Are you wondering if you can pause your car insurance policy in Canada? BrokerLink knows the ins and outs of auto insurance and can help you decide if putting your policy on hold is right for you.
Pausing car insurance in Canada
First thing’s first, yes, many car insurance companies in Canada allow policyholders to pause their policies. That said, you may be charged a fee for doing so. It’s worth noting that you cannot legally drive a car anywhere in Canada without a valid auto insurance policy, so your policy should only be cancelled if you do not intend to drive for the entire period that your policy is on hold. It is also important to note that some insurers consider a voluntary suspension as a type of insurance cancellation, and cancelling an insurance policy can have a serious impact.
How to put your auto insurance on hold in Canada
The first step to putting an auto insurance policy on hold in Canada is to contact your insurance provider or broker. They can walk you through the terms and conditions of your policy and explain the process of suspending your policy temporarily. They can also make you aware of any fees that must be paid to do so.
Using Ontario as an example, drivers must fill out the following two forms if they want to pause their car insurance policies:
- Suspension of Coverage (OPCF 16): This form cancels your car insurance coverage until it is officially reinstated.
- Reinstatement of Coverage (OPCF 17): This form officially reinstates your car insurance coverage in Ontario.
What happens when you pause your car insurance?
When you pause your car insurance policy in Canada, you will lose access to basic coverage provided by your policy, such as third party liability coverage, accident benefits coverage, uninsured automobile coverage, and direct compensation - property damage coverage. You may also lose access to any optional coverages you added to your policy, like collision coverage, comprehensive coverage, and accident forgiveness coverage. We break down each of these coverages below so that drivers who pause their policies will completely understand the protection they are missing:
Third party liability coverage
Third party liability coverage provides protection if you get into an accident that injures another person or results in property damage to another person’s property. Under this portion of your policy, you can receive compensation to pay for medical expenses associated with bodily injuries or repairs of a damaged car, as well as any legal fees or court fees up to the coverage limit.
Direct compensation - property damage coverage
Direct compensation - property damage coverage protects an insured car and its contents from the costs of property damage. This type of coverage only applies if the policyholder is not at fault for the accident that caused the damage. This type of coverage gets its name from the fact that the insurer typically provides direct payment for the damage caused (such as to repair or replace a vehicle). To receive compensation under the direct compensation portion of your policy in Ontario for example, the incident must meet the following criteria: it happened in Ontario, it involved multiple cars, and it involved at least one car that participates in the province’s car insurance program.
Uninsured automobile coverage
Uninsured automobile coverage protects you and any passengers in your vehicle if you get into an accident with an at-fault driver who is uninsured or underinsured. This type of coverage also protects in the event of a hit-and-run. Uninsured automobile coverage covers medical expenses relating to injuries, car repairs due to damage, lost wages, and more.
Accident benefits coverage
If you, a passenger, or a pedestrian, require medical attention following a collision, accident benefits coverage comes in handy. Protection is offered regardless of which party was at fault for the collision and can help cover loss of income, medical expenses, such as prescription medications, physical therapy, or rehabilitation, and more.
If you get into an accident with another car or object on the road, no matter which driver is at fault for the accident, collision coverage can help cover the costs. Under the collision coverage portion of your policy, your insurance company can help pay for any property damage that resulted from the collision, such as a damaged vehicle.
For added peace of mind, Canadian drivers may choose to include comprehensive coverage in their car insurance policies. While standard auto insurance coverage in most provinces provides some protection against accidents, they do not protect drivers from many other circumstances on the road. For example, if your car is stolen, basic car insurance won’t cover this. But if you purchase comprehensive coverage, you can be protected against perils such as theft, vandalism, water damage, falling objects, fire, and more. This means that in the event of theft, your insurance provider would help cover the costs of replacing it, rather than having to pay for a new one entirely out-of-pocket.
Accident forgiveness coverage
One final type of optional car insurance coverage popular among Canadian drivers is accident forgiveness. Accident forgiveness is additional coverage that can be added to your car insurance policy as an endorsement to protect your driving record and to help prevent your insurance premium from increasing if you have an at-fault accident claim. Note: coverage varies by province.
The pros and cons of pausing your car insurance
There is a mix of pros and cons that come with temporarily pausing your car insurance policy in Canada. To help you determine whether putting your policy on hold is right for you, we outline the benefits and drawbacks of each.
- Pausing your car insurance coverage will save you money: Unsurprisingly, putting your auto insurance policy on hold can save you money. So if you do not plan on driving your vehicle for several months, such as if you are travelling, then pausing your policy might make the most financial sense.
- Pausing your auto insurance policy is better than cancelling it altogether: Did you know that cancelling a car insurance policy, even at renewal, can have major consequences? Gaps in your car insurance history are a major red flag for insurance providers. Therefore, if you were to cancel your policy outright rather than pause it, you might have a harder time finding coverage in the future.
- You may have to pay fees to pause your car insurance policy: A con of pausing car insurance is that some insurers charge a fee to policyholders wishing to suspend their coverage. Therefore, drivers will need to ask about these fees and take them into account to decide if pausing their policy is worthwhile. Contact a BrokerLink insurance advisor to learn what fees may apply when paying a car insurance policy.
- Your car cannot be driven while your policy is paused: Another con of pausing your auto insurance policy is that your vehicle cannot be driven the entire time the policy is on hold. Car insurance is mandatory everywhere in Canada, which means driving without insurance is illegal. Although your policy hasn’t technically been cancelled, a paused insurance policy is invalid, and therefore, in the eyes of the law, driving with one is the same as driving uninsured. Ultimately, if you want to pause your car insurance policy, make sure you do not get behind the wheel until the policy is unpaused. If you are caught driving with a policy that’s on hold, you could face hefty fines, a suspension of your driver’s licence, and even jail time.
- Your vehicle won’t be protected from off-road incidents: One final drawback to putting your car insurance policy on hold is that if you store your vehicle outdoors, it won’t be protected in the event of an off-road incident. This is especially true for policyholders who added comprehensive coverage to their policies. Otherwise, an unfortunate accident like a tree branch falling and hitting your parked vehicle may not be covered by your insurance provider.
The benefits of working with a car insurance broker
Whether you decide to put your car insurance policy on hold or not, we recommend working with a broker. Keep reading to discover three benefits of working with an insurance broker:
Brokers operate independently of insurance companies
First, insurance brokers work independently of insurance companies. This allows us to make our customers’ needs our top priority. We will take the time to understand your unique circumstances and find coverage that meets your needs.
Brokers do the work for you
Another benefit of working with a BrokerLink insurance broker is that they do the work for you. From the moment you get in touch, your dedicated BrokerLink insurance advisor will be committed to finding you a great policy. Whether you’re looking for minimal coverage while you’re on an extended vacation or a standard auto insurance policy, one of our friendly brokers will be pleased to assist you. They will ask you questions about your needs and driving habits before shopping around and comparing policies to find you a great rate.
Brokers have car insurance expertise
One last reason to work with a licenced BrokerLink insurance broker is the expertise they bring to the table. BrokerLink has been in business since 1991, which means we know the ins and outs of the car insurance industry. So if you have questions about putting your car insurance policy on hold, know that you can count on us. All BrokerLink insurance advisors are fully licenced with years of experience helping drivers just like you find quality auto insurance policies. Take advantage of BrokerLink’s unbeatable expertise and resources by contacting us today.
How to purchase car insurance from a BrokerLink insurance broker
If you are interested in purchasing car insurance from an insurance broker, follow the steps below:
1. Contact an insurance broker
The first step to finding the best coverage for your vehicle at an affordable rate is to contact an insurance broker near you, such as BrokerLink. BrokerLink is a full-service insurance brokerage available to take your calls, answer your emails, or chat in person at any of our locations across Canada. We will ask you questions to understand your lifestyle, driving habits, and budget, before contacting insurance companies and comparing policies.
2. We shop around for car insurance policies on your behalf
The second step to buying car insurance is to let BrokerLink take care of everything. While you sit back and relax, your dedicated insurance advisor will contact top insurance companies to obtain quotes, unlock discounts, and find a great policy at a competitive rate.
3. You get a great rate on your auto insurance policy
We saved the best for last. The final step to buying insurance through a broker is to review the policies your broker presents to you and choose the one you like best. It couldn’t be easier!
Contact BrokerLink to learn more about pausing your car insurance policy
Our team consists of auto insurance experts who can help you pause your policy and explain the pros and cons of doing so. We can also review your policy to inform you of any potential fees or consequences that may come with a temporary policy suspension.
Plus, when it comes time to resume your policy or your policy’s expiry date is approaching, we can shop around on your behalf to help you find great auto insurance coverage at a competitive rate. And anytime you want a free auto insurance quote, simply visit our website and use our online quote tool. Within minutes, you will receive an accurate and 100% obligation-free car insurance quote.
What are you waiting for? Contact BrokerLink by phone, email, or in-person to learn more about car insurance in Canada.
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