It's not just your driving that influences your auto insurance. Here are five surprising things that can affect both your insurance premiums and your coverage.

Boating DUI

Drinking and boating is not only illegal, it has a direct impact on your auto insurance. If you're caught drinking and boating, that DUI will appear on your driving record and your premiums will be affected. People with DUI convictions pay considerably higher rates than drivers without.

Riding an ATV or snowmobile without Insurance

If you're taking an ATV or snowmobile out on a road, even crossing a road, you need to have insurance on that vehicle. If you are caught without insurance, that penalty will be reflected on your insurance history and will be treated the same way as driving a car without insurance, which holds serious consequences from a premiums perspective.

Administrative Lapse or Not Paying Child Support

If your driver's licence is suspended for more than 12 months due to a medical reason or another administrative lapse-not due to a driving offence conviction-your insurance provider is allowed to factor that into your risk assessment and your rates could increase as a result. These lapses include:

  • Non-renewal or expiry of a driver's licence due to a consumer's oversight
  • Temporary medical conditions
  • Unpaid parking tickets
  • Outstanding payments to the Family Responsibility Office
  • Outstanding payments to the Motor Vehicle Accident Claims Fund
  • Administrative Driver's Licence Suspension (ADLS). Typically this happens when your BAC is more than .08, you fail or refuse to give a breath, blood, oral fluid or urine sample when asked by police, you fail or refuse to perform a physical co-ordination test, or you fail to submit a drug evaluation. These situations result in an immediate 90-day suspension and are separate from any criminal charges.

If the administrative lapse is more than 12 months but less than 36 months, the insurer must submit actuarial evidence to the Financial Services Commission of Ontario justifying the proposed rate. If the administrative lapse is more than 36 months, your insurer needs no actuarial evidence to increase your rates. However, it must meet FSCO's statutory criteria for approval.

Cellphone Use

Perhaps less surprising than the others, if you get a ticket for using your cellphone while driving this could impact your premiums.

Depending on where you live, distracted driving penalties in Canada range from fines to demerit points. While demerit points do not actually affect your premiums, having a ticket on your record does. This could cause you to lose your conviction-free discount (usually around five to 10 per cent). If your distracted driving charge is coupled with another infraction your premiums could rise 20 per cent.

And if the charge is upgraded to dangerous or careless driving, you can say good-bye to your current premiums. Your rates could increase by 200 per cent.

See a rate increase? It's time to compare

Getting a ticket is often a good time to compare rates-especially if it's a first offence. Every insurer calculates their rates differently. If you've recently seen an increase in your premiums, compare rates today at Kanetix.ca to see if you could be saving money.

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