What Exactly Is the Deal with Demerit Points?

The lowdown on how demerit points work and how they affect your auto insurance premiums.

There are three things that suck about traffic tickets: the fine, the affect the ticket it has on your auto insurance rate, and the demerit points tacked on to your driving record. The first two are typically top of mind when a driver gets pulled over, while the latter is often misunderstood, especially as to how it affects your auto insurance rates.

Do Demerit Points Affect Your Auto Insurance Premiums?

In short, no. Demerit points do not affect your auto insurance rates. It's the ticket, and the severity of the ticket, that affects your premiums.

Basically, demerit points are your province's way to keep tabs on drivers who repeatedly ignore the rules of the road. Demerit points are used to score your driving record and if you get enough of them you run the risk of losing your licence. If your province suspends your licence because you have too many demerit points, this licence suspension will also affect the auto insurance rate you pay once it is reinstated.

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How Many Demerit Points Will Result in a Licence Suspension?

Each province's rules vary somewhat and what follows is a summary for Alberta, Ontario, and Quebec. What is consistent across all three of these provinces, however, is that your licence will not be suspended without notice. You'll be sent a cautionary letter as you accumulate demerit points warning you that you're approaching the maximum number of points permitted.

Alberta Demerit Points

Type of Driver's Licence Licence Suspended
Fully licensed drivers At 15 demerit points your licence will be suspended for one month.
Graduated Driver's Licence holders At 8 demerit points your licence will be suspended for one month.

Ontario Demerit Points

Type of Driver's Licence Licence Suspended
Fully licensed drivers At 9 demerit points, you'll have to attend a meeting explaining why your licence should not be suspended. At 15 demerit points your licence is suspended for sure for 30 days.
Graduated Driver's Licence holders At 6 demerit points, you'll have to attend a meeting explaining why your licence should not be suspended. At 9 demerit points your licence is suspended for sure for 30 days.

Quebec Demerit Points

Type of Driver's Licence Licence Suspended
Fully licensed drivers under the age of 23 At 8 demerit points your licence will be suspended for a minimum of three months.
Fully licensed drivers aged 23 or 24 At 12 demerit points your licence will be suspended for a minimum of three months.
Full licensed drivers 25 or older At 15 demerit points your licence will be suspended for a minimum of three months.
Holders of a learner's or probationary licence At 4 demerit points your licence will be suspended for a minimum of three months.

Steer Clear of High Auto Insurance Premiums

Your driving record matters. It is one of the most influential factors in determining your insurance rate. Sure, there are others like where you live, your insurance history, and the type of car you drive but your driving record and history is indicative of how you are when behind the wheel. Drive carefully and mind the rules of the road to keep your car insurance premiums low by avoiding tickets in the first place.

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