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What Exactly Is the Deal with Demerit Points?

Nov. 10, 2021
3 mins
A driver holds a cellphone to hear ear with his shoulder and a coffee cup in one hand and the wheel of his car in the other

This article has been updated from a previous version.

There are three things that suck about traffic tickets: the fine, the impact the ticket has on your auto insurance rate, and the demerit points that can get tacked on to your driving record.

The first two are typically top of mind when a driver gets pulled over, while the latter is often misunderstood, especially as to how it affects your auto insurance rate.

Do demerit points affect your auto insurance premium?

In short, no. Demerit points do not affect your auto insurance rate. It's the ticket, and the severity of the ticket, that affects your premium.

Basically, demerit points are your province's way to keep tabs on drivers who repeatedly ignore the rules of the road. Demerit points are used to score your driving record and if you get enough of them, you run the risk of losing your licence. If your province suspends your licence because you have too many demerit points, this licence suspension will also affect the auto insurance rate you pay once it is reinstated.

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How many demerit points will result in a licence suspension?

Each province's rules vary somewhat and what follows is a summary for Alberta, Ontario, and Quebec. What is consistent across all three of these provinces, however, is that your licence will not be suspended without notice. You'll be sent a cautionary letter as you accumulate demerit points warning you that you're approaching the maximum number of points permitted.

Alberta demerit points

Type of driver's licence Licence suspended
Fully licensed drivers At 15 demerit points within a two-year period your licence will be suspended for one month.
Graduated driver's licence holders At eight demerit points within a two-year period your licence will be suspended for one month.

Ontario demerit points

Type of driver's licence Licence suspended
Fully licensed drivers At six demerit points, you will be sent a warning letter. At 15 demerit points your licence is suspended for sure for 30 days.
Graduated driver's licence holders At two to five points, you’ll receive a warning letter. At six demerit points, you'll receive a second letter. At nine demerit points your licence is suspended for 60 days.

Quebec demerit points

Type of driver's licence Licence suspended
Fully licensed drivers under the age of 23 At eight demerit points your licence will be suspended for a minimum of three months, up to 12 months.
Fully licensed drivers aged 23 or 24 At 12 demerit points your licence will be suspended for a minimum of three months, up to 12 months.
Full licensed drivers 25 or older At 15 demerit points your licence will be suspended for a minimum of three months, up to 12 months.
Holders of a learner's or probationary licence At four demerit points your licence will be suspended for a minimum of three months, up to 12 months.

Steer clear of high auto insurance premiums

Your driving record matters. It is one of the most influential factors in determining your insurance rate. Sure, there are others like where you live, your insurance history, and the type of car you drive, but your driving record and history is indicative of how you are when behind the wheel. Drive carefully and mind the rules of the road to keep your car insurance premium low by avoiding tickets in the first place.

Lesley Green

Lesley Green is a seasoned writer and editor. She previously worked at RATESDOTCA, sharing her expertise with the marketing team for nearly two decades. Lesley enjoys live theatre, travelling, curling and, depending on how well she's hitting the ball, golfing.

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