Seeing the flashing lights of a police car in your rearview mirror can quickly ruin your day, and the consequences of a traffic violation can go beyond the fine on your ticket. Convictions for both major and minor offenses on the road can raise your insurance premium for up to three years – an extra expense you don’t want to pay. Stay out of trouble by avoiding these five common types of traffic offenses that can raise your insurance premium.
Everyone knows that drinking and driving is a major offense. Given the serious nature of the issue, the Canadian government has recently proposed even stricter laws to help combat the problem, including mandatory alcohol screening that would allow police officers to demand breath samples of any drivers they lawfully stop. The consequences for driving under the influence can include paying a fine, attending an education or treatment program, losing your license and spending time in jail.
Texting and driving is now tied with drunk driving as one of the top road safety concerns for Canadians – and for good reason. Distracted driving data shows that one person is injured in a distracted-driving collision every half hour, and if you’re on your phone behind the wheel, you’re four times more likely to crash than a driver focused on the road. Tough new laws are being implemented across the country; like in Ontario, where drivers get an automatic license suspension upon conviction of distracted driving.
Putting children at risk
There are strict laws in place to protect the safety of children, so if you’re caught passing a school bus with flashing lights or speeding in a school zone, you can expect a hefty fine, demerit points, and an increase to your insurance premium. And don’t think you’re off the hook just because you didn’t get caught in the moment – enforcement officials often get reports from bus drivers about cars that drive past them illegally.
It’s no surprise that insurance companies take insurance-related offenses seriously, such as driving without insurance, false statement of insurance or failure to produce evidence of insurance. The number of uninsured drivers and people committing insurance fraud is higher than you might expect, and as a result, the cost of insurance is raised for everyone else. If you’re found to be driving without insurance, you could pay a fine of between $2000 to $5000, or spend time in jail.
Speeding might be a common offense, but it still puts you at risk for demerit points and an increase in your premium. In certain situations, you’ll face stiffer penalties for your high speed, such as driving over the posted limit in a construction zone. And the higher your speed, the bigger the consequence: driving 50 or more kilometres over the posted limit is considered a criminal offense.
If you do receive a ticket, it’s important to note that you only face an increase of your premium if you are convicted of the offense, which happens once you pay the ticket or if you fail to pay the ticket in a certain timeframe. If you feel the ticket was unfair, you can contest it in court and – if you win – avoid the conviction and the resulting penalties.
If you’re facing a higher insurance premium because of your driving record, you can still find other ways to lower your expenses. The best way to save on insurance is to compare car insurance quotes from multiple providers, since different companies will often offer different prices and plans for the same driver.
Finally, the easiest way to avoid an increase in your premium is to obey the laws of the road, so hopefully the next time you see a police car’s flashing lights in your rearview mirror, they’ll be pulling over someone else!