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Accumulating speeding tickets can impact the rates you pay for car insurance.David Lentz/Getty Images/iStockphoto

I just got a speeding ticket for going 20 km/h over the limit, even though other people on the highway were going a lot faster. Will it affect my insurance rates?

If you get caught feeling the need for speed, your wallet will take a hit.

In provinces with privately-run insurance, that ticket could cost you anywhere from 5- to 100-per-cent more, but it depends on how many tickets you’ve had in the past three years.

“From an insurance company’s perspective, if you’re displaying risky behaviour, which is reflected in the number of tickets you have, you’re at a higher risk of being in a collision,” says Anne Marie Thomas, senior manager of partner relationships at Insurance Hotline, a rate-comparison site.

So how much could that ticket cost you?

Typically, an insurance company won’t increase your rate if you only have one ticket for going less than 15 km/h over the limit, Thomas says.

But your first ticket will cost you any discounts you had for being a conviction-free driver. Typically, those discounts are 5 to 10 per cent.

“You get one speeding ticket, and it’s bye-bye, discount,” Thomas says. “It will be gone when you renew, so it will look like you had an increase to your rates.”

If you were going more than than 15 km/h over the limit for that first ticket, your premium would go up another 15 per cent.

With the rate hike and the lost discount, that ticket for going 20 km/h over the limit could potentially cost you 25 per cent more every month. If you were paying $200 a month before, for instance, you’d now be paying $250.

More tickets, more problems

That ticket will stay on your record for three years.

Your second speeding ticket could add another 15 per cent to your rates, even if it’s for going less than 15 km/h over the limit.

Insurance companies base your premium on risk factors, including how often your drive, your gender, where you live and your driving record.

Companies typically rate you based on how many convictions and at-fault collisions you’ve had in the past six years.

Once you get three or more convictions, your star rating will drop and you’ll pay more.

“If you get three tickets, you could be dropped to a four-star level [out of six stars], and you could see increases of 25 per cent or more,” Thomas says. “That’s multiple cases of minor tickets.” For example, let’s look at a fictional 35-year-old male driving a 2015 Honda Fit in Toronto.

If he’s had no tickets, the lowest rate he’d pay is $1,702 a year, or $144 a month, according to Kanetix, a rate-comparison site. With one ticket, that goes up to $1,878 a year. With two tickets, that’s $2,175. With three, it’s $2,727.

But with four or more, it’s $4,396 a year, or $321 a month.

For a newer driver or a pricier vehicle, those rates could be a lot higher, Thomas says. More serious tickets – going 50 km/h or more over the limit, for instance – could bring a 25-per-cent rate hike, or more, per ticket. If your star rating gets too low, your insurance company could drop you, and you’ll have to move to high-risk insurance. There, any additional tickets will hike up your rates dramatically.

“Your next ticket could be a 100-per-cent increase,” Thomas says. “It depends on the rules of the company.”

In Saskatchewan and Manitoba, which both have public insurance, minor speeding tickets can cost you discounts and lead to additional fees, depending on your driving history.

The best way to avoid these hikes, where ever you are? Slow down, Thomas says.

“If you’re going 100 km/h in an 80 km/h zone, you’re really not going to get there that much faster,” she says.

Have a driving question? Send it to globedrive@globeandmail.com. Canada’s a big place, so let us know where you are so we can find the answer for your city and province.

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