Demerit Points in Alberta: 9 Things You Absolutely Need To Know

demerit points alberta chart

Demerit points in Alberta are incurred on your driving record when you are convicted of a traffic offence. The following 4 important facts about demerit points in Alberta will help you better understand the regulations and consequences involved with receiving demerit points while in Alberta.

1. This chart listing Demerit Points in Alberta

As this demerits point chart shows, demerits range from two (2) to seven (7) points, depending on the seriousness of the offence.

2. How Long Do Demerit Points Stay on Your Record? (and When Do They Expire?)

Scratching your head, wondering “how long do demerits last in Alberta?” 

The short answer is, demerits last for 2 years on your driving record in Alberta. Demerit points in Alberta operate on a revolving basis; this means that demerit points do not last forever.

Demerit Points for Drivers with a Class 5 License

For drivers with a Class 5 license, license suspension will occur once 15 demerits have been accumulated over a two (2) year period. At eight (8) demerits, a written notice will be mailed to the driver as fair warning. 

Demerit Points for Drivers with a Class 7 License (GDL)

For Class 7, or GDL-licensed drivers, a  license suspension will occur once eight (8) demerits have been accumulated, and a written notice will be mailed to the driver once they have accumulated four (4) demerits.

3. How Long Will my License be Suspended?

For Class 5 drivers, the initial license suspension is one (1) month long.

If 15 demerits are accumulated for a second time within a one (1) year period, the license suspension will be three (3) months long.

If 15 demerits are accumulated for a third time within a two (2) year period, the license suspension will be six (6) months long and the driver may be required to stand before the Alberta Transportation Safety Board.

For Class 7/GDL drivers, the same time periods and suspension lengths apply, but they are invoked once the driver accumulates eight (8) demerits, not 15.

demerit points alberta

4. How Can I Reduce The Number of Demerit Points On My Record?

Many local Edmonton driving schools offer courses directing aimed at reducing demerits; however, not every course offered at Edmonton driving schools is approved, so be sure to check beforehand.

If a driver successfully completes an approved defensive driving course before they have accumulated eight (8) demerit points, they may earn a demerit point reduction of three (3) points.

5. Exactly How To Check Demerit Points in Alberta

If you’re wondering how to check demerit points in Alberta, a quick trip to your local Alberta Registry is all it takes. Simply request an updated driver’s abstract, which will cost around $25. At the registry, you will be able to choose between having a 3, 5 or 10 year demerit history report pulled.

Can You Check Demerit Points Online?

In Alberta, there is no way to check demerit points online. In order to check the number of demerit points on your record, you will have to visit your local registry.

Demerit Points can Affect Insurance Premiums

Demerit Points can Affect Insurance Premiums

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6. How Many Demerit Points Are Given for Distracted Driving in Alberta?

Distracted driving is no joke. Besides the risk of both injuries and fatalities, distracted driving also comes with a hefty price tag.

Drivers found to be driving distracted in Alberta will be faced with a minimum $287 fine, as well as three (3) demerit points.

Think texting is the only distraction while driving? Think again. 

Distracted driving demerits in Alberta can be handed out for:

    • Holding, viewing or manipulating a cell phone or other electronic device
    • Using a GPS system while driving
    • Reading or viewing any printed material
    • Writing, printing or sketching

    • Personal grooming or hygiene

Accumulating too many demerit points can affect your ability to drive, the cost of driving and the cost of insurance. Be street smart by keeping this crash course on demerits in Alberta in mind and keep those roads safe!

Related: Everything You Need to Know About Distracted Driving in Alberta [2019]

7. Demerits for Running a Stop Sign in Alberta

“You’re in a hurry to get things done, yeah, rushin’, rushin’ till…” you’re handed  a few demerit points for failing to stop at a stop sign. 

Failing to stop at both a stop sign, and an intersection where the lights are flashing red will earn drivers 3 demerit points in Alberta.

8. How Many Demerit Points Are Given for Speeding in Alberta?

In Alberta, the number of demerit points that are incurred depend on how fast, or how many kilometres over the speed limit, that you were driving at the time of the offence.

Here’s a quick look at the number of demerit points that are handed out for speeding in Alberta:

  • 2 demerit points for driving 15 km/h over 
  • 3 demerit points for driving 15 – 30 km/h over 
  • 4 demerit points for driving 30 – 50 km/h over 
  • 6 demerit points for driving more than 50 km/h over

In addition to these guidelines, there is also one last penalty for speeding and that is for driving at “an unreasonable rate.” This offence sees 4 demerit points being assigned. 

9. How Demerit Points Affect Your Auto Insurance

There’s no doubt that there is a relationship between demerit points and insurance. While we wish it weren’t true, demerit points do in fact affect insurance rates. 

While it isn’t exactly a black and white issue, drivers that have received demerits on their record will most likely have to deal with raised insurance rates. 

Handed a Few Demerit Points?

Handed a Few Demerit Points?

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In some cases, if the insurance company you are dealing with decides to consider you as a “tough” or “dangerous” client, they may decide that you will require high risk insurance. 

In this case, it really is best to speak with a professional insurance agent to explore all of your options and fully understand your situation. 

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6 Expert Winter Driving Tips for New Drivers

If there’s anyone in Canada who knows about snowy, icy, roads, it’s Albertans. Each winter, drivers in Edmonton are presented with challenging conditions and when it comes to new and less experienced drivers, a few winter driving tips are sure to help.

1.Three Point Check Before The Winter Months

Ensuring your vehicle is ready for the more challenging snowy and icy driving conditions ahead is a key component of safe winter driving. Be sure to check these 3 things on your vehicle before you hit the road this winter:

  • Check your vehicle’s wiper blades to ensure they are streak-free and provide an unobstructed view of the road
  • Have your brakes tested to ensure they provide firm braking capabilities
  • Check your tire tread to ensure they are in good form. Pro Tip: insert a nickel in the tire tread. If you are able to see the top of the Queen’s crown, the tread is insufficient.

2. Slow And Steady Wins The Race

Expect to experience slower travel speeds, congested roadways and collision delays, especially with first snowfalls.  Give yourself extra time to get to your destination.

3. Fuel Up

Rollin’ on empty? Think again. Keeping your gas tank at least half full will prevent gas line freeze-ups.

4. Testing, Testing, 1, 2, 3

Not sure how a recent snow or rainfall has affected driving conditions? Before leaving your block, test your brake’s traction by braking suddenly. This will give you an  idea of how your vehicle will handle. Of course, be sure to check that there are no vehicles behind you before suddenly braking.

Remember, accidents raise auto insurance rates so be mindful behind the wheel.

5. Danger Zone

Take note of higher risk driving segments such as highways, deceleration or braking zones (stop lights, steep hills, curves or bends in the road). Bridges are also danger zones as they can ice more quickly than roads due to cold air passing above and below the driving surface.

6. Best Case Scenario

Did you know that the speed limit is actually just that – a limit? Speed limits are simply meant as a guideline for ideal driving conditions. Roads that are compromised by rain, snow, ice or fog are best navigated with a reduced speed, especially the danger zones listed above.

Help make Edmonton’s roads safer this winter by sharing these tips with the new and young drivers in your life. And remember, when it comes to auto insurance in Edmonton, keep your local neighbourhood insurance broker in mind, Sadler Insurance.

Mandatory Car Insurance in Alberta

You have just passed your road test, and your vehicle has been successfully inspected and registered, so what’s the next step? Before you can legally drive in Alberta you need to understand the differences between the many types of auto insurance and the degrees of coverage they offer. Not all insurance is mandatory to operate your vehicle in Alberta, so here is a quick guide to understanding the provincial requirements and the penalties for disobeying them.

PERSONAL LIABILITY AND PROPERTY DAMAGE INSURANCE

Before you can drive your vehicle, it is mandatory by provincial law to have a minimum of $200,000 in insurance and accident benefits coverage. In Alberta, any coverage beyond this considered to be optional auto insurance coverage. Personal liability and property damage insurance, commonly referred to as third-party liability insurance, is mandatory for all drivers in Alberta. It covers damages your vehicle causes to another person or their property. All drivers in Alberta qualify for the coverage this basic car insurance provides under the All Comers Rule. Under this rule, no insurance company in Alberta can refuse to provide mandatory coverage to new drivers. However, there are some exceptions to the All Comers Rule which include payment issues with previous insurers or insurance fraud.

ACCIDENT BENEFITS

To operate a vehicle in Alberta, drivers are required by law to have accident benefits. In the case of an injury or death, passengers in a vehicle are covered regardless of who is at fault. Accident benefits include medical and rehabilitation costs, death benefits, income replacement, funeral expenses, and uninsured motorist coverage. Uninsured motorist coverage protects you in the event of an accident with an uninsured driver.

THE PENALTIES

Driving uninsured in Alberta is illegal and those driving without valid auto insurance can face a number of penalties for breaking the law.

  • A first offense fine will cost you a minimum of $2,875 but you can pay up to $10,000. If you fail to pay this fine you can spend 45 days to six months in jail
  • If you are caught driving without insurance within five years of your first offense, you will be fined a minimum of $5,000 but can be charged up to $20,000. Failure to pay this fine will result in increased jail time – from 60 days to six months.
  • While you will not receive demerit points in Alberta for driving without insurance, your insurance rates will drastically increase.
  • If deemed necessary, a judge can order a driver’s license suspension resulting in you losing the right to drive.

Be smart, drive insured! If you are found responsible for a collision, you are personally responsible for any bodily injury costs. On average, a bodily injury claim is more than $15,000. These costs are covered by your auto insurance policy, but if you drive uninsured you must pay out of pocket. If you leave the scene of an accident before police and first responders arrive, there are some serious consequences including a $2,000 fine, six months in prison, and seven demerit points.

Buying a New Vehicle? The Make and Model of Your Vehicle Can Affect Your Insurance Premium.

Are you buying a new vehicle? If so, you might be interested to know that how the car you choose is rated affects your premium. Most people know their driving record affects their insurance premiums, but many aren’t aware of how much the car they buy affects their rates too. Additionally, there are other things you might not know about how your car impacts your insurance premiums. Here is what to consider when shopping for a new car:

Age

The age of your car directly affects what you pay for insurance premiums. The older the car, the more value it loses. The less valuable a car is the less expensive it costs to replace or repair. This makes it cheaper for your insurance company to insure because the risk of them paying out large sums of money is reduced. It’s important to note that each car starts with a different rate and depreciates at a different rate; the impact varies across different types of vehicles.

Make and Model

The make and model of the car you purchase will also affect your insurance rates. High-end cars are more expensive to insure because of their value. The cost of repairs, parts and the replacement value are pricey for an insurance company, so they charge higher premiums for luxury cars.

The difference between models and even trim levels can greatly affect your insurance premium. For example, a sedan will likely cost less to insure than a coupe,  as coupes are sportier and statistically have a higher risk of getting into accidents.

Theft Potential

Insurance companies also base rates off theft statistics. These help them figure out which cars are stolen most often. For example, in 2017 the 2015 LEXUS GX460 4DR AWD SUV was the most stolen vehicle in Canada. To see the top ten list of stolen cars you can go here. Some cars make the most-stolen lists consistently, thus insurance premiums are higher for them. Although anti-theft devices can reduce the risk of the car getting stolen and can lower rates, if it’s commonly stolen it will still have a higher premium.

Risk and Value

The value of a car directly affects the optional portions of your car insurance, like collision. Dropping collision can reduce your insurance premium rates, but it’s not a good idea to go without this coverage if you can’t afford to pay to replace the vehicle or cover the cost of damages.

The risk factors of accidents and theft impact a number of areas. Theft statistics impact comprehensive costs and accident statistics impact the cost of liability and accident benefits; it’s important to note that your driving experience and record are considered as well.

At Sadler Insurance we help you with your car insurance needs, and make sure you understand your insurance coverage.

 

 

What to do if Your Car Insurance Claim is Denied

So you had a car accident and now your insurance company isn’t going to fix your car. Don’t panic! The good news is there are established avenues in place to resolve conflicts between you and your car insurance company. It doesn’t matter if the dispute involves the settlement value of a total loss of the vehicle, the cost of getting a vehicle repaired, the extent of injuries, or who is at fault. There are ways to get your issues heard without having to go to court.

Before you contact anyone, make sure you’re clear about your concerns and what you expect. Have all your pertinent documentation and information available. Keep a record of everyone you speak to.

Here are five steps you can take to resolve your claim dispute.

Step 1: Phone your insurance broker, insurance agent, claims adjuster, or insurance company representative and request a detailed explanation of the company’s decision to deny your claim.

Step 2: If that doesn’t work for you, phone and ask for the supervisor or manager of the person you originally spoke with.

Step 3: If you still don’t get a resolution, contact the insurance company’s complaints liaison officer. All licensed automobile insurers legally have to have a complaint officer or Ombudsperson. After you tell them your complaint, give them time to investigate your concerns and decide their position. They might adjust the original decision, or agree with it.

Step 4: If you’re not happy with the Ombudsperson’s decision, you can request the insurance company’s final position letter.

Step 5: Contact the General Insurance OmbudService (GIO) with the letter. The GIO is an independent, regionally based dispute-resolution system for the insurance industry.

General Inquiries

For general inquiries, you can contact the IBC Consumer Information Centre (CIC) before going through the steps. The staff at IBC is experienced with answering questions related to: technical insurance wording, how to proceed with a complaint, how to find information about a liaison officer or Ombudsperson.

If after following these five steps you’re still not satisfied with the results, you can take your issue to court. When disputes related to car insurance end up in court, it usually involves personal injury because a dollar amount can’t be agreed upon. If you take this step, make sure you consult a lawyer for legal advice.

Often car insurance claim disputes are the result of miscommunication. The best way to prepare yourself in case your car insurance claim is denied is to become knowledgeable about all aspects of your insurance contract.

At Sadler Insurance we can help you with your car insurance needs, and make sure you’re educated so you understand your insurance coverage.

 

 

Check Your Insurance Policy: 5 Details You Really Ought To Review Each Year

With a new year right around the corner, it’s the perfect time to perform an annual check on your insurance policy.

Making this kind of review a yearly occurrence will help you stay on top of your insurance policies, could save you money, and will ensure that you are always fully covered.

Here are five details that you should really review when checking your insurance policy.

1. Re-evaluate the Contents of Your Home

If it has been a year or more since you last took inventory of your belongings, it’s time to re-evaluate. Most homeowner policies also protect the contents in a home, in addition to the house itself. As you’ve most likely purchased new items since your last recorded tally of personal belongings, you should take note of anything that should be added to your list. If you’ve made home improvements, such as kitchen or bathroom upgrades, these additions to your home’s total value should also be mentioned in your policy updates.

2. Are You Paying Too Much?

It is a good idea to check into any discounts or savings that you may be eligible for at the beginning of every year. Don’t assume that you’re getting the best price, just because the amount you’re currently paying was the lowest you could find when you first purchased your insurance policy. You can potentially save yourself some money by looking into bundle discounts on your auto, business, life, or home insurance. Factors like a good driving record, your age, or full-time student status can have an effect on your policies. Sometimes even raising your deductibles can lower your monthly insurance rates.

3. Bundle Your Insurance Policies

If you haven’t done so already, you may want to consider bundling your current insurance policies. Do you have a different provider on each of these policies? Most insurance companies offer more than one type of insurance, and for this reason, many of them offer discounts to customers who choose to purchase multiple forms of insurance from the same provider. By simply asking your insurance providers what your potential savings may be, you can save money by bundling two or more policies, like your home and car insurance.

4. Consider Alternate Insurance Providers

Have your insurance rates skyrocketed since last year, through no fault of your own? It may be time to consider some alternatives to your current provider. Whether due to an increase in claim activity over the past year, or a company experiencing a financial loss for the year, there may be other providers that can offer you a better price for the insurance policies that you require. Saving some serious dollar bills is only one reason why doing an annual check on your insurance policy is such an important routine to build.

5. Account for Any Changes from the Past Year

Keeping your policies updated is the best way to ensure that you are fully covered, in every aspect of your life. People change too, so make sure to reflect any changes in your health or situation within your life insurance coverage. If you’ve recently had a baby, stopped smoking, gotten married, or retired from your job, these changes may affect your policy. Similarly, your auto insurance coverage could change if you now travel a shorter distance to work, or if you’ve decided to finally put winter tires on your vehicle.

Contact Us Today!

The professional team at Sadler Insurance has been serving Albertans for over 80 years.

We understand that insurance choices can be overwhelming. As a full-service independent Edmonton insurance broker, we aim to make the “fine print” clear for you.

No matter what you are looking for – from auto, business, life, or home insurance – our insurance professionals are ready and willing to help you.

We strongly believe in fostering relationships with our clients and insurance partners.

If you would like to check your insurance policy today, one of our team members would be happy to help you.

Request a quote from one of our insurance brokers today to find out how we can help.

Most Costly Auto Insurance Mistake

When it comes to auto insurance, there are some mistakes that can mean the difference between an affordable policy and an unaffordable one. This article will go over some of the most costly mistakes you can make when it comes to your insurance.

Keeping Your Auto Insurance Affordable

We all know that auto insurance, costly though it may be, is not something we want to do without. Accidents can happen to the most careful of drivers, and it’s never worth it to risk more than necessary. But not all insurance is created equal, and there are mistakes you can make that drive up the cost of your insurance exponentially. While there’s no such thing as a good car accident, there’s nothing worse than being in an accident you’re completely unprepared for, which is why insurance is so important. In order to keep those premiums as low as possible, avoid these costly mistakes.

Getting a Traffic Ticket

While no one wants to get a traffic ticket, the consequences of getting one go far beyond the ticket itself; getting a ticket is one of the most common ways to increase your insurance, and can easily be avoided. As tempting as it might be to speed or to glide by a stop sign without coming to a full stop, don’t do it. Not only are you putting other drivers and pedestrians at risk, but you also stand a chance of driving up your auto insurance prices by getting a ticket you could have avoided with ease – and spending years kicking yourself for not following the rules of the road.

Not Preparing For Your Teen

If you have a child who’s coming up of driving age, you have more to think about more than just teaching them to pump gas: your young, inexperienced driver is going to be expensive to insure. Fortunately, there are ways to reduce these prices if you plan ahead of time. There are discounts available for insuring your teen based on things like driver’s education and their grades. While their insurance is going to cost you more no matter what, if you prepare ahead of time you can save yourself a lot of money once your child is ready to get behind the wheel.

Causing an Accident

Yes, there it is – being at-fault in an accident is a sure way to drive up your insurance rates, if not have your policy canceled altogether. While on some policies you may be eligible for accident forgiveness, this only applies to your first accident, and it is a far cry from a get-out-of-jail-free card. Take every precaution while driving to make sure you’re never responsible for an accident. Since most accidents are caused by a driver violating traffic regulations, this means sticking to the law, and not putting your insurance prices – or your life – in danger.

Lying to Your Insurance Company

Think you can trick your way into lower insurance rates by failing to mention a traffic ticket or keeping quiet about the new driver in your family? Think again. The chances that your insurance company will never find out about your little white lie are very low, and once they do, the consequences will cost you more than your dishonesty ever saved you. Your insurance company could back-rate you or even cancel your insurance policy, making the chances of finding affordable insurance somewhere else next to impossible. Always be honest with your insurance company.

How to Handle an Accident: What to Do If You Get Into a Collision

Nobody expects to get into a car accident when they embark on a trip, whether it’s across the street or across the country. Unfortunately, as the saying goes: “accidents happen”. They’re shocking and frightening and they can make it very difficult to think clearly on the spot, so it’s vital to have a plan in place for what you will do if you get into a car accident. This can prevent you from freezing up and missing out on vital actions that could save your life, or at the very least, make the situation less difficult down the road. Here are some ideas.

Don’t Leave the Scene

If you are involved in an automobile collision, it is extremely important that you remain on the scene of the accident until the police arrive. Firstly, it is illegal to leave the scene of an accident, and performing a hit-and-run can get you in serious trouble with the law. But beyond that, you should stay to make certain you’re there to help anyone who needs it, and so that you can be treated if you are injured. Move to a safe distance if you are concerned about remaining too close to the vehicle, and wait for the police to arrive.

Be Prepared

Although nobody expects emergency situations to happen, most people recognize the value of being ready in case one does come up. Carry a first aid kit in your car so that you can help treat minor injuries in case of a collision. Have emergency contact numbers programmed into your cell phone. Keep some cash on hand for a bus or cab ride if you have no other way of getting home. Knowing how to respond in the moments following a car accident can save lives and minimize the risk of criminal charges being pressed.

Exchange Insurance Information

Once you’ve ensured that everyone is present and accounted for and any minor injuries have been treated, it’s time to exchange insurance information with the driver of the other vehicle. Following a collision, emotions can run high and fear and anger are often at the forefront. Try to take a few calming breaths and treat the other driver with respect, even if they were at fault. Exchange contact information and insurance information. Make certain that all information is correct in order to avoid confusion. Exchanging info can feel difficult and awkward but it is absolutely vital.

Your Insurance Policy Is Your Best Friend

If you do have the bad fortune to get involved in a collision, having an insurance policy will take a lot of the weight of worry off of your mind. Sadler Insurance specializes in car insurance and can help you to get an insurance policy that will protect you in case of an accident.

At Sadler, we want you to be safe, protected, and have the time and peace of mind to take care of yourself and your family in the days following your accident. Give us a call at 780-433-4426 and see how we can help!

Contact us today for more information on insurance policies.