A common misconception about demerit points is that they automatically increase your insurance rates. It’s the conviction — being found guilty of an offense associated with demerit points — that leads to increased insurance rates.
When re-setting your car insurance premium — the money you pay every month to be insured — after you’re given demerit points by the Ontario Ministry of Transportation, three factors will determine the rate hike:
Was it a minor conviction? If you went online with Onlia for your car insurance, your first minor conviction will not affect your car insurance premiums at all (and neither will your first little car accident because of our Accident Forgiveness policy). For your second minor conviction, you can expect to pay upwards of 20% more for your car insurance and 20% more with every additional minor conviction.
Was it a major conviction? Most of these have to do with driving dangerously in areas with a high volume of children (like near a school). If convicted of something like this, your premiums will most likely rise by at least a quarter.
Was it a serious or criminal conviction? These will involve very high speeds or alcohol (and usually both), and your rates will most likely double, assuming you get to keep your licence.
What about tickets from a speed camera? You’ll pay a fine, but you will not earn demerit points because the camera will have no way of knowing who was driving. Without this, the offence can’t be added to a driver’s history.
Penalties for demerit points
The consequences for gaining demerit points depend on how many you have added to your driving record.
- 6 to 8 points: You will be sent a warning letter.
- 9 to 14 points: You will be sent a second warning letter encouraging you to improve your driving behaviour.
- 15+ points: Your licence will be suspended for 30 days. When your licence is suspended, you will get a letter from the Ministry of Transportation. It will tell you the date your suspension takes effect and that you need to surrender your licence. If you do not surrender your licence, you can lose your licence for up to two years.
3 traffic tickets to avoid if you don’t want your insurance rates to spike
While you should be steering clear of all tickets, these would be especially wise to avoid:
- DUI: This stands for driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs. It’s the maximum amount of demerit points and counts as a criminal conviction.
- Distracted driving: This is an easy one to avoid and a smart one to avoid because it’s 3 points and close to $500 in fines. So put your phone away.
- Careless driving: If you stay within the speed limit and focus on the road, you should be able to avoid this one. If you don’t, you’re looking at six demerit points.