One of the most commonly asked questions about Car insurance in Canada is, “Can you insure a car under someone else’s name in Ontario?” This is an important question, and policyholders should know the answer before purchasing Ontario car insurance. Find out more about non-owner car insurance below.
Non-owner car insurance explained
First off, let’s set the record straight: No, you cannot insure a vehicle under someone else’s name in Ontario. Only the registered owner of a vehicle can purchase insurance for their car. That said, if you drive regularly but do not own a car of your own, you can still purchase a type of auto insurance known as non-owner car insurance.
Non-owner or non-owned car insurance is a type of coverage specifically designed to protect drivers who don’t own cars but who drive regularly, whether they borrow a friend’s car, rent cars, or participate in car sharing on a frequent basis.
It is important to note that car insurance is a legal requirement throughout Canada. This means that if you get behind the wheel without a valid car insurance policy, you could be in breach of the law. Depending on how regularly you drive - even if the cars you drive are not yours - auto insurance may still be mandatory. In Ontario, it is important that you carry a car insurance plan that features liability coverage so you can be protected in the event of an at-fault accident. We will dive into more detail on this below, but the type of non-owned auto liability coverage you may require in Ontario is known as OPCF27.
Eligibility requirements for non-owned car insurance in Ontario
Curious about whether you are eligible for a non-owner car insurance policy? Any driver who doesn’t have a vehicle of their own and has a valid Ontario driver’s licence can purchase non-owner car insurance. That said, many insurance companies refuse to offer non-owned coverage if someone else in your household has a vehicle. For example, if your spouse or parent you live with has a car and it is their car that you borrow frequently, you likely won’t be able to take out a non-owner car insurance policy. Instead, if you want to legally drive their car on a regular basis, you will need to be added as a driver to their policy, even if it’s as an occasional driver. However, if you borrow someone’s car who doesn’t live with you or you frequently rent cars from rental agencies or car sharing services like Zipcar or Communato, non-owned car insurance could be a great fit. Non-owned automobile insurance can also provide coverage in the event that you do not own a vehicle, however you must maintain a liability policy for your employer.
Reasons to purchase non-owner car insurance
There are a few reasons or situations that people choose to purchase non-owner car insurance. Below is a detailed list of the three most common ones:
You regularly borrow cars from friends or family members
If you do not have a car of your own for whatever reason, there may be times when you need to borrow a vehicle from a friend, family member, or neighbour. Since car insurance follows the car and not the driver, assuming the person whose car you borrow has a valid car insurance policy, you will be protected under their policy when you drive. That said, a non-owner car insurance plan can cover any damages that exceed the limits of their insurance policy should you get into an accident while driving their car. Thus, a non-owner policy may be a wise choice, especially if you find yourself borrowing a friend’s car very frequently.
You frequently rent cars through rental agencies or car sharing services
Another circumstance in which you may want to purchase non-owner car insurance is if you regularly rent cars. Nowadays, people can rent cars through traditional car rental agencies, as well as car sharing services like Communato or Zipcar. Regardless of which you choose, if you regularly rent cars, purchasing a non-owner car insurance policy may be a wise choice. Why? Doing so may actually save you money. Otherwise, you may need to purchase a loss damage or collision damage waiver, which can quickly add up, especially since most rental agencies charge for coverage by the day. Thus, if you rent cars frequently enough, having non-owned coverage could result in major savings. Another benefit of non-owner coverage is that it’s usually more comprehensive than the collision damage coverage offered by rental agencies. This means that a non-owned car insurance policy might be more cost-effective and offer greater protection in the event of a claim.
You want to avoid a gap in car insurance coverage
One final reason that people choose to purchase non-owned car insurance coverage in Canada is to prevent a gap in their car insurance history. If you only recently gave up your status as a car owner, whether you sold it or lost it due to damage, you might be at risk of a lapse in your car insurance policy. As you may know, a gap in coverage is a red flag for insurance companies. Depending on the length of the gap, they could deem you a high-risk driver, making it more difficult and expensive to obtain a policy in the future. Thankfully, taking out a non-owner car insurance policy can help you fill this gap and avoid an insurance premium increase until you eventually purchase another car. Thus, it’s common for people who are between vehicles to purchase non-owned car coverage.
Non-owner car insurance coverage: what it covers
Now that you know a little bit more about how non-owner car insurance works and why it might be beneficial to purchase it, let’s dive into what it covers. The primary type of coverage that non-owner car insurance features is liability coverage. Such policies are designed to protect the policyholder from the financial outcomes associated with an at-fault accident, such as lawsuits, property damage, medical expenses, etc. Beyond liability insurance, non-owned car coverage also features personal injury protection and protects drivers against hit and runs and accidents with uninsured or underinsured drivers. A breakdown of the three types of coverage that you might find in your Ontario non-owned auto insurance policy is as follows:
Third party liability coverage
Liability car insurance is a type of mandatory auto insurance coverage in Ontario and it is designed to protect drivers from the financial fallout associated with at-fault accidents. For instance, if you cause a fender bender that damages your car, it is the liability car insurance portion of your policy that would cover the cost of repairing your vehicle. If someone was injured in the accident or the other driver decided to sue you, your liability car insurance may also pay for medical expenses and legal fees. In Ontario, all drivers must have a minimum of $200,000 in liability coverage at all times.
Accident benefits coverage
When it comes to non-owned car insurance, accident benefits coverage is a form of personal injury protection. It is also mandatory in Ontario and can compensate policyholders for the cost of medical expenses if they are involved in an accident that results in bodily injury.
Uninsured automobile coverage
Uninsured automobile coverage is one final type of mandatory coverage in Ontario, and it is frequently seen in non-owner car insurance policies. It can be claimed if you get into an accident with a driver who is uninsured, underinsured, or unidentified.
Collision car coverage is a type of optional car insurance coverage in Ontario that can help pay for the cost of repairing your vehicle if it is damaged. Specifically, the vehicle must have suffered damage from an accident with another car or grounded object on the road. Typically, this type of coverage can be claimed no matter which driver was at-fault for the accident. It is featured in non-owned auto liability coverage in Ontario.
Comprehensive car coverage is another type of auto insurance coverage that comes with non-owned car insurance policies in Ontario. It can be hugely beneficial given that it protects against non-collision incidents, such as theft. Under the comprehensive coverage portion of your policy, the policyholder can be reimbursed for the cost of repairing or replacing their vehicle if it is damaged or lost due to an insured peril. Insured perils may include theft, vandalism, falling objects, fire, glass damage, water damage, find, and more. For example, if a burglar broke into your car and stole it from your driveway overnight, you could file a comprehensive coverage claim and receive a payout to help you buy a new vehicle.
Please note that non-owner auto insurance in Ontario does feature collision and comprehensive coverage. However, this isn’t the case everywhere. In some places, collision and comprehensive coverage may be excluded as these forms of protection usually cover the cost of repairs or the replacement of a vehicle that is owned by the policyholder.
One final word on non-owner car insurance coverage: Unlike a typical auto insurance policy, non-owner car insurance plans only cover the policyholder. They do not cover anyone else who drives your vehicle, so you should never let another driver borrow your car. This is a key distinction, as regular car insurance coverage follows the car and not the driver, but non-owner car insurance follows the driver since they do not own the car.
Non-owner car insurance coverage: what it doesn’t cover
While non-owner car insurance can protect against property damage, bodily injury, and more while driving a vehicle you do not own, there are several types of coverage it does include. The following are typically not included in non-owner car insurance policies in Ontario:
Accident forgiveness coverage
One type of car insurance coverage that you will not find in a non-owner car insurance policy is accident forgiveness. Accident forgiveness is additional coverage that can be added to standard car insurance policies 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.
Roadside assistance coverage
Another type of coverage you should not expect your non-owned car insurance coverage to feature is roadside assistance. This means that you will not be covered for towing, flat tire changes, boosts, and the like, should something go wrong while driving a car you do not own.
The cost of non-owner car insurance in Ontario
The cost of non-owner car insurance, as with any type of car insurance, is dependent on several factors. Anytime you purchase insurance from an insurance company, you will pay a premium. The amount you pay for your premium hinges on several factors that the insurance agent will assess to determine your risk level. Age is just one of many details that an insurance company will consider. To give you an idea of which factors will come into play when your non-owner car insurance premium is being calculated, keep reading:
- Your insurance claims history: The fewer claims you have, the lower your premium will be.
- Your driving record: Drivers with a clean driving record - those that are free from tickets, accidents, DUIs, and other infractions - will likely benefit from cheaper car insurance rates than those with lots of infractions.
- Your age: How old you are matters because, in the eyes of the insurance company, there is a direct correlation between age and experience.
- The amount of coverage you need: The more coverage you purchase and the higher the limits you choose, the more your non-owned auto insurance policy will be.
- The deductibles you choose: When you purchase non-owner car insurance, you will need to select a deductible. The higher your deductible, the lower your premium will be.
- The discounts you are eligible for: Depending on your circumstances, you may qualify for one or multiple car insurance discounts with your provider. Discounts like those offered to safe drivers or occasional drivers could result in major savings.
As you can see, insurance companies consider a multitude of factors when determining car insurance rates, even for non-owners. Thus, it can be difficult to provide an estimate without knowing more about you and your driving history. That is why we recommend obtaining a free quote from an insurance broker near you. This will instantly give you a better idea of how much you can expect to pay for your non-owner car insurance plan. We will say that most non-owner plans cost between $200 and $500 per year in Ontario. This makes them far cheaper than standard car insurance. Plus, depending on your circumstances, you might be eligible for various car insurance discounts that bring down your premium even more.
Purchasing Liability for Damage to Non Owned Automobiles in Ontario
Interested in purchasing non-owner car insurance coverage in Ontario? First thing’s first: Ontario has strict rules about car insurance, and one of them is that non-owner insurance policies cannot be purchased as an independent product. This means that you must have an existing car insurance plan in order to purchase Liability for Damage to Non Owned Automobiles insurance. The non-owner car insurance coverage would be added to the existing policy as an endorsement:
OPCF27 - non-owned auto liability
Form OPCF27 is the specific name of the endorsement in Ontario through which non-owner car insurance can be added to an existing car insurance policy. OPCF27 is also referred to as Legal Liability For Damage To Non Owned Automobiles. It gives policyholders car insurance when driving cars they do not own, protecting them against damage or loss to vehicles that have been rented or borrowed.
Through the OPCF27 form, policyholders can apply the third party liability coverage and accident benefits coverage from their personal car insurance policies to their non-owner car insurance. Meanwhile, the additional OPCF27 non-owned auto liability coverage they add to their policies features comprehensive and collision insurance, helping you to pay for the cost of any necessary repairs or replacements following an accident while driving a rented car.
It is worth noting that OPCF27 coverage is only available in the following circumstances:
- When driving in Canada or the United States
- On standard rental cars that weigh under 4,500 kilograms
- Coverage for rental cars has a limit, typically ranging $25,000 to $50,000
- For drivers whose names are listed on a personal car insurance policy
- For a maximum of 30 days of renting a vehicle
If you are wondering how much it costs to add the OPCF27 non-owned auto liability endorsement to your personal car insurance plan in Ontario, you can expect to pay around $50 or less annually. Therefore, even if you don’t rent or borrow vehicles very frequently, it can still be more cost-effective to add the endorsement to your policy - especially when you consider the fact that rental companies typically charge a daily insurance fee for vehicles.
Contact BrokerLink to add the OPCF27 endorsement to your Ontario car insurance policy today
Ready to add OPCF27 to your Ontario car insurance plan? Contact BrokerLink. BrokerLink is a full-service insurance brokerage that specializes in auto insurance. We understand the ins and outs of car insurance coverage in Ontario, including more niche types of coverage like OPCF27 non-owned liability coverage. We can help you add this endorsement to your policy, provide you with a free quote on how much it will cost to add this type of coverage to your plan, and make sure that you are taking advantage of all possible car insurance discounts. Affordable, tailor-made auto insurance coverage is our specialty. Get in touch with us today for a professional opinion on whether the OPCF27 endorsement is right for you and how it applies if you get into an accident or rent a car. We can also help you with other car insurance-related tasks, like renewing car insurance, adding a driver to your policy, updating your policy, purchasing a first-ever policy, or filing a claim with your insurance provider. Think of BrokerLink as your one-stop shop for all things auto insurance. We are here when you need us. Reach out by phone, email, or visit any one of our Ontario locations to speak with a licenced insurance broker directly. We can’t wait to hear from you!