There are multiple levels of traffic violations in Canada, and the severity of the charge can make a big difference in how your insurance rates are affected, as well as the legal impact of the infraction. Minor offences are the least serious and usually carry a fine. Major offences can be much more serious, with heavy fines and even possible jail time as a result. Both types can affect car insurance rates, some more than others.
These are the most common type of traffic violations, and have the lowest impact both legally and on insurance rates. That’s not to say they can’t do some damage to your bank account; minor infractions are chargeable on your insurance for 3 years from the date that you are convicted NOT from the date that you received the ticket, and some come with a hefty fine as well. Among the most common minor infractions are speeding (unless over a certain amount, and then it becomes major), running red lights or stop signs, failure to obey traffic signs, and tailgating.
Minor offences differ in how they will affect your insurance. Not all will cost you, but it varies from insurance company to insurance company how they will charge and for what. It’s best to contact your insurance professional after you get a ticket to find out what to expect on your premiums. They won’t charge you for the ticket until renewal in most cases, so calling to find out the impact isn’t going to make any difference on how or when they charge you. It can, however, prepare you for the increase.
Some of the offences unlikely to affect insurance rates are parking violations and things like broken taillights, which are not usually considered moving violations and thus not really of concern to the insurance company. A ticket that might make you look like a higher risk to insure is more likely to cost you.
Major offences are those that are considered to be more serious in that they are more likely to result in someone being injured. Among the major offences on the books are speeding in excess of a certain amount (usually 50 km/h but this varies from province to province), speeding in a school zone, and passing a school bus. Driving while uninsured is also often considered a major offence. Failure to have insurance puts you in a position where you may be unable to cover your financial obligations to another party in an at-fault accident.
Insurance companies will look more seriously at this type of violation. It shows that you are a higher risk of a claim, and they will charge you accordingly. Shopping around for insurance after you have been caught driving without insurance will make certain you see higher quotes. Some of the charges that can endanger lives are also taken very seriously.
A major offence stays on your record for the same amount of time as a minor one as far as insurance is concerned, so after three years you will not have to pay for it anymore. The cost of these offences is generally higher though, so you will be paying more for it over those years.
Major offences also have a heavier impact on you legally. You could face larger fines and in some cases heavier penalties, including possible time in jail.
Avoiding Rate Increases
Whether major or minor, most traffic violations will have an impact on your insurance rates. Those amounts can vary, but you can be sure you will be paying extra for insurance for at least three years. The best way to avoid any insurance increases is to drive safely at all times.
Remember that having more than one violation on your record at once is a guaranteed way to see very high insurance rates, so once you get a violation it’s best to learn from the mistake and ensure you don’t make it again. Two minor violations can cost you more than one major violation.
To find out what is considered a major or minor conviction, check out http://www.insurancehotline.com/driving-convictions-list/. The best advice is to avoid finding out by obeying all the rules of the road; in the meantime you will make the roads safer for everyone.