Minor offenses and your premiums

I noticed on my site tracking that some people are looking to find out about how many minor tickets it takes to affect your premiums. Well the answer to that one is tricky as there are multiple answers. Technically 1 ticket will affect your premiums, but then again – it may not!

You see when it comes to minor traffic infractions, our tendency is to fight them, then a year later it is either dismissed or we plead guilty to a lesser charge. 

The issue is that we rarely think to tell our insurer about it – and personally i agree – it isn’t on the forefront of my mind.

So when trying to determine how many minor tickets affect your insurance premiums you have to first figure out who is going to tell them? You may get lucky and they won’t pull your abstract for 3 years. The more likely scenario is that the insurer will pull your abstract in the next couple of years or assuming that you did tell the insurer here is how your premiums will be affected:

First minor ticket – you lose your conviction-free discount (anywhere from 5% -10%), your premium goes up.

3rd minor ticket (within 3 years) – you may be moved move to residual market (and your premium goes up)

There are a few things that you should note about this:

a) this doesn’t necessarily apply to commercial auto rates – i have written up account where the driver has 3 tickets within a short time span with a regular insurance company (not a residual market company)

b)  the conviction free discount will be taken away once they discover the ticket – again, it depends on when they find out.

I need to clarify that I am not endorsing keeping information from your insurer – rather the opposite, i believe in full disclosure with them. The fact remains however that unless you are involved in an accident, you probably won’t remember to tell your broker/insurer about the ticket and will move on with day to day affairs. 

Don’t forget – when you shop around for insurance, the broker/agent providing you with a quote will likely pull your driving abstract so try to be cognisant in advance of your record so that there aren’t any surprises for you or the broker when they receive the report and price the insurance accordingly.

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