How to get a pink slip for your car

12 minute read Published on Jun 4, 2023 by BrokerLink Communications

Smiling man holding the steering wheel and smiling while driving a car.

If you have car insurance anywhere in Canada, then you have what is known as a pink card or pink slip. Pink slips are essentially proof of your auto insurance policy. Learn more about the importance of the pink slip and how to obtain both a physical and digital copy below.

What is a pink slip?

A pink slip, also referred to as a pink card, liability card, insurance card, or proof of insurance card, is one of a few important documents you should keep in your car at all times. The physical version is a small card about the size of your wallet and it has your vehicle insurance information on it. It also happens to be pink in colour (it is printed on pink paper), which is where it gets its name from. Since auto insurance is mandatory everywhere in Canada, you will need to obtain a pink slip before you drive your car. The card is proof that you have a valid car insurance policy that adheres to the minimum coverage requirements in the province you drive in.

It is one of many documents needed for car insurance, and because it is so important, many policyholders choose to keep it in their wallets or the glove compartments of their vehicles. The issue with pink slips is that physical copies can easily wear or get lost. In addition, if someone steals your car, your pink slip would likely be gone with it. Thankfully, digital versions are now available across Canada and are accepted as proof of insurance the same way that physical pink slips are. We dive into greater detail about digital pink slips below.

Please note that having proof of insurance in the form of a pink slip, whether physical or digital, is crucial anytime you are driving. Since auto insurance is required by law, if you are pulled over and unable to provide proof of a valid insurance policy, you could be fined. Therefore, obtaining your pink slip, knowing where it is at all times, and keeping it with you is vital.

How to obtain a pink slip from your insurance company

When you purchase a car insurance policy, whether you’re buying car insurance in Toronto or another city in Canada, your insurance company will provide you with a pink slip. This will be the case whether you are buying a brand new policy or renewing an existing policy. The pink slip you receive will typically contain the following information:

  • Your name and address
  • The year and make of your vehicle
  • The start date of your policy
  • The name of your insurance company
  • Your policy number

Proof of insurance in the form of a pink slip is issued for every insured vehicle with liability coverage. And since third-party liability coverage is mandatory in all Canadian provinces and territories, all drivers are given pink slips.

Proof of insurance in Canada

Showing proof of car insurance in Canada is not only important, it is a legal requirement. Keep reading to learn more about mandatory proof of insurance in Ontario, as well as what counts are proof of insurance and what happens if you are unable to produce proof:

Am I legally required to show proof of insurance in Ontario?

Yes, since auto insurance is compulsory in Ontario, drivers are legally required to have and show proof of insurance if requested by the authorities. For example, if the police are doing a routine traffic stop and ask for your proof of insurance, you must present it. Failure to produce your pink slip, even if you have a valid Ontario driver’s licence, can lead to a ticket. The three things that a police officer will ask for if you are pulled over in your vehicle are your driver’s licence, vehicle registration, and proof of insurance. Therefore, you better make sure that you have all three on your person.

If you are unable to provide proof of insurance to a police officer, you could be charged with operating a motor vehicle without insurance, this charge means that you were driving without auto insurance coverage since you could not show proof of insurance. Failure to surrender proof of insurance, this charge means that you did not produce proof of car insurance to the police officer.

If you are charged with either of the above, but you have a valid car insurance policy and simply forgot your pink slip at home, you should be able to show proof of your auto insurance coverage in court to have the charge dismissed. Please note that if you are charged with either of the above and decide to pay the ticket instead of fighting it in court, it will be noted on your driver’s abstract. In turn, this could affect your car insurance premium in subsequent years.

The consequences of failing to show proof of insurance

The most common consequence of failing to show proof of car insurance is a fine. Fines vary between provinces, and there is usually a minimum and a maximum fine, which will be at the discretion of the police officer involved. In Ontario, the standard fine is $85. However, it can be as high as $500. It is also worth noting that if you get a ticket for driving without insurance, rather than simply failing to produce proof of insurance, the fine is much higher - a minimum of $5,000 for a first offence and up to $50,000 for subsequent offences.

The good news is that drivers are within their rights to fight the fines handed to them. For example, if a driver has valid auto insurance coverage at the time the ticket was issued but simply did not have their pink slip on them, they can fight the matter in court. While you are likely to have the charge dismissed by showing proof of car insurance in court, going to court can be a lengthy and complex process. Therefore, it is much easier to simply always have your pink slip with you when driving.

What counts as proof of insurance?

A pink slip is the main document that signifies proof of insurance. However, it is not the only document. A temporary car insurance binder can also be used as proof of auto insurance. Also, it is worth noting that both physical and digital copies of pink slips are now accepted as proof of insurance in Ontario. This means that if you can’t produce that small, pink piece of paper, you can show a digital version of it on your smartphone. We provide more detail about these three types of proof of insurance below:

Physical pink slip

A physical pink slip will be issued anytime you purchase or renew a car insurance policy in Canada. As mentioned above, the physical copy of your pink slip is small enough to fit in your wallet and contains pertinent information about your car insurance policy, like the date your policy is effective, your policy number, your full name, vehicle information, and the name of your car insurance company.

Digital pink slip

A digital pink slip is a fairly new phenomenon, introduced in Ontario in 2020. It contains all the same information as the physical pink slip except it is available electronically. Digital pink slips can be presented to the authorities using your mobile phone. Please note that digital pink slips may not be available in all Canadian provinces and territories yet, though things are likely moving in that direction. In addition, although digital pink slips are now available and accepted in Ontario, insurance companies are still required to provide paper copies to policyholders. Further, although digital pink slips can be shown on smartphones, it is the driver’s responsibility to ensure that their phone is charged and can properly display the pink slip. Low battery, limited reception, or a cracked screen are not acceptable excuses for failing to provide proof of insurance. Lastly, some policyholders may have security or privacy concerns over pink slips going digital. However, the provincial government of Ontario is assuring policyholders that digital pink slips are encrypted to ensure they cannot be altered or copied in any way. Plus, parties cannot use them to track a driver’s location or collect their personal data with your consent. For more digital pink slips faq, contact BrokerLink.

Obtaining a digital pink slip, which may also be called an eSlip, electronic pink card, or electronic insurance card, is usually quite simple, though the exact process may differ between insurance providers. You should be able to visit your insurance provider’s website, log into your account, and download it directly. From there, you can upload it onto your smartphone, and then it will be with you at all times.

Benefits of a digital pink slip

Still not convinced by the digital pink slip? A few benefits of the electronic pink slip are as follows:

  • Digital pink slips eliminate the need for paper slips.
  • Digital pink slips are easier to obtain for many people and can be downloaded from home. Plus, you don’t have to worry about misplacing it or having it stolen from your vehicle if you can access a digital copy online.
  • Digital pink slips help combat insurance fraud.
  • The reality is that physical pink slips can be easily duplicated or edited, whereas digital pink slips cannot. Therefore, digital pink slips help fight common issues, like fraud.

Temporary insurance binder

The last type of proof of insurance that will be accepted by the authorities is a temporary insurance binder. Since it can take between two and seven days for your new policy to be confirmed in an insurance company’s database, the police will accept a temporary insurance binder as proof of insurance. An insurance binder is a document that confirms you have purchased a car insurance policy and are waiting for it to be finalized by the provider. A temporary insurance binder can also be used as proof of car insurance when you purchase a car or if you are financing or leasing a car and require a loan.

When do I need to show proof of insurance?

Drivers should be prepared to show proof of insurance in any of the following situations:

  • You are pulled over by the police at a traffic stop.
  • You are renting a car from a rental car company.
  • You are buying a car, whether it is new or used.
  • You are registering a car with the relevant governing body in your province.
  • You are renewing your licence plate or plate sticker.

Get in touch with BrokerLink to find out more about pink slips for car insurance

If you want to learn more about how pink slips work, why they are required, or the importance of keeping old car insurance documents, contact BrokerLink today. Our team of licenced insurance professionals would be pleased to answer any of your questions. They can also help you find a car insurance policy, renew existing coverage, or even download a digital copy of your pink slip. As insurance brokers, we know the ins and outs of the car insurance industry, and we love sharing our resources and expertise with our customers. Beyond helping you understand pink slips for car insurance, we can offer professional advice on the best auto insurance coverage for your needs. From there, we can reach out to insurance companies in Canada and compare products to find you the best possible car insurance rate. Reach out to BrokerLink today to get started. Whether you prefer to give us a call, send us an email, or visit us in person, we can’t wait to meet you!

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FAQs on pink slips for cars

If more than one driver is listed on my auto insurance policy, whose name will appear on the pink slip?

If multiple drivers are named on your auto insurance policy, they will not all appear on your digital pink slip. Instead, only the name of the driver who is connected to the mobile application will appear on the digital pink slip. However, in this instance, it is a smart idea to keep the physical copy of your pink slip nearby, as this will list all insured drivers.

It depends on the province. Many provinces and territories in Canada now accept digital pink slips as proof of insurance, including Ontario, Alberta, Quebec, Nova Scotia, New Brunswick, Prince Edward Island, Newfoundland and Labrador, Northwest Territories, and Yukon. If you are driving in a province that does not accept a digital pink slip, make sure to have a physical copy with you at all times.

How can I make sure that my digital proof of insurance is up to date when I'm offline?

Anytime you renew or update your car insurance policy, the changes will automatically appear by the next business day. If for some reason the most up to date version of your policy is not appearing digitally, contact your insurance provider or try uninstalling and reinstalling the app. Please note that once the app is installed, your digital proof of insurance can be accessed, even when you are offline or in an area without service.

Can I use my digital proof of insurance outside of my province?

This depends on the province. Many provinces and territories in Canada accept digital pink slips as proof of insurance, but not all of them. So if you are planning to drive outside of your province, you will need to do your due diligence by researching which parts of Canada accept digital pink slips as proof of insurance and which don’t. Generally, if you are travelling out of the province, it's a good idea to retain a physical copy of your pink slip just in case.

Can I print a copy of my digital pink slip?

Yes, if drivers would like a physical copy of their digital pink slip, they can download a PDF version from the app or from their account with their insurance company and print it. This is a great solution if you lost the physical copy of your pink slip. Note that insurance companies in Canada are still required to provide physical pink slips, so you will always be given a physical copy when purchasing a policy. However, nowadays, you will also be emailed a digital copy that can be downloaded onto your smartphone.

What happens if my phone dies and I cannot present my digital pink slip?

Your phone being dead is not a valid excuse for failing to show proof of insurance. It is your responsibility to ensure your phone has enough battery to display your digital pink slip at all times or carry a physical copy in your car. To avoid your phone dying and you being unable to present proof of insurance if asked, we recommend keeping a phone charger in your vehicle.

Do I need to have a smartphone to show my digital pink slip?

Yes, digital pink slips can only be displayed on smartphones. Other types of cell phones, such as flip phones, are not capable of displaying pink slips. Therefore, if you do not have a smartphone, you will need to rely on your physical pink slip and keep it with you at all times.

What happens if I lose my pink slip?

It is your responsibility to have your pink slip in hand at all times while driving, whether physically or electronically. If you lose your physical pink slip, contact your insurance provider and request a new one or visit your insurance company's website, where you should be able to print another copy. Replacing a digital pink card is simple, as if you lost your phone and needed to buy a new phone, you could still access your digital pink card online and simply load it onto your new phone. Digital pink slips are often sent by email, so as long as you still have the email in your inbox, you can re-download the digital pink slip onto your new smartphone.

Can I share my digital pink slip with other drivers who drive my car?

Yes, digital pink slips can be shared between drivers. If you have added your pink slip to the digital wallet on your smartphone, you should be able to share it with any other drivers using the “share pass” functionality on your phone, so long as they also have smartphones.

What information do pink slips contain?

Pink slips contain the most important information relating to your car insurance policy: your full name and address, your policy number, your vehicle details, the effective date of the policy, and the name of your insurance company. It may also list the phone number you can call in the event of a claim. Please note that physical pink slips may have information on both sides, so be sure to flip them over.

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