Do you need insurance to register a vehicle in Ontario?

7 minute read Published on Jun 13, 2024 by BrokerLink Communications

Close up of hands over a red toy car on a white table.

Registering your car is a must in all Canadian provinces and territories. However, before you can register your vehicle, you might be wondering if you need to buy car insurance. Below, we explain whether you must purchase an auto insurance policy before you are able to register your vehicle, as well as offer tips on how you can register your car and what types of car insurance to add to your policy.

Car insurance and vehicle registration in Ontario

Many drivers wonder if they need car insurance in order to register their vehicles. The answer is yes. You must have a valid car insurance policy if you want to register your motor vehicle in Ontario. Thus, you will need to obtain auto insurance coverage from a broker or insurance company before you can apply for vehicle registration in Ontario.

What type of auto insurance should I buy in order to register my car?

In Ontario, you will need to purchase a car insurance policy that meets the minimum coverage requirements set by the province. This is known as basic or standard coverage and usually costs the least. You can also choose to purchase coverage beyond this, but you will need to have a basic policy at the very least if you want to successfully register your car and legally drive in the province of Ontario.

Mandatory car insurance in Ontario consists of the following four coverages:

  • Third-party liability coverage
  • Accident benefits coverage
  • Direct compensation coverage
  • Uninsured automobile coverage

Third-party liability coverage

Liability car insurance is designed to protect drivers from at-fault car accidents. If you get into an at-fault accident, you will be on the hook for the costs of the accident. Thankfully, if you have liability coverage, your insurance company will help pay for the expenses associated with the collision, which can range from medical fees and repair bills to legal expenses. Please note that Ontario drivers must have at least $200,000 worth of liability car insurance included in their policies. This differs from Nova Scotian drivers who must have at least $500,000 in liability car insurance, Many no matter the province opt to increase their limits up to $1 or $2 million in liability insurance.

Accident benefits coverage

Accident benefits coverage is a type of coverage that will pay for the cost of seeking medical attention if you are injured in an accident. No matter what type of bodily harm you suffer, whether it’s minor or major, you can file an accident benefits claim with your provider and have your medical expenses covered. Accident benefits insurance can pay for medical fees not covered by your health insurance policy, such as prescription medications, physical therapy, or other forms of rehabilitative care.

Direct compensation coverage

Direct compensation coverage is a type of property damage coverage that will pay for you to repair your car if it is damaged in a car accident. However, this type of coverage will only pay for the repairs if you are not found to be liable for the collision. If you are deemed liable for the collision, you would need collision car insurance if you want the cost of vehicle repairs to be covered.

Uninsured automobile coverage

Uninsured automobile insurance is the final type of mandatory car insurance coverage in Ontario. This coverage comes into play if a driver gets into an accident with someone who is uninsured or underinsured. It can also help if you are the victim of a hit-and-run accident.

If you need help purchasing car insurance coverage before you register your vehicle, reach out to BrokerLink today. We have a team of licensed insurance advisors who are ready to help you find your ideal policy. Your knowledgeable broker will make sure that your policy meets the minimum coverage requirements in Ontario. Plus, they can recommend additional coverage that may suit your needs, such as comprehensive car coverage and accident forgiveness coverage. Get in touch with BrokerLink today to learn more and request a free car insurance quote.

Factors to consider before purchasing auto insurance

Before purchasing a car insurance policy, there are a few factors you may wish to consider. We outline them below:

Insurance broker vs. insurance company

First, you will need to decide whether to purchase car insurance from an insurance broker or an insurance company. There are many benefits of an insurance broker, given that they are experts in a wide range of policies from insurance companies across Canada. Plus, a broker will research and compare policies on your behalf and give you tips on how to save money on auto insurance.

Your budget

Next, you will need to consider your budget. If your budget is small, then basic coverage may be your preferred type of policy. A BrokerLink insurance broker can not only help you find basic coverage but help you save even more money on car insurance by recommending that you buy multiple auto insurance policies or driving safe (you can find a whole list of safe driving tips here), both of which can make you eligible for a discount.


Certain types of car insurance coverage are mandatory in Ontario, which you now know. But beyond these mandatory coverage types, you will be able to choose if you want to add additional coverage to your policy. For example, you can add comprehensive coverage, loss of use coverage, collision coverage, accident forgiveness coverage, or even insurance cover for towing. Speak with a BrokerLink broker if you want expert advice on what types of coverage to add to your policy.

Your vehicle’s value

When you purchase a policy, you will need to make several decisions, including what types of extra coverage to add, if any, and what deductibles and coverage limits to choose. These choices should be based on not only your budget but also your vehicle’s value. The more valuable your vehicle, the more coverage you will likely need.

Getting a vehicle permit in Ontario

Once you’ve obtained car insurance, you can proceed with the vehicle registration process. When you register your vehicle in the province of Ontario, you will receive a vehicle permit, a licence plate, and a sticker. Together, these three items make up your vehicle registration.

It is important to note that there are several differences between title and registration. As with having a valid car insurance policy, you will also need to have the title to the car you wish to register in order to register it.

Below is a list of steps to follow if you want to register your car in Ontario:

Gather the documents needed for vehicle registration in Ontario

Just as there are several documents you need for car insurance, there are also several documents you will need to register your vehicle in Ontario. It’s best to gather these documents early so that the process can go as quickly as possible. The documents you will need for vehicle registration in Ontario are as follows:

  • A valid Ontario driver’s licence
  • A completed used vehicle information package
  • Proof of purchase, e.g. a receipt or bill of sale
  • Proof of car insurance from an insurance company that operates in Ontario
  • The original vehicle permit from the seller with the transfer portion completed
  • The licence plate portion of the permit, if you have the licence plates already

Be prepared to pay for the cost of vehicle registration in Ontario

Vehicle registration in Ontario varies but will typically cost:

  • $120 for one year or $240 for two years in Southern Ontario
  • $60 for one year or $120 for two years in Northern Ontario
  • $42 for one year in Southern Ontario and $21 for one year in Northern Ontario for motorcycle registration

Visit a ServiceOntario centre to register your vehicle with the Ontario Ministry of Transportation

Once you’ve made it through the steps above, you are ready to visit a ServiceOntario centre to register your car. When you visit a ServiceOntario centre, you will need to show the documents you gathered above and pay for your vehicle registration. From there, you will be issued a new licence plate, a permit paper, and a sticker. You may also be able to register your car at the auto dealership if you are buying a new or used car from the dealership. Once registered, you can legally drive your new car in Ontario.

Get in touch with BrokerLink to learn more about buying car insurance before registering your vehicle

Speak with a BrokerLink insurance advisor today if you want to learn more about auto insurance requirements and how to register a car in the province of Ontario.

A BrokerLink insurance advisor will make sure that you pick a policy that complies with the insurance regulations in your province. We can also explain what makes car insurance so important - namely, that it offers financial protection against common car accidents.

If you’re ready to purchase a policy, reach out to BrokerLink today. We offer free quotes to all with no strings attached.

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Car insurance and vehicle registrations FAQs

Is car insurance mandatory in Ontario?

Yes, car insurance is mandatory in Ontario and you will need to purchase a policy in order to register your car with the province of Ontario, which is also legally required. If you drive without car insurance, you can be fined thousands of dollars, your driver’s licence can be temporarily suspended, and your vehicle can be impounded.

What is a vehicle permit in Ontario?

A vehicle permit serves as proof that you registered your vehicle with the province. You will receive it when you register your car and should have it on you at all times while driving. If a law enforcement officer pulls you over, they will ask to see it.

How do I replace my vehicle registration if I lost it?

You can replace your vehicle registration if it is stolen or damaged by visiting a ServiceOntario centre. If you think that someone stole your vehicle registration, you should also report it to the police.

What types of car insurance do I need to register my vehicle in Ontario?

The types of auto insurance you will need in order to register your vehicle and legally drive in Ontario are third-party liability coverage, uninsured automobile coverage, accident benefits coverage, and direct compensation - property damage coverage. You will need at least $200,000 in third-party liability coverage to drive in Ontario.

If you have any questions, contact one of our local branches.