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How do Tickets and Accidents Affect your Insurance Premiums?

December 14, 2010

There are countless myths as to how traffic tickets and accidents can affect your car insurance premiums. Each insurance company charges different rates, so it’s important to obtain car insurance quotes – even with tickets and accidents on your driving record.

Read on to learn the truth about the effects of a traffic ticket or accident, and how you can minimize the impact either has on your insurance costs.

Traffic Tickets

Relatively minor tickets, including speeding tickets for 10-15 km/hr over the speed limit or having an expired insurance sticker, may only have a slight effect on your insurance premiums, and in many cases, insurance companies will forgive you for your first one. Two or more tickets, however will typically lead to an increase in your premiums. Of course, the increase becomes greater with each additional offence. For example, a second ticket may result in a 10% increase in your premium, a third one may mean a 15% increase, and a fourth, 25%, etc. Repeat offences demonstrate bad habits and unsafe driving practices – which increases the risk you present to an insurance provider, and earning you exponentially higher premiums.

The severity of the offence also dictates the impact your ticket has on your auto insurance premiums. Major offences, such as speeding more than 50 km/hr over the speed limit or driving without insurance will increase your rates to a higher degree than minor offences. A serious offence, such as a conviction under the Criminal Code of Canada will likely double your insurance premiums or result in complete loss of your coverage.

Repeat offenses don’t just raise your premiums. Drivers with three tickets or more may have trouble finding a company willing to provide them with insurance coverage, or may find that their current insurance company cancels or will not renew their policy. If you are unable to find auto insurance, you will be placed with a high risk auto insurer, such as Facility Association. Facility Association is an organization which ensures that everyone has access to auto insurance. Drivers who must find insurance through Facility Association will pay much higher auto insurance premiums.

Traffic tickets stay on your driving record for three years from the date that you are convicted not the date that you receive the ticket. In most cases, your first renewal following a traffic ticket is when you can expect to see an impact on your premiums.


It’s no surprise that an accident may increase your vehicle insurance premiums, but some insurance companies will offer an accident forgiveness plan for your first accident. This means that your first at fault accident in a six year period will not affect your insurance rates. This coverage must be purchased prior to the accident. Insurance companies rules for this coverage may differ so check with your insurance professional for the specifics of your company. If you have more than one at fault accident within a six year period it could drive up your premiums substantially. As with tickets, your rates will increase to a greater degree with each additional accident. Accidents stay on your driving record for a full six years – so you can expect to pay increased insurance premiums for an extended period.

It’s also worth noting that if someone other than yourself is driving your car at the time of the accident, your rates could be affected just the same as if you were driving the car yourself. Keep this in mind when you choose to lend your vehicle to a friend, family member or colleague, and you’ll avoid an unpleasant surprise if they have an accident.

Ultimately, the best defence against high car insurance premiums is to be a safe and careful driver. Taking extra time and care when driving can save you a lot of money and keep you and your loved ones safe and sound. Furthermore, shopping around for car insurance quotes each year before your renewal date is always a good idea. With online quotes readily available, this is the best way to ensure that your rates are in line with other brokers and providers in your area.

  • bbbat

    I have 2 speeding tickets, each only 15km/hr over the limit. My insurance company nearly tripled my rate. I shopped around, and all other rates were about the same. Tickets are an excuse for insurance companies to run up the premiums. Anyone who says rates only raise 10-15% knows nothing about the consumer’s reality.

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


    Insurance companies typically look at the number of occurrences in a three year period when determining rates. It also takes into account how long you have been licenced and insured. I can’t comment on your case as each insurance company has their own rules and rates. Keep shopping. There may be a better rate out there for you.

    Thank you

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


    If you now have a conviction free driving record and no licence suspensions for the last 3 years, you should no longer be considered “high risk” assuming that you have no accidents and that the tickets were minor. If the tickets were major or criminal then it may be 6 years until they are off your record.


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


    Each insurance company has different rules. Some may allow 1 minor ticket with no increase and another might not.

    I don’t know what RBC’s rule for this is.


  • NL

    I have been caught without insurance in Quebec. What is the fine/consequences? How do I get an insurance company to insure me?

  • Sookie

    If you receive a ticket for Fail To Surrender Permit For Motor Vehicle ( Ownership was surrendered but was incomplete ) under Highway Traffic Act 7 (5) (a) and receive a $110.00 fine does it show up on your abstract and affect your insurance when you pay it? Also do you know if there are any demerit points attached to it?

  • robyn

    i had an accident because i went through a red light. no injuries to either party! a police report was made at the time. Will i be cited for a red light violation via the mail?

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

    If the intersection has a red light camera in it, you might receive a ticket in the mail.

  • bsp

    Hello, I drive rental cars with my Credit Card Insurance. I have a speeding ticket for exceeding speed limit by 33 km. It is my first and only offence. I want to know what impact it will have on my insurance premium.


  • IhateInsurancePeople

    “How long you have been licensed and insured” What you describe there is technically illegal by insurance companies described by the FSCO outlines in Ontario.
    “whether there was a period of time where you had no automobile insurance coverage.” is clearly stated what insurance companies can’t use to determine rates.

    What you said is not the insurance history itself with premiums, at fault accidents, etc in that phrase because you already claimed that the sentence before. No. What you said was the length, a time frame of having insurance which would clearly fall under what insurance companies can’t use to determine rates.

  • IhateInsurancePeople

    Nope. Nevermind I am dumb. I totally misread that, I thought I read “havent been licensed” and I even quoted you while still misreading it. I apologize.

  • Marlo

    What if you get a careless driving charge with a commercial vehicle ? Will that affect your personal licence ?

  • InsuranceHotline

    Most of the time it will. Your driving record is the same whether the ticket was received on a commercial or personal vehicle.

  • K Jennings

    My husband has 3 speeding tickets on his record (minor – 10-15 over). My insurance company would not accept him, and they wanted him to sign saying he would not drive my vehicle. Is this common?
    Also, his current insurance company only has documented 2 of those 3 tickets. Why would this be? If they were to discover he had a third, would they possibly not insure him anymore as well…?

  • Flagpoleonyo Girl

    my license expired when i got into an accident. If my charges are dropped wil it still affect my premium?

  • InsuranceHotline

    If you were at fault for the accident then you will have that affect your premium. If the driving with an expired licence is off your record then your premium should not be affected by that.

  • Meher Dhingra

    I have got a speeding ticket because of 6 miles/hr increase (40 to 46), it is my first year for the liscense. How will it affect my insurance?

  • InsuranceHotline

    Each insurance company has their own rules for tickets and the premiums they charge. Some companies will allow one ticket with no increase in rates. You should check with your broker to see what the rules are for your company.

  • InsuranceHotline

    It is possible that your insurance company might not renew your policy . You will likely have to go into a high risk market for your auto insurance.