• Traffic tickets: How do they impact your car insurance premium?

    20 March 2019Christopher Johnson

    A moment of impatience had you step on the gas pedal. A momentary distraction has caused you to omit a stop sign. An important call had you pick up your phone while driving. A police officer was on the lookout, and you have just gotten a traffic ticket! Indeed, any slight violation of traffic rules can result in a traffic violation ticket – accidents can happen so fast, safety on the roads is always paramount. Does a traffic ticket automatically mean that your car insurance premium will be going up? There are many myths about tickets and increased insurance premiums. That’s why Assurances Multi-Risques would like to clarify these things for you.

     

    Traffic tickets and car insurance: Transparency is the key

    As you know, the impact of a traffic ticket is not limited the cost of the ticket itself. It also impacts on the price of your driver’s license and, in some cases, on your insurance premium. Insurers can dismiss a certain number of violations, but getting a traffic ticket often means that you will be denied the insurance rebate that is given to people with a clear driving record.

    I can be tempting to hide traffic violations from your insurer in order save some money, but we recommend that you avoid doing that and rather opt to tell the truth. Indeed, if your insurer has indicated in your car insurance record “that no driver has committed more than X violations to traffic regulations over the last three years” or “that no driver has had his or her driver’s license suspended over the last three years”, and eventually finds out the truth, you will be in serious trouble.

    Drivers must declare all types of traffic violations to their insurers, i.e. speeding, using a cell phone while driving, omitting to stop at a red light or a traffic stop, passing a car in a forbidden zone, etc.

     

    Why do traffic tickets lead to an increased insurance premium?

    Insurers set their premiums according to risk, past, present and future, as well as according to the previous claims made by the driver. It is logical to think that a driver who has violated road regulations on a number of occasions is liable to do it again anytime in the future, and therefore increase his or her risk of being involved in an accident leading to an insurance claim. This positive correlation explains why your car insurance premium can go up after you get a traffic ticket.

    In the same way, the Société d’assurance automobile du Québec whose motto is “A driver’s licence comes with responsibilities”, will automatically adjust the cost of your driver’s license renewal according to the number of demerit points accumulated during the past year. We therefore invite you to have a look at the SAAQ’s table listing the  price of driver’s licenses according to the number of demerit points accumulated.

     

    People often think that road regulations are too stringent, that police only hand out tickets to make the province money, that small violations are not really that serious, that traffic tickets are a ridiculous thing and that related car premium increases are exaggerated… All of these measures, however, are there to remind people that a moment’s inattention or a short loss of control over your vehicle can cause an accident! Of course, our ever busy way of life will sometimes tempt us into going a bit too fast or having a look at our emails while driving, but we must remember that it’s always better to arrive late than to arrive dead!