Insurance is an unusual purchase. It’s a product we buy with the hope that it’s never used. Because of this, it’s quite a natural desire for a motorist to pay as little as possible. When tickets and accidents happen, many circumstances mean that car insurance premiums go up for that driver. While pinpointing exactly how much in advance is impossible, there are general situations where insurance likely increases. We look at a few of those here, as well as when the effects may expire.
Drivers with clean records going into the term of an insurance policy may have a little grace period after receiving a ticket, if the infraction is relatively minor. The letter of the law, when it comes to any moving offense or accident is that the insurance company is notified promptly.
When purchasing car insurance, a driver self-declares their history of tickets and insurance claims. An insurance company may or may not issue the policy without checking further into your history. There’s no way of knowing. The safest assumption is that they will and any misrepresentation by the driver is caught.
If a driver gets caught after an incident, their insurer may have the right to deny claims or coverage as well as cancelling the policy. This is true whenever a motorist omits or falsifies information related to auto insurance.
In practice, though, minor offenses, such as speeding tickets a few km/h over the limit, won’t be held against the driver when discovered, usually at renewal. These will, however, count against the driver in risk determination. And that means more expensive insurance. A speeding ticket or other violation of this type stays on insurance records for three years, in most cases.
Accidents and Fender Benders
The effect of a collision on insurance pricing comes down to fault, and not the sort of fault mentioned in “no fault” insurance programs.
Let’s take Ontario as an example, as their system is like most in the country. When an accident occurs, two investigations may occur. Police can inspect the collision and determine if a driver violated traffic laws. The second is the investigation by an insurance adjuster. Under Ontario’s system, the adjuster compares the collision to about 40 standard accident scenarios. The scenario closest to the actual accident circumstances decides who is at fault and how much. Any driver assigned more than 25 percent responsibility for the accident sees an increase in premiums upon renewal.
While this seems arbitrary, it fits with other aspects of the province’s insurance system. Drivers seeing less than 25 percent fault should not see an increase. When a motorist has zero percent fault, not only do they not see insurance increases, but they will not pay deductibles for collision claims.
Even with tickets or previous claims on your record, not all insurance companies charge the same. Use Quote Finder’s car insurance calculator to locate the lowest rates, matched to your individual situation. You could save hundreds. See the drop-down box at the top of the page to give it a try.