While you may be under the impression that any ticket or violation will negatively affect your car insurance in Calgary, this isn’t necessarily the case. Insurance companies will only increase your premiums if they deem you to be at increased risk for filing a claim. As such, generally the chances of your insurance rates going up for committing certain minor offences is very slim, since insurers won’t want to risk losing your business.
Still, many people are confused when it comes to tickets. Some offences carry increased insurance premiums and some do not, and it’s all about how the ticket is classified.
The Classification of Tickets and Driving Violations
Tickets are unofficially classified in three different ways:
- Minor offences
- Major offences
- Serious offences
Vehicle licensing agencies and insurance companies share information, so if you’re convicted of a violation under the Highway Traffic Act, your insurer is going to find out about it. The only questions are whether or not your premiums will rise, and by how much.
First, if you’ve received a parking ticket or notice of a similar violation which occurred while your vehicle was stationary and you were not in it, you can breathe easy. These offences are not reported to insurance companies, and they won’t affect your car insurance.
However, minor offences could result in increased premiums, depending on the nature of the infraction and your overall driving record. Examples of minor offences include:
- Driving without proof of insurance or a valid license
- Failing to signal turns or lane changes
- Failing to yield to pedestrians or traffic in an intersection
- Traffic signal, stop sign and yield sign infractions
- Speeding at a rate of 29 km/h or less over the posted limit
If you’ve been convicted of one or more of these offences, chances are you’ll see a modest jump in your premiums when your insurance policy comes up for renewal.
Major offences are likely to bring bigger increases in insurance rates. This category of driving violations includes:
- Failing to stop for a school bus
- Careless or dangerous driving
- Failure to report an accident
- Speeding 30 km/h or more over the posted limit
- Speeding in a construction zone
These offences come with demerit points, which remain on your record for two years after the date of your conviction, at which time they will cease to affect your premiums if you have not been found guilty of any further driving offences.
Serious offences are criminal in nature, and include things like driving while impaired, leaving the scene of an accident, street racing, negligent driving, or dangerous driving resulting in the serious injury or death of another driver, pedestrian or passenger. These offences remain part of your permanent record, and will likely affect your insurance rates for many years to come.
Finally, remember that photo radar can also be used to identify drivers who disobey speed limit laws, and that green light and red light cameras are becoming more common throughout the province. Keep in mind that you will not accrue any demerit points if you plead guilty to any automatically assessed ticket; this can help prevent your insurance premiums from rising too sharply.
The Importance of Paying Your Parking Fines
While parking tickets won’t cause your insurance premiums to rise, you will have to pay them before you can renew your vehicle’s registration. The same is true of all other outstanding tickets, including those that do affect your insurance. Thus, while parking tickets aren’t going to make your insurance go up, you still have to pay them in full to keep your vehicle on the road. Driving an unregistered vehicle is a more serious offence, and will likely result in premium increases.
If you have any questions about this process, refer to the official Service Alberta vehicle registration renewal policy.
Car Insurance Calgary: Trust Lane’s for Excellent Advice and Competitive Rates
At Lane’s Insurance, our primary concern is to make Alberta’s roads safer for everyone. We invite you to review your driving habits to see if you’re making any mistakes that could cause accidents or result in tickets that will trigger an increase in your vehicle insurance rates. Remember, too, that insurance companies treat parking lot accidents every bit as seriously as road accidents.
If you have any questions about traffic violations and how they may or may not affect your insurance, please contact us at Lane’s Insurance for personalized service.