One of the best ways to keep your Calgary car insurance low is to avoid traffic citations, especially those that add demerit points to your license. If you’re ticketed for failing to obey the rules of the road, your insurance company could come to view you as a higher risk. That could send your rates skyward, leaving you with little choice but to pay a premium to maintain your driving privilege.
Calgary Car Insurance: The Alberta Demerit System
In Alberta, certain traffic offences carry a demerit point penalty in addition to a fine. These points are applied against your license, and if you accumulate 15 or more points within a two-year period, you will receive an automatic one-month license suspension.
Drivers who accrue two demerit-based suspensions within the same 12-month period lose their licenses for three months. If you get three demerit-based suspensions within a 24-month period, you will be handed a six-month suspension. In addition, you may be asked to make an appearance in front of the Alberta Transportation Safety Board to determine whether or not your license will be restored.
When your license is restored after serving a demerit point suspension, you will only have seven points total instead of the usual 15. You will only return to the full 15 points if you go for 24 months without another suspension.
Once you have eight or more demerit points towards your first suspension, you will receive a notification from the provincial transportation ministry. You cannot file an appeal to have demerit points removed from your license, unless you are able to prove that the police officer who issued the ticket did so mistakenly.
Calgary Car Insurance: Demerit Points Can Cost You
Even if a traffic citation doesn’t result in a license suspension, your insurance company may still move to raise your rates. Each insurance company sets its own internal policies in this regard. Thus, while one company might raise your car insurance rates after you accumulate a certain number of demerits, another company might not.
However, license suspensions will almost invariably result in much higher premiums. In addition, certain serious traffic offences can cause your rates to increase by as much as 100 per cent. An offence is considered “serious” if it costs you four or more demerit points.
Here is how Alberta’s demerit point system breaks down:
You will be charged 2 points for the following offences:
- Failing to signal
- Failing to obey a traffic control device
- Lane violations
- Driving through traffic in reverse
- Improper turns
- Speeding by 1 to 15 km/h
You will be charged 3 points for the following offences:
- Running a red light or a stop sign
- Failing to report an accident
- Driving on the wrong side of the road
- Unsafe passing, or inhibiting the forward progress of a passing vehicle
- Stunt driving
- Speeding by 16 to 30 km/h
The following offences result in 4 points:
- Failing to stop when directed by a school bus
- Tailgating (following too closely)
- Failure to yield right of way when required to do so
- Speeding by 31 to 50 km/h
You will earn 5 points for these traffic offences:
- Failing to stop when directed by a police officer
- Failing to stop at a railroad crossing when a train is approaching
- Failing to stop for a vehicle carrying flammable or explosive materials
These offences will earn you 6 points:
- Racing with other drivers
- Careless driving
- Speeding by 51 km/h or more
You will be dinged with 7 points if you fail to remain at the scene of an accident.
Drivers who continually get demerit points or suffer multiple license suspensions may come to be viewed as “high-risk drivers” by insurance companies. This is a special category, and it’s one you want to avoid if you can. High-risk drivers pay much higher average premiums than safe drivers.
Questions About Calgary Car Insurance?
If you have any questions about your vehicle insurance, or if you’d like to compare rates on new policies and explore your options, the professionals at Lane’s Insurance are happy to help. Lane’s Insurance is a full-service, locally owned brokerage, and since we work for you and not for the insurance companies, you’re always guaranteed the best coverage at the lowest possible rates. We also offer insurance bundles that could save you as much as 20 per cent!