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How Does a Seatbelt Infraction Affect Car Insurance Premiums?

May 10, 2021
3 mins
A family smiles while seated in a crossover vehicle

Seatbelt use in Canada is high. It's been estimated that more than 95% of us buckle up. But there are still 5% who don't regularly use a seatbelt representing almost 2 million Canadians. In addition to taking an unnecessary risk, those 2 million Canadians may also face higher car insurance premiums if convicted of the infraction.

Police across Canada still consider not wearing a seatbelt one of the "Big Four Killers" on the road along with aggressive driving, driving impaired, and distracted driving. And according to data from Transport Canada, 29.4% of auto-related fatalities and 10.8% of serious injuries to drivers were the result of people not using a seatbelt. The results were worse for passengers who didn’t buckle up: 32.1% of fatalities and 18.4% of serious injuries to passengers were because they did not wear a seatbelt.

All Canadian provinces have seatbelt enforcement laws, which allows a police officer to ticket any driver or passenger in a vehicle who is not wearing a seatbelt. The fines for not wearing a seatbelt range from approximately $75 to $300 depending on which province or territory you’re in if you receive a ticket.

Additional data from Transport Canada also noted some significant regional variations across the country concerning seatbelt use. The data shows residents of British Columbia are most likely to wear a seatbelt, whereas Yukon residents are the least likely to buckle up:

Who doesn't buckle up?

In addition to regional variations, Transport Canada also finds:

  • Passengers and drivers of pickup trucks are less likely to use their seatbelt than those in cars, minivans and SUVs; the rate of seatbelt use by occupants in pickups is only 92% compared to the national average of 95.3%.
  • Back seat passengers are less likely to buckle up than those in front. The rate of seatbelt use was much lower among back seat passengers at 89.2%, compared to front seat passengers at 95.5%.
  • Female drivers are more likely to wear their seatbelt at 96% over male drivers at 94.3%.
  • Drivers in rural areas had a lower seatbelt use rate at 92% versus 95.8% in urban areas.
  • Seatbelt use generally increases as drivers age. Perhaps we learn as we get older that seatbelts really do exist for a reason: to keep us safe.
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How does not buckling up affect your car insurance premium?

Seatbelts save lives and wearing one is also the law. What would happen to your car insurance rate if you got a ticket for not wearing your seatbelt? The answer is it depends on your insurance provider since each insurer views a seatbelt infraction differently. One minor conviction such as a seatbelt infraction may not increase your rate. However, if you had a conviction-free discount of 5% to 10%, you would likely lose that discount, and it will appear as though there was a rate increase.

Liam Lahey

Liam Lahey is a versatile marketer with experience as a staff and freelance writer for many business and technology publications and newspapers. He previously worked as the editor and media spokesperson for RATESDOTCA, handling home, auto, and travel insurance topics.

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