Answers to Your Four Most Common Questions About Traffic Violations & Insurance Coverage

Understanding auto insurance is never easy. There are many details that need attention if you want to ensure that you have the right coverage. Seemingly everyone has questions about their insurance policies, and one of the most common themes is how traffic infractions can affect their premiums. Here are four of the most common questions about car insurance premiums, and how traffic violations impact your insurance:

1. Can you get demerit points for parking tickets? How can they affect your car insurance premiums?

You will not receive demerit points for parking tickets, no matter how many parking tickets you receive. Parking tickets are an added expense and a hassle, but they do not affect your driving record. Additionally, parking tickets have no bearing on your auto insurance premiums, since they don't indicate a history of bad driving. However, you will have to pay off any unpaid tickets before you renew your driver's license or license plate registration.

2. Do minor traffic convictions affect insurance rates?

Minor traffic convictions can affect insurance rates, and the magnitude of the effect is often based on the frequency and severity of these minor convictions. Some insurance companies may not increase your premiums with a first minor traffic offence, but rest assured, secondary offences will result in exponential increases. Most minor traffic convictions will remain on your driving and insurance records for 3 years - and if your premiums have been affected, you can expect your premiums to remain inflated for the same time period.

3. Do seat belt tickets affect insurance rates?

When drivers are ticketed for not wearing a seat belt, each offence is worth two demerit points and the ticket will be recorded on their driving record. Insurance companies will often penalize drivers for these tickets with higher premiums, as this type of infraction is considered an indicator of risk. Driving without a seat belt is an unnecessary risk, and in the event of an accident often results in more serious injuries or even death. Failing to buckle up could easily cost you your life in the event of an accident, but getting caught without your seat belt will cost you financially.

4. Does a hit and run count against your insurance?

Assuming that either you or your vehicle were hit and you don't know who the responsible party is to make a claim against their insurance, then your insurance provider should cover you if you make a claim. It should not count as an at-fault accident, and it shouldn't affect your insurance rates. However, any claim can impact your car insurance premiums, so contacting your insurance company to find out about the details of your specific policy is always a good idea.

If you're the perpetrator of a hit and run, whether you've hit a pedestrian or another vehicle, not only should you expect an increase to your insurance premiums (if you are able to maintain your insurance coverage), but you will likely find yourself accused of numerous criminal charges.

Traffic tickets and convictions can impact your premiums at different magnitudes, and only your insurance provider can give you the specifics of how a ticket will affect you. The effect of traffic infractions is never pleasant, so most drivers try to avoid traffic charges - both in an attempt to stay safe and to maintain favourable insurance premiums. Understanding how a traffic ticket can change your insurance rate can help you make the best decisions about your policy and your actions behind the wheel. Staying safe on the road is paramount, but having cheap Canadian car insurance will prove to be an added benefit to your cautious driving.