With rising auto insurance costs, some Ontario drivers are choosing to drive without coverage. No one should operate a vehicle without a valid policy that offers financial protection to the driver and passengers to cover everything from injuries to property damage from an auto accident.
Roughly 2% of Ontario drivers lack sufficient insurance, and about 2,000 uninsured vehicles are involved in auto collisions each year. Despite the frequency at which people in the province drive without insurance, the act comes with hefty consequences. When it comes to driving without insurance in Ontario, the laws are clear.
What Auto Insurance Laws Must Ontario Drivers Follow?
The law states that no one should operate a motor vehicle or allow a vehicle to be operated on a highway without it having automobile insurance coverage. According to the Compulsory Automobile Insurance Act of Ontario, using a motor vehicle without adequate insurance coverage is illegal. Every driver needs a policy that includes the following:
- Uninsured automobile coverage
- Third-party liability with a $200,000 minimum
- Direct compensation for property damage coverage
- Statutory accident benefits coverage
Despite the illegality of driving without insurance, Ontario legislation does not consider it a criminal offense. Though you will suffer consequences like large fines and other possible punishments including a not-so-nice addition to your drivers abstract, nothing will go on your criminal record about the event. The only time a police officer will arrest you if you drive without car insurance is if you engage in a criminal act when they catch you.
What Are The Fines and Penalties for Driving Without Insurance in Ontario?
You could face fines and penalties if the police catch you driving without car insurance. According to Ontario laws, every vehicle owner or lessee must surrender an insurance card to an officer when requested for inspection.
Failing to prove the vehicle has the minimum coverage will cause the person to be guilty of an offense, leaving them liable for the first-conviction fine of between $5,000 and $25,000. A subsequent conviction for a second offense increases the penalty to a figure between $10,000 and $50,000. You could also face a driver's license suspension for up to a year.
You will not receive demerit points on your driving record for operating a car without insurance. However, the fines and license suspension from the offense are significant punishments. For further discouragement of driving without insurance, Ontario police officers may also impound the vehicle for three months, leaving you to pay all associated costs for the impoundment and storage.
What Happens When Driving Without Insurance in a Vehicle That Is Not Yours?
It's not uncommon for Ontario drivers to borrow a car from a friend or relative when their own vehicle isn't available. However, if you drive an uninsured car that isn't yours, you could still receive a charge for not producing a valid insurance card.
In Ontario, auto insurance protects the car, not the driver. If an officer catches you driving a vehicle without coverage, you and the car's owner could face the consequences.
Confirming a vehicle's coverage status before driving is always a good idea. Be mindful that driving an uninsured car isn't the same as not showing valid proof of insurance coverage. Both situations may result in a ticket, but you will only receive severe penalties for driving without insurance in Ontario.
How Does a Conviction for Driving Without Insurance Affect Coverage?
After receiving a conviction for driving without a license in Ontario, the penalties will remain on your driving record for three years. However, the consequences of driving an uninsured car are far-reaching regarding getting an auto insurance policy in the future.
Insurance companies tend to view convictions for driving without insurance the same as drivers with impaired driving convictions. From the insurance provider's perspective, the recklessness or negligence of the incident is severe enough for the agency to refuse future coverage.
Your conviction will classify you as a high-risk driver, so getting coverage will become more difficult. If you find a provider willing to cover you, you'll likely spend thousands of dollars annually for higher premium amounts.
What Happens After Car Accidents Without Auto Insurance?
Car accidents can lead to devastating consequences, including medical expenses, lost wages, vehicle loss, property damage, and loss of life. Insurance policies for cars offer financial protection against those issues, which is why Ontario legally mandates drivers to carry the minimum insurance requirements.
If you have an auto collision in an uninsured car, you will be financially responsible for your vehicle's damage and the damage to other structures your car hits. In Ontario, it doesn't matter if you cause the accident. You will have to pay for the damages.
Unfortunately, many people sustain injuries from car accidents, and collisions contribute to hundreds of deaths a year. Paying for rehabilitation, medical equipment, and living expenses can be a lot for someone to handle. Without auto insurance, you could also be financially responsible for anyone you injure when driving an uninsured car.
You could face lawsuits from anyone with injuries or other damages from the car accident. They could sue you for their financial losses and legal fees, which adds to the amount you could be liable for if you choose to drive a car without insurance. Legal and medical costs alone could exceed six figures.
Auto Accident in Ontario With an Uninsured Driver
Sometimes the person without insurance isn't you but the other driver involved in an auto collision. The good news is that Ontario requires all vehicles to carry "uninsured auto" coverage for this specific situation.
If you are in an accident with an uninsured vehicle, you could recoup up to $200,000, minus the deductible, for vehicular damage. You can file a claim with your insurance provider to cover damage to your car and any injuries you sustain.
Hit-and-Run Car Accident With an Uninsured Driver
If an uninsured driver hits your insured vehicle and leaves the scene of the accident, you still have coverage. Hit-and-runs are illegal in Ontario and carry serious consequences. Drivers can receive a charge under Ontario's highway act or a criminal charge depending on the severity of the situation.
Uninsured drivers who flee an accident could serve jail time of up to six months. They could also lose their driver's license for up to two years and accrue fines of up to $2,000. Hit-and-run drivers also get seven demerit points on their driving record.
If you have insurance, but an uninsured hit-and-run driver hits your vehicle, you can fill a claim with your insurance agency. "Uninsured auto" coverage also covers hit-and-run incidents.
Frequently Asked Question
Here are more frequently asked questions about driving without insurance in Ontario:
Driving Without Insurance in Ontario - Don't Risk It, Get Insured!
When it comes to driving without insurance in Ontario, the province has explicit rules against it. Considering the number of insurance companies offering auto coverage in the province, finding an affordable option may be challenging. However, Insurdinary makes the process easy.
As an insurance broker, Insurdinary representatives help you secure quality auto insurance and other insurance products for your home, health, dental, and travel needs. We provide you with the best quotes from leading insurance providers throughout Canada for quick comparison. Begin your journey toward affordable auto insurance by completing our convenient online quote form, and contact us for additional information.