Guest Post: The Urban Myth of (Canadian) Car Insurance

So, to all you Canadians out there, reading my blog, my wonderful, yet frustrated significant other has written me an email that I’ve very cordially asked him if I can put up here.  He delights me with rants such as this quite often, and I find that they’re actually incredibly helpful to my understanding of structures and rules in our society.  Honestly, I myself would never go out and look all this information up.  And I figured a lot of others wouldn’t know this stuff as well, so.. here you go.  Car insurance broken down, Boyfriend-style!

Insurance claim in 3, 2, 1...

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One of the most annoying urban myths is that if you get a traffic ticket, it won’t affect your insurance if you don’t get any demerit points. That is not true.

The truth is as follows: The reason the demerit point system is in place is for the Ministry of Transportation to have a gauge of how safe of a driver you are. Once you accumulate enough points, they suspend your license. Basically, it’s a method to keep dangerous drivers off the road.

Insurance companies (in Ontario) however don’t give a crap about how many demerit points you have. What they care about is how many convictions you have, and what type those convictions are. Convictions are categorized into 3 types by insurance companies:

1. Minor Conviction… for example:

  • speeding 1km/h to 49km/h over the limit
  • not wearing seat belt
  • following too closely

2. Major Conviction… for example:

  • speeding in school zone
  • failing to report accident
  • driving without insurance

3. Serious Conviction… for example:

  • careless driving
  • impaired driving
  • failing to remain at accident scene

It’s obvious that it gets more serious, from “minor” to “serious”. Pretty much, if I get convicted of going 45km/h over the limit (4 demerit points), I’m less likely to get higher insurance rates than getting convicted 2 or 3 times, each time with something like 10 or 15 over (no demerit points).

There are a lot of other factors as well. Someone’s insurance may go up even after their first minor conviction. If you have a G2 (or G1), have very little experience, are under 25, have a penis, or haven’t been listed on a policy for long enough, chances are they’ll be less forgiving.

They find out about your convictions through what’s called your “abstract”. Your convictions remain on your abstract for three years. It basically mentions any convictions, suspensions, and when you got your license, which class, when you got the next class (ie. from G2 to G), and stuff like that.

Convictions stay on your abstract for 3 yearsSuspensions stay forever. So, if a drunk driver gets the “impaired driving” charge erased from his abstract, the fact that his license was suspended will be there for ever, and will have to pay a lot more premiums.

So basically your rates are a combination of the following:

1. Age, gender, experience, location, the car itself, whether you’ve been to driving school, etc.
2. The TYPE and NUMBER of convictions on your abstract.

It might not make sense, but it’s how the system works:

If I tailgate the crap out of someone, or do 89km/h in a 40 zone, I get a MINOR conviction, and I’ll most likely get away with it for the first, or even second time if I’m experienced enough. That kind of driving seems out of line. Now compare that with this: You barely rear-end someone, and damages are under $1000, no one’s hurt, your smiling. If a cop comes and makes a report, you get charged with careless driving. Careless driving is a SERIOUS conviction. If you have a G2, or don’t have much experience/haven’t been insured long enough, you might even get dropped by your insurance company. Then finding coverage by a “high risk” insurance company won’t be fun at all. If they somehow decide to keep you, you’ll likely have a 100% increase in your premiums.

A lot of time it may seem really bad, or seem not too bad. But they don’t care, they use the above guideline.

Finally: parking tickets do not affect your auto insurance. It is indeed a conviction, but not a moving violation. If you don’t pay a parking ticket though, you won’t be able to renew your license plate sticker until you clear all your debt, which is going to be the original parking ticket plus a $12-15 fee they add to it for the delay.

Moral of the story: The black girl from “Precious” totally should have won the Oscar. This is why I hate the Oscars.

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Hope that enlightened you all!

And seriously, she didn’t get an Oscar?! Oy vey with Hollywood, I say!

Oh! And, here’s something my boyfriend hates, and I know this for a FACT.


-Arina

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