How a Traffic Ticket Will Affect Your Insurance Rates in BC

It is more important than ever to dispute your traffic ticket. Starting June 10, 2019, any traffic ticket you get can have a significant impact on your insurance rates and your ability to continue driving.

ICBC recently announced changes to the mandatory insurance program, which would see drivers who have a traffic ticket receive an increase in their insurance rates. The increased insurance rates would start September 1, 2019.

But what does ICBC really mean when it comes to these increased insurance rates? And what traffic tickets will actually cause your insurances rates to go up? This blog post explains that a little more in-depth.

Any traffic ticket that goes on your driving record after June 10, 2019 will have the potential to increase your ICBC insurance rates. ICBC has broken down traffic tickets into two types of tickets: high risk tickets and regular traffic tickets.

High risk tickets will include any of the following:

For impaired driving incidents, this includes any 3-day prohibition from driving, 7-day prohibition from driving, 30-day prohibition from driving, or 90-day Immediate Roadside Prohibition or Administrative Driving Prohibition. However, it also includes the 24-Hour Prohibition from driving, which is a huge problem. For alcohol, 24-hour prohibitions have only a limited dispute mechanism. For drugs, 24-hour driving prohibitions are very difficult to dispute.

In addition to roadside alcohol- or drug-impaired driving suspensions, the increased insurance rates for impaired driving incidents will also include any individuals who have criminal convictions for impaired driving, refusing to provide a breath sample, you will be required to pay increased insurance rates once your mandatory driving prohibition is over.

Criminal Code driving convictions that will trigger increased insurance rates include driving while prohibited, driving while disqualified, dangerous driving, hit and run offences, or flight from police. In any of those circumstances, your insurance rates will go up.

Electronic device tickets – any ticket for using an electronic device while driving – will cause you to have automatic insurance rate increases. Same goes for excessive speeding tickets. The worst part about these, however, is the fact that in addition to paying for your increased insurance as a result of the tickets, you will also have to pay the annual Driver Risk Premium. This is over $320 per year, for three years, just for one ticket.

And remember that using an electronic device while driving is not as simple as just picking up the phone and talking on it. There is a whole host of conduct that is not dangerous or malicious that could get you a distracted driving ticket.

That’s where the absurdity of these insurance rate increases really starts to show. While driving at 40 kilometres over the speed limit can be objectively dangerous, simply glancing at the screen of your phone while stopped at a red light is not. Having your phone loose in the cup holder while you are using the GPS does not pose any more risk to public safety than having it mounted does. But ICBC is treating all cell phone offences the same for the purposes of charging you more money for your insurance.

That is nonsense. If they are going to adjust people’s rates, they should be doing it according to the actual risk they pose and not some arbitrary indicator based on an overbroad law.

And then there are all the other tickets that can cause your insurance rates to go up. ICBC has not released a full list of them, but they are calling these tickets “minor offences.” So far, we know they include offences like failing to wear a seatbelt, speeding, and crossing a solid line. My deep, dark, and likely suspicion is that it is any ticket short of a high risk offence.

However, thankfully, your insurance rates will not go up if you only get one minor offence ticket. Instead, you will require two minor offence tickets to see an increased insurance premium.

But this can mean a combination of charges on one ticket. For example, if you are stopped for speeding and the police discover that you are also not wearing your seatbelt, your insurance rates will go up. If you are stopped for not signalling a lane change and you cross a solid line while doing so, your insurance rates will go up. If you make a left turn against a “no left turn 3pm to 6pm” sign at 3:01 p.m. and also fair to signal while you do it, your insurance rates will go up.

In all of these examples, the driver had one instance of bad driving. The bad driving was on the low end of the scale, and typically involved behaviour that we see from most drivers, every day.

Are increased insurance rates really a deterrent when the driving behaviour that will lead to them is driving behaviour that affects most British Columbians? Or is this just a way for the government to get more of your money fro a simple moving violation? I am cynical, it’s true, but I think it is the latter.

Oh, and the most disturbing part of all of this is that the government has not been able to tell anyone just how much their insurance will be affected by these tickets. For all we know, insurances rates may go up hundreds or thousands of dollars a year for a single ticket. It would be nice if ICBC would release this information but apparently they are not able to calculate the amount.

That, to me, seems fishy.

Until we really have certainty about how much your insurance will go up if you get a ticket, the best thing you can do is dispute every ticket you get in court. I have a high success rate in disputing traffic tickets and can happily assist you in disputing your ticket and saving you money on your insurance in the future.

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