Traffic tickets come with immediate consequences, including fees, fines and jail time if they’re serious enough. They also have lingering effects that often last long after all fees and fines have been paid to the court. If you’re pulled over while driving, here’s what happens after you’re ticketed along with how car insurance and tickets impact one another.
Unless you’re able to appeal your ticket in court, the ticket will go on your driver’s abstract. This is a document that every driver in Ontario (and the rest of Canada) has, and it lists essential details like when your license was first issued, when it’s due for renewal and what the status of your license is. An official copy of the document can be obtained from the Ministry of Transportation.
Your abstract also lists any tickets, suspensions, reinstatements and convictions you’ve had. These items remain on the abstract for a period of three years from the date of conviction not the offence date. This is important to keep in mind, contesting a ticket is a process that can take up a year to resolve. Insurance companies use your drivers abstract when setting rates for policies, so you can expect your tickets to affect insurance for three years
While demerit points are not used by insurers to calculate rates, the demerit point system is used by the MTO to determine if you qualify to carry a driver’s license
If you lose too many points, the MTO will suspend your license. Subsequently, since you don’t have a license, your insurance is no longer valid.
A ticket in Ontario is usually classified into one of three categories:
Most speeding tickets fall under the category of minor tickets, but how speeding tickets and insurance impact each other depends on the severity of the ticket. Tickets are broken out into between 0 and 15 kph over the posted limit, between 16 and 29 kph over, between 30 and 49 kph over, and more than 50 kph over.
While tickets generally increase auto insurance rates, there may be a couple of ways to reduce your auto insurance premiums after getting a ticket in Ontario. If you are able to have the ticket removed from your abstract through a legal process, the ticket will no longer impact your premiums. Additionally, enrolling in a driver education course might qualify for a demerit point reduction that could lead to reduced premiums.
One notable exception to the above guidelines is parking tickets. Parking tickets are not moving violations and as such aren’t treated like other traffic tickets. They don’t fall into any of the three mentioned categories, and they don’t come with demerit points. Only moving violations tickets affect auto insurance premiums.
How long do tickets affect your insurance?
The specific laws vary between states, but a traffic violation will often stay on your record for around three years. After that, it will get cleared. Insurance companies check for them every one or two years, so your insurance premium may go up if the company checks your record during this timeframe. The value may go down when they check again after it expired.
Does a 0 point ticket affect insurance?
Zero point tickets will probably not affect your insurance. If you received a ticket, you can decide to participate in a driver education program. Drivers who participate in these events can take off some of the points from their tickets. This way, you can reduce them to zero. If the insurance company has not checked your records before you do it, and they only see the zero point ticket, it’s unlikely that you’ll have any problems.
How do you know if a ticket has points?
Most tickets will not show how many points you’ve received at the time that you get them. Fortunately, in most states, you can find out how many points you have by checking your records online on the DMV’s site. Look for your driver’s license check there and you may find the information. However, be warned that you may need to send a form with personal information before you get access to this kind of information.