Is driving without insurance illegal?

8 minute read Published on Oct 29, 2019 | Last updated Aug 17, 2022 by BrokerLink Communications

Is driving without insurance illegal?

In Canada, it’s illegal to drive or operate a vehicle without having an insurance policy. Although it is not a criminal offense, meaning that violating this law will not go on your criminal record, there are many other serious consequences that you will face if you are caught driving without insurance.

Operating a vehicle without auto insurance not only puts you at risk, it also puts your passengers and other drivers on the road at risk. This law is in place in order to keep everyone on the road as safe as possible.

Can you drive without insurance anywhere in Canada?

You can drive a vehicle in Canada without insurance but the question is: should you? Driving a vehicle without insurance is not a criminal offense, meaning if you get caught, you will not get a criminal record.

As mentioned, it’s against the law to drive without vehicle insurance in Canada, and doing this carries some serious fines and penalties. Getting caught may also place you in the “high risk” category with insurance companies, so you might have to pay higher premiums for your car insurance for a few years.

What happens if I get caught driving without insurance?

If you are pulled over by a police officer and unable to present them with your car insurance information, , you may be charged. There are several offenses that an officer can charge you with, such as:

  • Operating, or allowing an uninsured motor vehicle to be operated
  • Failure to show proof of car insurance upon a police officer’s request

What are the consequences of driving without insurance?

Once charged, there are a number of consequences that you may face, such as:

  • Hefty fines
  • Driver’s license suspension for a minimum of 30 days, and up to one year
  • Having your vehicle impounded for a maximum of three months

These charges may also make it tough for you to get auto insurance after being convicted. Most drivers with this on their record will only be able to get a car insurance policy though “high-risk” or facility insurance companies, which specialize in offering coverage to customers with less than satisfactory driving records. However, companies like this often charge very high premium rates. Depending on how bad your driving record is and what type of vehicle you drive, rates from facility companies can be as high as $10,000 a year.

How much can I get fined for driving without insurance?

The amount of your fine can range from a few hundred to thousands of dollars, depending on your province; whether this is your first offence, the nature of the offence – e.g is your license suspended?, and whether you’ve been caught and convicted before.

Can I borrow someone else’s car without my own insurance?

In most cases, it is completely fine to drive someone else’s car, as long as they have their auto own insurance policy for the vehicle. This is because the policy follows the vehicle, not the driver. The coverage on each policy will extend to protect anyone who is driving the vehicle as a result. You do not need your own insurance.

It’s important to keep track of how frequently you drive another vehicle. If you only borrow it a couple times a year, that’s okay. However, if you drive this car every other weekend, you may need to be included on the policy as a secondary driver. Anyone who borrows a vehicle on a regular basis must have their name on the insurance policy in order to be covered.

What happens if I get into a car accident without having insurance?

If you are involved in any sort of accident without having insurance, you may be held personally responsible for all costs associated with both vehicles. These costs may include repairs for your car, repairs for the other vehicle involved and any medical bills resulting from the accident.

You may also face numerous fines and penalties for driving without insurance, and you could possibly face a lawsuit. The other driver, or their car insurance company, have the grounds to sue you for the accident and not having a valid vehicle insurance policy, as this put them at greater risk when driving.

What happens if someone without insurance hits me?

If you end up in the unfortunate situation of getting into an accident with an uninsured vehicle, you don’t have to worry, generally. As long as you have your own coverage, you are protected in this type of situation, because of a type of mandatory coverage on your policy called “Uninsured Automobile”. This coverage allows your insurance company to pay for any damages, injuries and other expenses associated with this kind of accident.

What are the minimum requirements for car insurance coverage in Ontario?

As stated above, one of the mandatory coverages in Ontario is the “Uninsured Automobile” coverage. There are three other types of coverage required by law that are included on an automobile policy in Ontario:

Third-Party Liability

This will protect you in the event someone is injured or killed, or if there is any damage to their property. It will also cover you in the case of a lawsuit against you and helps pay for the costs of settling the claims.

Statutory Accidents Benefits

This section of your policy is in place to protect you if you’re injured in a car accident, regardless of who is at fault. This coverage could include:

  • Medical treatments
  • Non-earner and income replacement benefits
  • Rehabilitation and attendant care
  • Primary caregiver benefit
  • Lost educational expenses

Direct Compensation/Property Damage

If you are involved in an accident where someone else is at fault, this coverage will protect you. You should be covered for the damages to your vehicle and its contents, as well as for loss of use of the vehicle or its contents. Although the damage was caused by someone else, you collect the compensation directly from your insurance provider.

There are a few limitations to this coverage and it will only apply if these conditions are met:

  • The accident occurred in Ontario
  • There was a minimum of one other vehicle involved
  • At least one of the other vehicles has insurance with a provider licensed in Ontario

Conclusion

Driving without insurance is dangerous for everyone involved. Not only does it impact people’s safety, it could also break your bank, as the costs involved can be extreme.

Have more questions? Get in touch with one of our licensed insurance professionals. We are always ready to answer your insurance related questions!

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Frequently asked questions on driving without insurance:

Can I have a car without insurance and not drive it?

If you have a car that just sits in your garage, you technically do not need vehicle insurance. However, the minute the vehicle is off your private property and on a public road or parking lot, you need a valid car insurance policy. If you want to move the vehicle without insuring it, you must find a way to do so without driving it, such as loading it onto a truck. You will also not be able to get license plates without proof of insurance.

Is driving without insurance a criminal offence?

Driving without insurance is not a criminal offence. It will not go on your criminal record. However, driving without insurance is a very serious offense. If you are caught you could face heavy fines and the possible suspension of your driver's license. It will also affect your ability to obtain insurance in the future.

What happens if you crash without insurance?

If you crash without vehicle insurance, first of all, you are responsible to cover the cost of all the damages. You could also face serious consequences for driving without insurance such as fines and the suspension of your license. Your ability to obtain insurance in the future will also be affected.

Can I drive an uninsured car if I have insurance?

No, you cannot drive an uninsured car, even if you have your own insurance. Think of it this way: the insurance follows the car, not the driver.

If driving a car without insurance is not a criminal offense, why is it illegal?

Illegal activities are punishable by law and can include violations of civil statutes such as the Compulsory Automobile Insurance Act, which imposes civil sanctions for uninsured drivers. As such, driving a car without insurance is an illegal act.

Do I still need to get car insurance if I lease my vehicle?

Yes. In fact, in most cases, your lease agreement may require you to get higher coverage than mandatory for your particular province. For example, the mandatory third-party liability coverage in Ontario is $200,000. The lease company may require you to get $1 million.

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