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How long does a driving infraction stay on your record?

How long does a driving infraction stay on your record?

While we all do our best to drive safely and obey the rules of the road, sometimes even the best of us can break the law. Whether it’s a stop sign you didn’t see, a sunny day that had you driving too fast, or a busy morning that had you rushing out the door without your wallet – and license – driving infractions can be committed by even the most seasoned drivers. If you have experienced that panicked moment of seeing police  lights flashing in your rear-view mirror, you might have thought to yourself, “What will this mean for my insurance premium?” 

Once you’ve paid your ticket for the driving infraction, there could still be financial consequences to consider. Generally, when you buy or renew your car insurance policy, the insurer will obtain a copy of your motor vehicle record, including any driving infractions. Clean drivers – those who have no driving infractions on their record – will be rewarded when it comes to calculating their car insurance premium. Drivers with only minor accidents or tickets will likely see a minimal increase to their premium, while drivers with multiple infractions could see a significant increase.

So how long does a driving infraction stay on your record in Ontario? How long can it affect your car insurance premium? Read on to find out.

How long does a speeding ticket stay on your record in Ontario?
Currently in Ontario, a Highway Traffic Act (HTA) conviction such as speeding will remain on your motor vehicle record for three years after the date of conviction – meaning the date you paid your ticket and accepted the infraction. As such, depending on the ticket and how fast you were driving, your insurance premium could see an increase for up to the next three years. Typically, the more speeding tickets you have on your record, the greater an impact they will have on your car insurance premium.

How long do demerit points stay on your record in Ontario? 
While there is no direct impact per se between demerit points and your insurance premium, a license suspension due to demerit point accumulation is a different story. Demerit points stay on your motor vehicle record for two years and accumulate with each driving infraction. It is important to note, however, that it is not the demerit points on your record that impact your car insurance premium, but the convictions that warranted the demerits in the first place. Remember, HTA convictions such as speeding will stay on your record for up to three years after the date of conviction, even after the demerit points accrued from the violation have been erased. 

Additionally, the more demerit points you have means the more driving infractions you have incurred. A driver who has been involved in multiple accidents, or who has received multiple tickets for driving infractions, is typically no longer considered eligible for the regular insurance market. At this point, your car insurance options become more limited and often results in you having to seek out car insurance from carriers that insure drivers with multiple accidents and tickets. This most often comes with a significantly higher insurance premium than regular car insurance.

How long do license suspensions stay on your record in Ontario?
If you accumulate between 9-14 demerit points, your license can be suspended. If you accumulate 15 demerit points, you will automatically lose your license. When this happens, license suspensions stay on your motor vehicle record for six years and will cause a substantial increase in your car insurance premium, as well as limit your eligibility with many insurance carriers.

How long does a car accident stay on your record in Ontario?
There are a few factors that determine how long a collision will affect your car insurance premium. The primary factor is determining who is at-fault. Even if no police offence is charged, your insurer will use the Fault Determination Rules,1 which are used by every insurance carrier, as a baseline to determine who ultimately caused the accident. Generally, if you’re found at-fault in an accident – either fully or partially – you will see an increase in your insurance premium at your next renewal date. The amount of time that the accident affects your premium for will be determined by your insurer, depending on variables such as where you live.

It pays to be a clean driver! In fact, if you have a clean driving record with no traffic violations within the last three years, you may be eligible for a discount on your car insurance premium. 

If you have a clean driving record, and are worried about a future at-fault accident or ticket increasing your car insurance premium, you should consider purchasing protection endorsements for accidents or tickets. These endorsements are offered by most insurance providers and can protect your clean driving record in the event that you incur a driving infraction. Contact an OTIP broker today at 1-833-615-9326 to find out more.

1.    Government of Ontario