What is the true cost of a speeding ticket?

The cost of a speeding ticket ranges, based on the degree of your violation. Getting pulled over for going 95 km/h where the limit is 80 km/h might cost you $40 or so, while going 100 km/h on a road where the limit is 60 km/r could result in a ticket of close to $250. 

But the true cost of a speeding ticket is not defined by the number on the piece of paper you receive in the mail. That's only the tip of the iceberg. Chances are you'll be paying for that ticket every month for the next three years, because that's how long it will stay on your driving record. And insurance companies tend to penalize drivers for unsafe habits, such as speeding.

As with the ticket itself, the insurance penalty you receive for speeding, or any other driving infraction for that matter, will vary based on the severity of the offence. A minor ticket may produce no impact on your premiums, while a major violation, like fleeing the scene of an accident, will cost you big. Repeated offences will also augment the insurance penalty you pay for a driving violation.

Let's look at an example

Before we get into some numbers we should reiterate that both the cost of the ticket and the insurance penalty are not absolute. Some insurance providers forgive clients for receiving a ticket, while others don't. Some insurers might penalize drivers more severely for a ticket than others. There are too many variables to write an equation like driving X km/h over the limit will result in an X % increase to your monthly premiums.

But what we can do is use data to give a general idea of how much a speeding ticket will cost you in the long term. Using statistics from Ontario Traffic Tickets and proffer.ca we can get a ballpark understanding of the financial impact of a speeding ticket. Note that both sources refer to Ontario data, which is similar to most provinces in Canada, but not precisely the same.

So, with that out of the way, let's get to a scenario:

You receive a ticket for going 25 km/h over the speed limit. This will cost you $93.75, according to proffer.ca. It would count as a minor violation, which Ontario Traffic Tickets states may cause about a 10% increase to your monthly premiums. The increase to your insurance will last three years.

The math

If your monthly preimum runs you $120, then a 10% increase will knock that up to $132. Over the course of three years, that totals $432. Compared to the initial $93.75, that's a pretty big hit. A second violation of the same severity would cause your premiums to jump up by 25% instead of 10%. Using the same numbers, that would push $120 monthly premiums to $150, and cost you $1080 over the course of three years.

The takeaway

A speeding ticket can have a significant financial impact, and not because of the charge you receive for the violation itself. Traffic violations are signals to insurance companies that you are a risky driver, and they set your premiums based on risk. 

The best solution is to not receive a traffic ticket. But you already knew that. What else can you do? One option is fighting the ticket. It may feel like an inconvenience just to save $70, or whatever your ticket is for, but the financial impact is a lot greater than the initial charge.

Another suggestion is to look for insurance companies that provide ticket forgiveness. This won't save you from paying the ticket itself, but it can help you avoid three years of higher premiums. Even if a company charges a little more, you could end up saving in the long run. 

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