Major or Minor Conviction: What’s the Difference?

A part of what goes into determining your auto insurance rate is your driving record, including any tickets you may have received. There are a variety of traffic tickets, and some have more influence on your premiums than others. For example, if you have what's commonly called a "minor" ticket on your record, you may not be faced with a higher premium. But if you have a couple of minor or a "major" traffic ticket convictions, your premiums will likely rise.

The following are some examples of what is typically considered a minor ticket and major ticket. However, keep in mind that sometimes how a ticket is classified may vary by province or insurer.

Minor traffic convictions:

  • Speeding up to 45km/h over the posted speed limit (Note: The cut-off may vary)
  • Following too closely
  • Failing to signal before a turn or lane change
  • Failing to obey a stop sign
  • Failing to wear a seat belt
  • Failing to produce your driver's licence or proof of insurance

Major traffic convictions:

  • Distracted driving
  • Failing to report an accident
  • Improper passing of a school bus
  • Speeding in a school zone
  • Speeding in a construction zone
  • Driving without insurance
  • Speeding 50km/h over the posted limit (Note: The cut-off may vary)

In addition to minor and major tickets, there's another classification of ticket type: criminal convictions. These traffic violations take into account serious convictions and often come with the threat of a licence suspension or even jail time:

  • Racing
  • Careless or dangerous driving
  • Impaired driving
  • Failure to remain at the scene of an accident
  • Failure to stop for a police officer
  • Failure or refusal to take a breath test
  • Criminal negligence committed in the operation or use of a motor vehicle
  • Manslaughter committed while operating a motor vehicle

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How Long Do Traffic Ticket Convictions Affect Your Auto Insurance Rate?

In general, traffic ticket convictions will affect your rate for three years. However, if your ticket (or tickets) have resulted in a licence suspension, it is usually is factored into your premiums for six years.

Parking tickets, by the way, do not affect your auto insurance rates. It's a common and popular auto insurance myth that often leads drivers astray.

Tickets and Your Auto Insurance Quotes: Honesty Is the Best Policy

No matter what type of ticket you have, don't fudge the information you enter when comparing auto insurance quotes. Insurance companies will most certainly check the driving records of all people applying for coverage. If they find that you misrepresented any information on your application, the insurance company can cancel your policy for "non-disclosure". This type of cancellation registers as a black mark on your insurance record and can mean you will be paying higher insurance rates for many years to come.

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