Do speeding tickets really impact your auto insurance rates?

A cartoon of a police officer writing a ticket to a driver

You know how when you turn 25 you get a big discount on your auto insurance? And you know how when you buy a vehicle that's red your insurance goes way up? Well, it turns out both of those widely held beliefs are more myth than fact.

But what about a speeding ticket causing your insurance premiums to rise? Is it real, or just another myth?

Will a speeding ticket cause my insurance to go up?

The short answer here is yes; a speeding ticket will cause your insurance rates to go up. However, your rates won't go up immediately. 

When you purchase auto insurance you usually buy a year's worth of coverage. That doesn't necessarily mean you pay for the full year upfront - you can make monthly payments instead – but a typical policy will cover 12 months. If you purchase coverage for a year and then receive a speeding ticket in month number three of that year, the premiums of your current policy won't actually go up.

The impact of a speeding ticket will be felt when you renew your policy (or go to a new insurance provider). When determining the cost for your new policy, the insurer will request a copy of your driving history from the Ministry of Transportation. When they are alerted to the fact that you received a speeding ticket, they will factor it in to your premiums.

How much will it cause my premiums to go up?

This is a tricky question because there is no definitive answer. Insurance providers weigh factors differently from one another so there is no 1 speeding ticket = $10 per month extra equation.

There is, however, a ballpark range provided by http://www.ontariotraffictickets.com/ that will give you some idea. They say that a minor infraction will cause about a 10 percent increase. Two minor infractions will boost your premiums by about 25 percent, while a third will boost your rates by 100 percent.

Of course, not every ticket is the same. If you're cited for going 20 over the limit, that's the "minor" type of infraction those numbers are dealing with. If you're caught going 200 km/h down the freeway, you can expect the penalty to be more severe.

Will it affect my premiums forever?

If you've been driving 40 years and have piled up five speeding tickets, your insurance rates will not have gone up by 500 percent or anything crazy like that. Minor infractions impact your premiums for a three year rolling period. Therefore, if you receive a speeding ticket in 2017, then another one in 2021, your insurer will only be penalizing you for one ticket when you renew your policy in 2022.

What if I beat the ticket in court?

If you're cited for a violation and fight it in court you may be off the hook for both the ticket and the insurance penalty. Of course, you need to actually win the fight in court.

Disputing the ticket in court and losing can actually help you save money in an immediate sense, since you could theoretically renew your policy before the charge is finalized. However, this also means the citation will be on your record further down the road.

 

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