How Bad Driving Affects Insurance Rates

By Justin Bell

The worst potential consequences of bad driving are well known: collisions, and physical harm to drivers, passengers and others. Secondary are hits to your driving record (a.k.a. demerits) and potential loss of your licence.

But there’s also a financial toll. That’s because traffic violations and at-fault claims push up your insurance premiums. Three types of traffic violations impact your driving record, and therefore your rates.

Things like speeding, stunting or failure to stop at a stop sign. Insurance companies may forgive one conviction, but the second can result in a 25 percent increase (rate increases vary by company).

Infractions such as speeding in a school zone or failing to stop for a peace officer. These can result in increases of 25 percent after one conviction; up to 100 percent for subsequent convictions.

Examples include driving impaired by drugs or alcohol, and driving without a licence. Premiums can increase from 60 to 300 percent for just one conviction.
If you’re at fault in a collision, your insurance premium will generally go up, too—regardless of whether you’re convicted of anything under the Traffic Safety Act. An at- fault claim also affects your driving record, which is used to determine your rate.

Remember: Collectively, policyholders pay for the impact of bad driving, because insurance rates increase overall when the number of claims increases. So it’s in every- one’s interest—financial and otherwise—to drive safely.

We can help you improve your driving skills or improve your driving record. Sign up for a two-part AMA refresher course, where you’ll learn to recognize aggressive driving behaviours—like cutting off other drivers or making rude gestures—and the hazards associated with aggressive driving. (Online and classroom courses available.)

Shave off up to three demerits from your driving record after successful completion of the Proactive Defensive Driver course, where you’ll develop safe driving strategies.

Driving too fast? Pay your traffic fines online or at your nearest AMA centre.