High Risk Insurance Ontario

Get Ontario’s Best High Risk Auto Insurance


Comparing High Risk Auto Insurance Quotes in Ontario is Fast and Easy!

How Finding the Cheapest High Risk Auto Insurance in Ontario Works:

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How is High Risk Insurance Calculated in Ontario?

High risk insurance is calculated very similarly to standard auto insurance, however, insurance premiums may vary depending on the company and its eligibility criteria. Typically, surcharges of 20% or more are applied to convictions and at-fault accidents for drivers in the high risk bracket.

Why is High Risk Car Insurance so Expensive in Ontario?

High risk insurance in Ontario, Canada is expensive because insurance companies charge more for drivers with poor driving and/or payment records.
The logic is that the chances of the insurance company having to pay out on a claim associated with a high risk driver are a lot higher compared to a driver with a cleaner record.

How to Get the Cheapest High Risk Insurance in Ontario?

Finding the cheapest high risk auto insurance involves getting as many insurance quotes from as many companies as possible. The only way to find the most affordable high risk auto insurance is to exhaust your search efforts. Remember, what one company may deem the “cheapest” isn’t always the cheapest!

However, the following are some things you can do to help lower your costs:

  • Bundle your coverage with Home, Tenant or Condo insurance for multi-line discounts
  • Reduce coverage (never recommended but is an option)
  • Increase deductible amount
  • Drive a less expensive vehicle
  • Group insurance discounts
  • Install telematics for further discounts

High Risk Insurance Ontario – How to Find the Best Rate

However, special importance is usually given to the following factors:

  • Cost – as high risk auto policies typically cost more than standard auto insurance, it’s no surprise that price can significantly, influence a purchasing decision.
  • Customer Service – hours of operation, claims handling and overall customer service- another important consideration when choosing a high-risk insurance provider.
  • Insurance Coverage – some companies may have certain limitations regarding what coverages they can offer. For example, some high risk insurance carriers may only offer 1 million in liability coverage or may elect to offer a higher deductible.

Your Questions About High Risk Insurance in Ontario Answered:

The criteria used to rate high risk car insurance in Ontario is similar to the criteria used by standard auto insurance companies.

High risk insurance companies use a risk point and surcharge system to determine the cost of your premium. Risk points, otherwise known as insurance points, are violation markers on your driving record for traffic violations and at-fault accidents.

Risk Points and surcharges are allocated according to the severity of the driving violation.

The violations are broken down into groups. (This is just an example; every high risk Insurance Company is slightly different.)

Minor Convictions – 1 Point: 20% surcharge for first conviction, 25% surcharge for each additional conviction
Major Convictions – 2 Points: 40% surcharge for first conviction, 50% surcharge for each additional conviction
Serious/Criminal convictions – 4 Points: 50% surcharge for the first conviction and 100% for each additional conviction
Cancellations: gaps of continued auto insurance resulting from lapses due to cancellations are factored into the premium. Cancellations for non-payment also determine the payment options that can and can’t be offered.
For a driver licensed for less than four years, insurance points attached to a conviction are doubled

The cost of High risk auto insurance in Ontario varies depending on the high risk driver and the auto insurance company. However, a good rule of thumb is to expect your car insurance premium to double in cost.
High risk auto insurance policies range in price from as little as roughly $1,000 to as much as $10,000! The cost of high risk insurance depends on many factors.

Auto insurance companies calculate your premium by:

  • Assessing the high risk driver, i.e. traffic tickets, at-fault accidents, and driver’s license moving violations.
  • the subject of insurance (a type of vehicle)
  • How you use the vehicle: i.e. business or personal use, commuting, kilometres driven
  • Territory (Postal Code)
  • Regulatory change
  • Changing economic and market forces

As you can see many factors determine the calculation of your auto insurance premium. Even though an average cost for high risk car insurance could be obtained with statistics, it wouldn’t be a fair or accurate reflection of what you might have to pay. The best thing is to contact an insurance broker directly for a quote.

To find the best high risk insurance Broker in Ontario, consider the following factors:

  • Find an insurance brokerage that’s able to provide car insurance quotes from ALL high risk insurance companies. This means that the Broker has distribution agreements with the respective high risk insurance companies and is allowed to sell their product. The more high risk insurance companies the broker represents the better your chances of securing the cheapest price. However, price is not the only thing to consider!
  • Being insured through non-standard auto insurance shouldn’t be an indefinite scenario and most drivers are always looking forward to entering back into the regular market. A good Insurance broker will help you transition back into the regular car insurance market where prices are cheaper, insurance coverage is better and payment options are less stringent.
  • An Insurance Broker should always try and find the best and most affordable car insurance for you. Insurance brokers call this remarketing which involves searching for a better price with comparable insurance coverage on policy renewal or when a traffic violation, accident or anything else falls off your driving record that could save you money off your auto insurance premium.
  • You also want an insurance broker that’s going to ensure that any claim you have will be handled fairly. A good insurance broker should be proactive about your insurance claim and address issues and concerns with you and your claim adjuster. Remember, an Insurance Broker works for you rather than an insurance company and usually makes a positive difference to the settlement of your claim.
  • Finding the best high risk insurance broker involves shopping around for an Insurance broker that will offer you more than just the best insurance coverage for the best cost. Auto insurance in Ontario is very expensive, which makes cost the number one factor when considering the insurance brokerage you choose. However, some Ontario drivers want more than just cheap insurance from their insurance provider and insurance broker.

Additional things people may be looking for in a high risk insurance brokerage:

  • Customer service
  • Flexibility
  • Competence
  • Specialization
  • Options
  • Advocacy
  • Transparency

You may be looking for the most competent or someone who can treat you with the utmost customer service and peace of mind. After all, insurance is about having peace of mind.

The following is a complete list of high risk insurance companies in Ontario, that insure high risk drivers:

If you want to lower your high risk auto insurance, the following information will help:

Being classified as a High Risk Driver usually means that most insurance companies will not insure you because of:

  • Too many traffic tickets ( not including parking tickets and red light camera infractions )
  • The number of At-Fault accidents
  • Cancellations for non-payment
  • DUI (Driving under the Influence) or any other criminal conviction.
  • Any combination of the above or other risk-related characteristics

Standard insurance companies in Ontario may refuse to insure you, or even non-renew based on their approved, underwriting rules and guidelines. However, it does not mean that the insurance industry as a whole can deny you basic auto insurance.

There are a few “non-standard” insurance companies in Ontario that specialize in insuring high risk drivers.  And as a last resort, the Facility Association, an insurance pool that all auto insurance companies contribute and belong to, makes auto insurance available to high risk drivers unable to find car insurance in the regular market.

Keep track of your tickets and At-Fault Accidents:

It’s important to keep track of when your convictions and other infractions fall off your driving record so that you can shop around for better rates and insurance coverage.  You may be very surprised how much your insurance premium can change based on one speeding ticket or At-Fault accident dropping off your record.  It also can mean the difference between qualifying for the standard or non-standard auto insurance market.

Keep track of when your driving violations drop off your record and get auto insurance quotes every time your record improves.  Auto insurance companies are constantly applying new rates and rules to their underwriting criteria each month, making it possible to get cheaper insurance from another company. 

But what if you’re already locked into a 6-month or 12-month policy? Breaking your auto policy contract will generate a short-rate cancellation fee, which lessens in dollar amount the longer you’re into the policy term.  Many policyholders wait until the renewal period to switch insurance carriers, fearing the financial penalty of breaking the insurance policy contract. However, sometimes it makes financial sense to break the contract!

Here is an example:

  • Mr. Smith pays $5,000 a year to insure his vehicle.
  • The policy term runs from May 2015 to May 2016
  • Mr. Smith has a speeding ticket that comes off his record in August of 2015.  If Mr. Smith cancelled his policy when that ticket came off, he would incur a cancellation fee penalty.
  • The cancellation fee is $400.00
  • Mr. Smith shops around for the same insurance coverage and discovers that because his speeding ticket has dropped from his record he now qualifies for standard market rates and was quoted $2,000 for an auto policy of comparable coverage, starting August 2015 to August 2016.
  • Although he was charged $400.00 for cancelling his policy, he ultimately saved close to $1,600.00.  That’s a HUGE saving!

Being stuck in the high risk auto insurance pool isn’t an ideal position for any driver. There isn’t anything you can do to lower your auto insurance other than allowing rateable incidents to lapse with time and actively looking for new auto insurance from a new auto insurance carrier. 

Lastly, don’t let a cancellation fee discourage you from switching insurance companies as there could be a cost savings opportunity by breaking the contract!

A high risk auto insurance policy is meant to provide car insurance to licensed drivers who can’t buy regular auto insurance from Standard car Insurance companies because of their higher-than-average risk profile.

High risk auto insurance is intended for people with multiple driving or driving-related violations or a combination of the following:

1. Rateable traffic convictions

2. At-fault accidents

3. Criminal convictions

4. Administrative suspensions of driver’s license

5. Non-administrative, driver’s license suspensions when a driver’s license is not reinstated within 3 years

6. New Drivers

7. Non-payment history – Cancellations and NSF payments

8. Drivers who may have not driven in a significant period

9. Vehicles that do not meet eligibility requirements i.e. Branded rebuilt, vehicles over a certain age, usually 20 years or more 

10. Any one or combination of the above or other risk-related characteristics

High risk auto insurance in Ontario is still governed by the same auto policy that people insured through standard Insurance companies are.

The Ontario Automobile Policy (OAP 1) is the car insurance contract that has been set as the standard and approved auto insurance policy by the Financial Services Regulatory of Ontario, formerly, the Financial Services Commission of Ontario (FSCO). 

High Risk Auto Insurance vs. Standard Car Insurance

  • High Risk Auto Insurance Costs More: substantially more for some.
  • Payment Options Reduced: insurance premium methods are limited since many drivers are in “high risk” because of this reason. Be careful folks about this one: don’t assume that “just because you paid it” it should be “fine” One or more not-sufficient-funds, or NSF, within a policy term, might get you canceled and launched into the High Risk bracket.
  • Insurance Coverage Limited: liability limits are usually limited to 1 million; higher deductibles; exclusions and specific conditions, can affect the Policyholder, listed drivers, and anyone else living in the household with a valid Ontario driver’s license.

High Risk Insurance Brokers:

There is no distinction between an Insurance Broker who sells and services standard market auto insurance compared to a Broker or Agent who deals with High Risk auto.

Experience, knowledge, and the number of Insurance companies the Agency or Brokerage represents (meaning more options for YOU) are the main differentiating factors between a “normal” car insurance Broker and a High risk insurance Broker.  These should also be the factors for YOU when making a purchasing decision.

Some Insurance Brokers specialize in different aspects of the car insurance policy, while others don’t have any experience in auto insurance, regular OR High Risk, so it’s important to know the qualifications and experience of the person or company that you do business with.

High Risk Insurance Agents:

Insurance Agencies in Ontario that deal with High risk insurance are few. I can only think of 2 at most that will insure high risk drivers.

If you are coming from a direct writer Insurance Company to an Insurance Brokerage, it would help you – maybe even save you thousands of dollars – to know the difference between an Insurance company vs Insurance Broker and vs Insurance Agent.  Usually, you’d be dealing with an Insurance Broker if you need non-standard or Facility car insurance.

Facility Association:

The Facility Association is considered the last resort for car insurance if you don’t meet the eligibility criteria of the High risk Insurers. Facility Association is an insurance pool that all auto insurance companies contribute and belong to, which makes auto insurance available to drivers unable to find car insurance in the regular market.

Everyone licensed to drive has a legal right to get auto insurance in Ontario, but sometimes you can be considered too risky, even for the non-standard auto insurance market.  If you find yourself in this position and can’t afford to get car insurance, consider renting a vehicle instead.

I’ve seen quotes from the Facility Association ranging from $7,000 to $17,000 for a personal lines auto policy, so crunch the numbers and see if it’s worth renting a vehicle instead.


High risk auto insurance policies are the same as regular or standard auto insurance contracts.  The difference in risk profile can make one auto policy different or more expensive than the other.

Although the risk calculation is different for a high risk auto Insurance company compared to a standard, car insurance company, the Ontario Auto Policy, aka, OAP 1 is still the policy that governs both.  This applies to commercial auto insurance too.

Have you ever wondered what the best insurance company is for high risk drivers?

Finding the best insurance company for high risk drivers hinges on three things:

  • Licensed drivers in your household
  • The reputation of the high risk insurance company
  • The reputation of the high risk insurance brokerage

Licensed Drivers in Your Household

When it comes to choosing the best insurance company for high risk drivers, price isn’t the only factor to consider. Although high risk auto insurance in Ontario can be very costly, even to the point where car insurance becomes unaffordable, there are other things than the price that need consideration before committing to one company.

Auto insurance companies need to know if other licensed drivers living in your household, might have access to and use the vehicle you’re trying to insure.  They need to know this information so they can price the high risk auto policy accordingly and also add special restrictions or limitations if needed.  

If a licensed driver in your household proves they have their insurance, this would usually satisfy the insurance company. However, if the risk profile of any “other” driver in the household doesn’t meet the eligibility criteria of the auto insurance company that’s underwriting the risk, then further steps are taken by the company.  That is to say, the auto insurance company will require that the “other” driver/drivers be eligible (meet underwriting guidelines and rules) even though “other” drivers might have their separate auto insurance.  In this case, the “other” driver is usually excluded from the auto policy being underwritten. 

Having to exclude a member of your household from driving your vehicle/vehicles can be a deal-breaker for some people.  The thought that insurance coverage would be denied should an excluded driver use a vehicle, for emergency purposes or not, can make people feel insecure or uncomfortable.  So what can someone do if they find themselves in this position?

If you don’t want to exclude a licensed driver who lives in your household, you can always choose an auto insurance company that will allow licensed drivers, who have their auto insurance and don’t meet the eligibility requirements of the underwriting insurance company, not to be excluded from the policy.  This can only be possible if the company that is underwriting your policy is affiliated with the auto insurance company of the “other” driver.  For example, if you have a standard auto policy through Intact, and need to insure your son or daughter with Jevco, Intact won’t request that your child be excluded since Intact is the parent company of Jevco.  The same can be said about other high risk insurers and their parent companies.  If you don’t want to exclude a member of the household from driving your vehicles, then the best high risk insurance company may be one where exclusion isn’t required! 

Reviews of the High Risk Insurance Company

There are only a handful of non-standard auto insurers in Ontario, so it’s not too difficult to determine which high risk insurance company is best for you. Reading and paying attention to reviews will help you make an informed decision.

When assessing the reputation of an insurance company the feedback normally stems from how well they handle claims. This is no surprise as the insurance product itself is intangible, and the only way to get a meaningful opinion is to exercise a claim and judge how well the company administers it. 

Some positive things to look for in a car insurance company are claim guarantees, operating hours, cost, and overall customer service.

Use websites like the Better Business Bureau, social media, and internet forums such as Reddit or Disqus for reading reviews.  Also, ask friends and family for their experience and suggestions.

Reviews of the High Risk Insurance Brokerage

Although a high risk insurance brokerage is completely separate from a high risk insurance company, it’s still advisable to seek out reviews about the company. Google Business Profiles is a great resource for company reviews!

The same method for assessing the quality of the insurance company can also be used for insurance brokerages.  However, keep in mind that insurance brokers don’t typically handle claims. There are exceptions to this, usually seen in standard auto insurance, but for high risk auto insurance, all claims are administered and dealt with by the insurance company.

Although insurance brokers don’t administer auto claims, they certainly should help you through the process.  Look for an insurance broker that stands behind its customers and is not afraid to challenge the insurance company on your behalf. That’s what you pay them to do!

The style or business philosophy is another important thing to consider when choosing the best high risk auto insurance brokerage.  Insurance brokerages come in all sizes and specialties.  There are niche or specialty brokers and also general insurance brokerages that handle any type of clientele.  However, when it comes to high risk auto insurance you want a brokerage that specializes in non-standard automobile insurance.   Insurance brokerages that specialize in high risk auto insurance typically have access to ALL high risk insurance companies.  This means that you won’t miss out on a quote from an insurance company that the broker may not deal with!

Choosing the best auto insurance company can be a subjective exercise, depending on your requirements. Although you may have different requirements and expectations, certain aspects can never be ignored. Customer service, market access, competent claims handling, and choosing an insurance broker that understands and specializes in the high-risk auto insurance market, all are important factors that will help you in your search for the best insurance company.

A high risk driver is someone that has a poor driving and/or payment history.  High risk drivers do not qualify for standard auto insurance rates and are forced into purchasing non-standard auto insurance, otherwise known as “high risk” auto insurance.  

You are no longer considered a high risk driver in Ontario when some or all your at-fault accidents come off your record in five years and traffic tickets and cancellations for non-payments after three years.

If you’re ineligible for standard auto insurance you will be forced to get insurance from the non-standard market, typically called “high risk”. If you have too many driving infractions, lack driving experience, have allowed your policy to lapse or have cancellations for non-payment, you have exceeded the underwriting criterion for standard auto insurance, requiring high risk insurance instead.

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Peter Martire, CIP, CRM, RIBO – Executive Editor and Insurance Advisor

Peter has been working in the insurance industry since 2005. He has over 18 years of experience adjudicating complex auto insurance claims and sales and service brokering. In March of 2024, he partnered with Begin Insurance Inc. as a Senior Insurance Advisor. He also serves as Executive Editor of carinsuranceinontario .ca.

Learn more.