Does a speed camera ticket affect insurance?

12 minute read Published on Nov 21, 2023 by BrokerLink Communications

Speed control camera on the road

If you recently got a speeding ticket in Ontario from a speed camera, then you might be wondering if and how it affects your car insurance policy. The truth is that car insurance in Ontario is impacted by a wide range of factors, and one of them is your driving record. To learn more about how speed camera tickets can influence your insurance premiums, keep reading.

What are speed cameras?

First, let’s explain what speed cameras, or photo radar cameras, are. These cameras are placed all over neighbourhoods and are designed to catch drivers in the act of speeding. They are often found in higher concentrations around schools, Community Safety Zones, or other locations with high pedestrian traffic and low speed limits. If you drive over the speed limit in one of these areas, the speed camera may go off, taking a photo of your car in the act.

The result? You may receive a speeding ticket in the mail. More specifically, the image and ticket will be reviewed by a local or provincial law enforcement agency and a copy of both will be sent to the registered owner of the vehicle. It’s also worth noting that a speed camera photo not only captures the speed at which you were travelling but also the date and time of the infraction, the licence plate number of the car, and the make and model of the car.

How much does a speed camera ticket cost?

The cost of a speed camera ticket varies depending on both the jurisdiction and the severity of the infraction. There are also multiple fees to account for when considering the overall cost of a speed camera ticket, because while there is the actual ticket fine, there are a couple of other expenses to be aware of, too. Thus, the cost of a speed camera ticket can be broken down into three parts:

The actual ticket fine

The fine incurred depends on the number of kilometres over the speed limit you were driving, as well as what area you were speeding in. For example, if you are caught speeding in a Community Safety Zone, the fine will be greater. Check the regional speeding penalties in your area to find out exactly how much you will pay according to how fast and where you were driving. As an example, in Ontario, drivers pay the following:

  • 1-19 km/h over the speed limit = $5.00 per kilometre
  • 20-29 km/h over the speed limit = $7.50 per kilometre
  • 30-39 km/h over the speed limit = $12.00 per kilometre
  • 50km/h or more over the speed limit = Settled in court
  • Using the above information, if the speed limit was 40 km/h and you were going 58 km/h, the ticket will cost $90.00 (18km/h multiplied by $5.00 per kilometre)

The victim surcharge fee/victim fine surcharge

This amount will also vary and is based on the amount of your actual ticket fine. The victim surcharge fee is regulated by the provincial government and is tacked on to all provincial offences, with the exception of parking tickets. The money raised is then directed to the victims' justice fund account, which is used to provide services to victims of crime. In Ontario, a victim fine surcharges are assigned based on your speed ticket fine:

  • $0-$50 speeding ticket fine = $10 victim surcharge fine
  • $51-$75 speeding ticket fine = $15 victim surcharge fine
  • $76-$100 speeding ticket fine = $20 victim surcharge fine
  • $101-$150 speeding ticket fine = $25 victim surcharge fine
  • $151-$200 speeding ticket fine = $35 victim surcharge fine
  • $201-$250 speeding ticket fine = $50 victim surcharge fine
  • $251-$300 speeding ticket fine = $60 victim surcharge fine
  • $301-$350 speeding ticket fine = $75 victim surcharge fine
  • $351-$400 speeding ticket fine = $85 victim surcharge fine
  • $401-$450 speeding ticket fine = $95 victim surcharge fine
  • $451-$500 speeding ticket fine = $110 victim surcharge fine
  • $501-$1000 speeding ticket fine = $125 victim surcharge fine
  • Over $1000 speeding ticket fine = 25% of speeding ticket fine

The court fee

A standard court fee applies to all speed camera tickets issued. The amount for this is determined provincially. In Ontario, court costs amount to $5.00 per ticket.

Do speed camera tickets impact car insurance?

By now you probably know that accidents affect car insurance rates in Ontario. Thus, you may be wondering whether speeding tickets do the same. The reality is that speeding tickets affect insurance. However, only regular speeding tickets do this, not speed camera tickets. Why? The reason is that photo radar cameras cannot see who was driving the car at the time of the infraction. Since they cannot prove who was driving the car, they are unable to influence your car insurance rates. As a result, the driver of the vehicle will not receive any demerit points if they get a speed camera ticket. As mentioned above, the ticket will automatically be issued to the registered owner of the car, who will be identified using the car’s licence plate number.

Regardless of who was driving the car at the time of the ticket, it is the responsibility of the vehicle’s owner to pay the ticket. But again, since the ticket is not issued to a specific driver but only to the registered vehicle, the offence cannot legally appear on your driving record, and as such, will not impact how much you pay for car insurance. That said, the best course of action - for both your wallet and your insurance premium - is to obey the speed limit at all times.

What should I do after receiving a speed camera ticket in the mail?

If you receive a photo radar speed ticket in the mail, you typically have 15 days to take one of the following courses of action: pay the fine, request a trial to plead not guilty, or request a trial to plead guilty but ask for an extension to pay.

Please note that although you are within your rights to fight a speeding camera ticket, most legal professionals will tell you that there isn’t a real point in doing so. This is mainly because speed camera tickets do not affect your driving record or insurance policy, nor do they result in demerit points. As a result, the cost of hiring a lawyer to represent you in court would likely cost more than the ticket itself.

Finally, if you decide to go with a fourth option, which is not to pay the fine or respond to the ticket in any way, your driver’s licence may be suspended the next time it is up for renewal. What happens is that the fine will be added to your vehicle licence, which means the next time you have to renew your licence plate, you will need to pay the fine in order to do so. If you refuse to pay the fine, then you will not be able to renew your driver’s licence, and without a licence, you will not be able to legally drive in Ontario.

Speed camera tickets vs. speeding tickets

Now that you know that your no-fault insurance will not be affected if you get a speed camera ticket, let’s quickly dive into the differences between speed camera tickets and speeding tickets. The reality is that although a speed camera ticket won’t drive up your premium, a regular speeding ticket can and likely will:

Speed camera tickets

Speed camera tickets are issued after a photo of your vehicle speeding is captured. The information captured includes the speed at which you were travelling, as well as the location, date, time, and make and model of the car. Since there is no physical interaction with a law enforcement officer, the ticket is automatically issued to the registered owner of the vehicle, based on the licence plate number of the car. Given this, the speeding ticket you receive from a speed camera does not go on your driving record and therefore does not impact your insurance premium. The fee you must pay is inclusive not only of the ticket fine you receive which is based on the speed you were travelling, but also the victim surcharge fee and court fee you are required to pay.

Regular speeding tickets

In contrast, regular speeding tickets are issued in person by a law enforcement officer who witnesses you speeding and pulls you over for it. The ticket is issued to the specific person driving the vehicle at the time of the infraction, who may or may not be the registered owner of the vehicle. A speed gun may be used by the law enforcement officer to determine the speed at which the car was travelling when it was pulled over. These types of speeding tickets will go on your driving record and can remain there for a period of up to three years.

Since they affect your driving record, they will also influence your car insurance premiums. Although one speeding ticket alone may not have a huge impact on your premium, if you continue to rack up speeding tickets or other infractions, you could end up with a much higher premium or even a cancelled policy. Fines for regular speed tickets are similar to those for speed camera tickets, encompassing the fine itself, the victim surcharge fee, and the court fees. However, in Ontario, regular speeding tickets also result in demerit points.

Tips to lower your premium after getting a speeding ticket

From speeding tickets to common car accidents, there are many reasons that your premium may go up after a driving incident. Thankfully, there are ways that you can cut insurance costs, even if your rates initially get more expensive following a ticket. Keep reading to discover our top tips to save money on car insurance:

Seek advice from a BrokerLink insurance advisor

First, we recommend enlisting the help of a BrokerLink insurance advisor. All BrokerLink insurance advisors are fully licensed, and with years of experience under their belts, you can bet that they know their stuff. This means that not only can they help you find great coverage at a competitive rate but they can give you all kinds of tips and advice to help you save as much money as possible.

Enrol in a defensive driving program

Enrolling in a defensive driving program in your province is another way to save money. Insurance companies like to reward drivers who take extra steps to improve their driving skills, so if you can show proof that you completed a driver’s education or defensive driving course, you may be eligible for a discount.

Install a telematics device in your car

Installing a telematics device in your car will not only lead to cheaper insurance rates but it can help you improve your driving habits. Telematics discounts work by tracking your driving habits, like your steering, braking, and accelerating. The better your habits, the lower your premium will be. So if you got a speeding ticket but are committed to following traffic laws moving forward, a telematics device could be a great option. This way, you will be rewarded for driving the speed limit and driving safely in the future.

Drive less

If you want to significantly lower your car insurance premium, all you have to do is drive less. Low mileage car insurance is much cheaper than regular car insurance. However, you have to qualify for it, which means driving below a certain threshold of kilometres each year. If you aren’t sure how many kilometres you drive in a year, contact BrokerLink or check out this article on how to calculate mileage. If you are near the threshold but just over it, take extra steps to minimize your time on the road, such as by taking public transit, carpooling, or walking instead of driving places.

Buy multiple car insurance policies or bundle different policies

Bundling insurance policies can save you a lot of money. However, this savings strategy will only make sense for you if you need more than one insurance product. For example, if you have two cars in your household and need insurance for each of them, or you need to buy home insurance or recreational vehicle insurance on top of regular car insurance, bundling is for you.

Install winter tires on your car

Lower your premium almost instantly by installing winter tires on your car. Many insurance companies offer automatic discounts to those who add snow tires to their car, so long as they meet the requirements.

Purchase a safe car or a hybrid or electric car

The type of car you drive matters when it comes to your insurance rates. If you are considering buying a new car and you want to keep insurance costs low, prioritize purchasing one with a high safety rating or a hybrid or electric engine. Many insurance companies now offer discounts to drivers of environmentally friendly cars. Meanwhile, insurance premiums are also lower for cars that have a reputation for being safe and reliable. For example, if your new car has lots of state-of-the-art safety features or an anti-theft device, you are more likely to have a cheaper premium.

Report a car accident

If you get into a car accident but fail to report it, it could end up on your driving record. Why? In Ontario, reporting a car accident isn’t optional in certain circumstances. Learn in what situations you have to report a car accident in Ontario to avoid the fines or penalties associated with not doing so.

Contact BrokerLink to learn more about how speed cameras can affect car insurance in Canada

If you still have questions about how speed camera tickets work or how they may impact your auto insurance premium, contact BrokerLink today. Any one of our experienced and licensed insurance advisors would be pleased to explain how speeding tickets work in Ontario and beyond. They can also inform you of what types of tickets will impact your car insurance rates, as well as provide advice on how to keep those rates low. They can also answer other questions relating to calling your insurance company after a minor car accident or insurance cover for towing.

Of course, as a full-service insurance brokerage and one of the most reputable in Canada, BrokerLink can also help you shop around and find a great car insurance policy that meets your needs and budget. Reach out to us today to learn more about our unbeatable car insurance services and to request a free quote from one of our brokers. You can also use the online quote tool on our website to receive a complimentary estimate from the comfort of your own home in minutes.

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FAQs on speed camera tickets and car insurance

Do you get demerit points from speed camera tickets?

No. Speed camera tickets do not result in demerit points. They also do not go on your driving record, which is why your insurance rates will not be impacted by a speed camera ticket. That said, regular speeding tickets will result in demerit points and, therefore, can result in a higher auto insurance premium.

Do speed camera tickets go on your driving record?

No. Speed camera tickets do not go on your driving record. This is due to the fact that the photos captured do not identify the driver, and so it wouldn’t be fair to have the ticket go on your driving record in case someone else was driving your vehicle at the time of the infraction. In contrast, getting pulled over by a law enforcement officer in person for speeding will go on your driving record since they will be able to identify you.

What happens if I get a speed camera ticket while driving a rental car?

If you get a speed camera ticket while driving a rental car, the ticket will be mailed to the rental car company since the vehicle is registered in their name. However, that doesn't mean that you won’t be on the hook for the ticket. Rather, the rental car company will then send you the speed camera ticket and you will be required to pay for any fees or fines.

How long do speeding tickets stay on your driving record?

In Ontario, speeding tickets remain on a driver’s record for a period of three years. However, keep in mind that this only applies to regular speeding tickets issued in person. Speed camera tickets do not go on your record.

Is there a maximum number of speed camera tickets a driver can get?

No. There is no maximum number of speed camera tickets a driver can get. If you receive a photo radar ticket in the mail, make sure to pay it as quickly as possible. If you fail to pay your ticket, you may have trouble renewing your licence plate sticker, which will prevent you from driving.

If you have any questions, contact one of our local branches.