Is driving without insurance illegal?
Car insurance is something that no driver wants to pay for but we all need to have. Seeing those car insurance payments come out of your bank account every month can be painful, but it sure pays off should you ever be involved in an accident! In Canada, the Compulsory Automobile Insurance Act makes it mandatory for all drivers to have car insurance. While the specific coverage requirements will differ from province to province, generally speaking, it is required for Canadians to have a minimum of $200,000 in third party liability as well as accident benefits.
Here we’ll explain everything you need to know when it comes to driving without car insurance in Ontario.
Is it common for people to drive without insurance?
Surprisingly enough, driving without car insurance happens quite often in Ontario. In fact, about two percent of drivers in Ontario are on the road without insurance. While two percent might not seem like a lot, when you think about the 8.5 million registered drivers in the province, this leaves around 170,000 uninsured drivers in Ontario alone. These numbers give reason for concern, 170,000 is a lot of people, more than the entire population of Barrie!
Fun fact: In Ontario alone, there are more than 2,000 uninsured vehicles involved in reported traffic accidents every year. When you think of all of the money that is paid out of pocket to cover related expenses, that is a lot!
What happens if you get caught driving without car insurance in Ontario?
You won’t be a convicted criminal if you get caught driving without car insurance in Canada, however, there are severe consequences. If you get caught without insurance, you will likely wish that you were paying for coverage all along.
When caught driving without car insurance, a police officer can charge you with the following:
- Operating, or allowing a motor vehicle to be operated, without insurance
- Failure to show proof of insurance upon a police officer’s request
- Depending on the situation, your car may be impounded for up to three months
- You may have your license suspended for a minimum of 30 days and up to one year
What are the fines involved with driving without insurance?
On top of the above consequences, you could be looking at some pretty hefty fines if caught on the road without car insurance. Depending on your driving record, your fine will vary as follows:
For your first conviction: $5,000 to $25,000 fine
For your second conviction: $10,000 to $50,000 fine
Any following convictions can result in fines amounting up to $50,000.
If you think that’s bad, in certain situations you can also be faced with an extra 2 percent surcharge on top of your total fine in court. This is under the Provincial Offences Act which is in place to provide services to support victims of this type of situation. The additional charge you face will vary based on your initial fine, ranging anywhere from $1,250 to $12,500.
Will driving without car insurance impact my ability to get insurance in the future?
While you may get charged for driving without car insurance, it won’t prevent you from getting car insurance in the future, as long as you are on the road with a valid license. Afterall, insurance is mandatory. One thing to keep in mind however, is that in this situation you can expect to have higher premiums. You will be able to purchase an insurance policy regardless of your driving record but your rates may not be in your favour. It is likely that you will have to purchase a high-risk insurance policy, which is an option for those who have multiple traffic convictions/at fault accidents on their record.
It’s important to note that your high-risk car insurance policy will be less than affordable. Depending on your driving record, you could be looking at paying upwards of $10,000 per year for high-risk insurance. And don’t forget about the fine that you will have to pay on top of that for your conviction. Moral of the story? It’s best to get an affordable insurance policy right from the get go.
What happens if I don’t have car insurance and I get into an accident?
Should this situation occur, you’re really going to wish that you had insurance. If you’re driving an uninsured vehicle and get into an accident, you will have to come up with the money to pay for all the damages involved out of your very own pocket. So unless you are ready to fork out your life savings on something that could have otherwise been preventable, we recommend staying off of the road if you don’t have insurance.
A car accident is never enjoyable for anyone involved. Most result in damage to at least one vehicle, and some are severe enough to result in serious injuries. While these are negative consequences on their own, this doesn’t even consider the costs that come along with it. Driving without insurance can put you into a financial crisis in a matter of seconds.
Damage to your vehicle
Insurance policies include coverage for property damage for a reason. The expenses related to repairing or replacing a vehicle is the opposite of cheap. Regardless of the type of car you drive, these costs add up quickly. Many drivers in Ontario purchase additional coverage such as collision coverage for this very reason. Even if you aren’t at fault and don’t have insurance, it will still be your responsibility to pay for the damage.
Damage to other vehicles
Your car insurance policy won’t only cover damage faced by your own vehicle, it will also cover damage to other involved vehicles. So if you don’t have car insurance? Whether you hit a 1999 Honda Civic or a brand new Maserati, you will be responsible for paying for the repairs with no ceiling on the cost.
Beyond property damage, a car insurance policy in Ontario will cover personal injury. And while no one expects to get into a car accident, they happen out of the blue. Of course, many accidents are minor collisions but not everyone is that lucky. A car accident has the potential to result in major injuries, some that are even life changing. Whether it’s lost wages from being unable to work, long recovery times, or uncovered medical expenses such as physiotherapy, attendant care, chiropractor, massage therapy or prescription medicine, unless you have insurance, the victim will be coming your way for the cash.
Forget about vehicle repairs, how about a lawsuit?
Lawyers, legal fees, getting sued by other drivers or insurance companies. Are you ready for those expenses? We didn’t think so.
What if I can get into an accident with an uninsured driver?
As long as you have your own insurance policy, no stress! You will be protected financially in this situation. The uninsured driver on the other hand, not so much. Every insurance policy in Ontario has uninsured automobile coverage, which prepares you for this situation exactly. How does this work? The insurance company will pay for the damage and then sue the other driver for the damage that they caused.