Do you know what your personal driving record contains or how to get a copy of it? Most people don't. But doing so can be a good idea.
Think of it in a similar way to your credit history — your driving history starts from the day you first get behind the wheel and follows you throughout your life as a driver. This important document can have an impact on your insurance premium, so it's worthwhile to understand what your driving history contains so that there are no surprises.
Why might it be worthwhile to get a copy of my driving record?
It’s a good idea to order a copy of your official driving history and keep it handy if you have had any accidents, speeding tickets or other concerns, but not everyone will need one. In general, you may want to obtain a copy of your driver’s record if:
- You’re applying for a job, especially one that involves driving.
- You are shopping for auto insurance and want to understand why you're being quoted a particular rate, or to verify any information the insurance provider is requesting.
- You just want to know what’s on your record for peace of mind, so there are no surprises.
How do I get a copy of my driving record in Ontario?
In Ontario, there are many specific types of driving record reports you can order. These reports are either certified or uncertified. It costs slightly more to get a certified version.
What’s the difference between the two? A certified version includes an embossed seal from the Ministry of Transportation, which is usually required for legal purposes. An uncertified version contains the same information as a certified draft, but without the embossed seal. Make sure you know in advance which type you need to provide to the company that is requesting it.
As of October 2021, most three- and five-year reports cost $12 for the uncertified version and $18 for a certified version. You can also order a complete driver's record, also known as the Freedom of Information driver's record, which costs $48 or $54, depending on whether you want the record certified or not. A complete record includes driver identification info, demerit totals, Highway Traffic Act and Criminal Code of Canada convictions for as far back as the records go, as well as residential addresses, collisions, driver's licence replacements and renewals.
These documents are available to order and purchase online or in-person through ServiceOntario.
What information is included in my Ontario driving record?
The report most requested and accessed is the three-year driver record. This record includes any:
- Demerit points
- Active fines, as well as Highway Traffic Act and Criminal Code of Canada convictions within the last three years
- Driver identification details, such as your sex, height, date of birth, as well as your licence class, status, and expiration date
Demerit points will not actually impact your insurance rate whereas convictions will have a negative impact and cause your rate to be higher.
How insurance companies use your driving record when setting rates
Typically, insurance companies are most interested in your driver’s licence history and either your three- or five-year driver record in order to see any positive things, like any driver’s training courses you may have taken, as well as any negatives, such as licence suspensions, convictions, and traffic tickets.
This information can positively or negatively affect the rate they will offer you, depending on what is listed in these documents. Contrary to popular belief, your driving record (also known as an “abstract” in some provinces) doesn’t show any collisions you may have had (though it’s important for you to also disclose these to your insurance provider).
Remember, if you are at all concerned about your current insurance rate, start by talking with your broker. But if you’d like another tool in your arsenal before you start comparing car insurance quotes in Ontario, having your driving record in front of you when you start the conversation may give you extra peace of mind.
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