.insurancehotline.com/ InsuranceHotline.com

    Hello

    I am sorry but I don’t know about that. You will have to check with your company.

  • http://www.insurancehotline.com/ InsuranceHotline.com

    Hello

    Most of the time it is the number and severity of convictions you have that will affect your insurance not the demerit points

Nova Scotia to Increase Penalties For Distracted Drivers

Nova Scotia cracks down on distracted drivers by increasing fines and adding demerit points for drivers convicted of using hand-held devices. Read more »

OPP Kicks Off Fall Seat Belt Campaign. Are You Buckled Up?

Buckle up. Starting September 24 and going until October 10, 2014, the Ontario Provincial Police (OPP) will be cracking down on drivers, and passengers, who are not properly secured in the vehicle. As the U.S.-based National Highway Traffic Safety Administration puts it, “Click it Or Ticket.” Read more »

School Zone Safety: Keeping An Eye Out For The Kids

School zones are busy spots; there’s a lot going on and there’s a lot to look out for as a driver. Read more »