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How A Traffic Ticket Can Affect Your Insurance Rates

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We get calls every day from people who have received tickets and are interested in their options. They may be able to fight the ticket, or at least negotiate a lower fine. A traffic ticket in Ontario can affect your auto insurance rates. It will also add demerit points to your record.

Fines

In addition to a fine, most traffic convictions result in court, licensing and insurance penalties. The police officer issuing the ticket does not usually advise of these penalties, and may even provide inaccurate information. This lack of knowledge leaves the driver uninformed and vulnerable to making poor decisions that can impact their life for years into the future. A conviction of a traffic offence results in a record being sent to the Ministry of Transportation (MTO). The MTO will then apply demerit points to your driving record based on their underwriting practices, which are driven by actuarial data.

The MTO will then add a victim surcharge to the total payable amount, which is credited to the Victim Services Fund to support crime victims and their families in Ontario. The surcharge is separate from the fine and can be paid online, over the phone, or in person. It must be paid within the time period indicated on the ticket or as instructed by the Justice of Peace.

Convictions

Whenever you are found guilty at court of a traffic ticket offence, the Ministry of Transportation will assess demerit points to your record. These can impact your insurance rates. If you’re a novice driver, they can even result in a license suspension. The police officer who issued you the ticket will not generally tell you about these penalties. It’s your responsibility to find out what the consequences are before making a decision that could affect you for years to come.

Depending on the offence, you may have three options: (a) pay the set fine; (b) attend an early resolution meeting with the prosecutor; or (c) go to trial. The police must file your ticket as soon as possible at the provincial offences courthouse where it came from or you will be convicted in your absence. A judge can review the ticket and, if there are fatal errors in it, he can quash it or dismiss the charge.

Insurance

Every year, thousands of drivers receive traffic ticket ontario. While most tickets are minor, some may impact your insurance rates in a significant way. Whether or not your premiums will go up depends on the severity of the offence, and your driver’s abstract. Moreover, it also depends on the type of conviction you get and your insurance company’s policy. Some common types of tickets include speeding, failing to wear a seatbelt, and stunt driving. In some cases, a ticket can even result in your insurance being cancelled. If this happens, you’ll need to purchase high risk coverage which is much more expensive.

The insurance coverage that you have will be affected by the severity of the conviction, not the amount of the fine. In most cases, a speeding ticket will not result in your insurance rate going up unless it was for over 40 km/h over the limit. This is because your insurance companies consider convictions, not demerit points.

Court Dates

There are a lot of myths and misunderstandings about traffic tickets in Ontario. Many of them are based on outdated rules/laws, and others may be based on hearsay or incorrect information heard from other areas of the country. It is a very common myth that police officers must show their radar/laser reading in order to enforce a speed charge. In fact, it is up to the officer’s discretion whether or not to do this and they are not required by law to do so.

If you choose to fight a ticket, it is important to begin preparing right away. This includes researching the section of the Highway Traffic Act you are charged under, and requesting all the information that will be used against you (disclosure). You must exercise one of the options shown on your offence notice within 15 days or the Clerk of Court may enter a conviction in your absence. This could affect your credit, the renewal of your driver’s licence and insurance rates.

Conclusion

The effect on your rates will vary depending on the insurer and the type of violation. But a speeding ticket is likely to cause your rates to rise significantly. Thankfully, most non-moving violations won’t impact your insurance rates at all. But even minor offenses like a parking ticket can cost you

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