If you’ve recently been handed a speeding ticket in Ontario, then car insurance rates might be one of the concerns that are going through your head. Even for the safest and most experienced drivers, it’s easy to miss a speed limit sign and lose track of how fast you’re going. We’ve all been there or at least know a few or more people who have.
We know that even though speeding tickets are a common inconvenience of driving, the whole process of navigating speeding tickets and fines is stressful—especially when you’re not sure how long speeding tickets stay on your record. This article will help guide you through the variety of ways speeding tickets can affect how your auto insurance premiums are calculated.
And don’t feel bad if you awkwardly thank the OPP officer when you receive a speeding ticket. We’ve all done it.
Not all speeding tickets have an equal impact
Due to the range of severity of speeding tickets, Ontario insurance companies won’t treat all speeding equally. This is good news because if you get a minor speeding ticket, it’s likely that you’d only see a small increase in your rates.
Severity and frequency are the most important factors in determining how much speeding tickets will affect your insurance rates. Even if you get a speeding ticket that will eventually increase your insurance premiums, there’s also a period between when the OPP officer hands you a ticket and when your insurance company applies this new information to your insurance rates (which we’ll cover below).
You can check your driving record in Ontario to find out if tickets are causing your rates to rise.
How Ontario’s insurance companies treat different speeding tickets
The severity of the penalty for a speeding ticket is connected to the severity of the speeding infraction. In other words: the faster and more dangerous a speeding violation is considered, the more likely the driver who received the ticket would be summoned to appear in court, the more likely they’d have to pay a higher fine, and the more demerit points would be added to their driver’s license.
You can check out a comprehensive list of Ontario’s traffic tickets here, if you’re looking for one on your record.
These consequences of speeding are the Ontario government’s way of deterring people from potentially risky driving behaviors. In a similar way, your insurance company may view your risk of getting into an accident as higher if you’ve received one or more speeding tickets within the last three years. Insurance companies check driving records to assess your level of risk, so it always pays to know what’s on yours.
How the Ministry of Transportation handles speeding tickets
In Ontario, being fined for driving 50 or more kilometers per hour over the speed limit is considered the most severe speeding offence out there. It adds six demerit points to the driver’s license. The maximum fine is $12 for every kilometer over the limit someone was driving (which is $600 for going 50 over the limit!). Receiving this type of speeding penalty could lead to higher insurance premiums.
You can receive the same penalty as above for racing your car, but the reality is that most drivers who get speeding tickets aren’t driving fast and furious on the road. The most common speeding tickets issued in Ontario are classified as “Part I – Proceeding Commenced by Certificate of Offence.” They’re issued when a driver is caught driving between 16 and 49 km per hour over the speed limit. If you’re given this type of ticket, you are not required to appear in court unless you want to dispute it.
You might need to appear in court for more serious categories of driving convictions, however.
Demerit points by speed:
- 3 demerit points: 16-29 kilometres per hour over the limit
- 4 demerit points: 30-49 kilometres per hour over the limit
- 6 demerit points: 50+ kilometres per hour over the limit
Keep in mind that a speeding ticket for driving in a construction area, school, or community safety zone, could result in higher fines and up to double the amount of demerit points. In this case, a driver could also be summoned to appear in court even if the speed limit wasn’t exceeded by 50 or more km/hour. Insurance providers will see this as more risky too because more pedestrians in these areas increases the potential for collisions and injuries.
It’s also possible to be ticketed for exceeding a speed limit by less than 16 km/hour, but that doesn’t earn any demerit points—and your insurance rates would be unlikely to increase, as a result.
On the opposite end of the spectrum, unnecessarily slow driving can result in a ticket and 2 demerit points. Speed limits are designed for optimal weather conditions, so it’s a good idea to slow down in less-than-ideal weather and visibility situations, but driving too slowly can make your car a hazard to other drivers on the road. It’s usually safest to obey speed limits while keeping the flow of traffic in mind to reduce your chances of being involved in a collision. Among other factors, your insurance premiums will reflect your commitment to safe driving.
Speeding tickets outside of Ontario can still affect your insurance
If you’ve been convicted of speeding anywhere in Canada, this information will still be available on your driving record maintained by the The Ministry of Transportation of Ontario (MTO), as will any demerit points added to your license. Each Canadian province also has different agreements to share traffic ticket information with certain U.S. states such as New York and Michigan. The bottom line is that it’s still possible for these out-of-province tickets to affect your insurance rates.
Young drivers, insurance, and the OPCF28A Form
You want your children to be independent and responsible, but will their driving habits affect your insurance?
The answer is yes, generally speaking. In Ontario, all residents of your home who use your vehicles must be on your insurance policy. That means the actions of secondary drivers do affect your policy.
However, there’s an interesting option that you may not know about. Ontario’s OPCF 28A form allows you to sidestep the problem of a lead-footed teenager driving up your insurance rates. You can submit the OPCF 28A form stating that your son or daughter is living in your home but not driving your car (and never will until you notify your insurance provider otherwise).
This means that you are clear with your insurance company and your premiums will not be affected (and you won’t need young driver insurance). However, the child in question will not be permitted to drive your car under any circumstances.
It’s also a good opportunity for parents to teach and reinforce the life lessons and responsibility that come with being a driver, because speeding tickets can stay on their record for years.
Insurance companies aren’t notified immediately
When you get a speeding ticket, Ontario insurance companies won’t find out until after you’ve paid a fine or been convicted in court. That’s when the MTO records tickets on the driver’s abstract. This means that if you dispute your ticket in court and have your speeding fines dropped, your insurance provider won’t be notified that you received a ticket at all, eliminating the chance for higher premiums.
If you feel you have a strong case to defend yourself against a speeding violation, it may be worthwhile to invest in reputable legal representation. After a conviction, a speeding ticket will stay on a motorist’s driving abstract for 3 years.
You might still be wondering “But how will my insurance company actually find out about my ticket?” This will vary between insurance providers, but in most cases it will be when your policy is renewed, unless you’ve opted to tell your provider beforehand. All insurance providers will review your Ontario driver’s abstract before they give you an auto insurance quote for the next 365 days, and that’s one of the documents where your driving history resides.
You can get a quote with us in 3 minutes to see what’s on your driver’s abstract from an insurance company’s perspective.
We hope you found this information on speeding tickets and Ontario insurance helpful! Breathe easier knowing that if you get a speeding ticket, Ontario insurance rates can only be affected for up to three years after.