Driving without Insurance Ontario 

driving without insurance ontario
Driving without auto insurance in Ontario, Canada

Driving without insurance in Ontario is illegal, and considered a serious driving offence by insurance companies. Driving without insurance violates the Compulsory Automobile Insurance Act of Ontario and the Ontario Highway Traffic Act. Liability insurance is required to legally drive or operate a vehicle on Ontario roads and highways. 

What is the penalty and fine for driving without insurance in Ontario?

The penalty for driving without insurance in Ontario is as follows:

  • a minimum fine of $5,000, but not more than $10,000 for the first offence
  • a minimum fine of $10,000, but not more than $50,000  
  • Court administrative fees of 25%, on top of your regular fine amount
  • a driver’s license suspension for up to a year 
  • impounding vehicle fees, including the cost of towing and storage
  • a potential lien placed on your vehicle if unable to pay impounding and tow fees
  • the inability to get standard auto insurance rates in the future. 
  • you’ll likely be a Facility risk should you decide to get car insurance directly after your driver’s license suspension, up to at least three years after the suspension. 

What Are The Driving Without Insurance Laws In Ontario?

Driving without insurance laws in Ontario are found in the Highway Traffic Act of Ontario and the Compulsory Automobile Insurance Act of Ontario. 

Under the Compulsory Automobile Insurance Act of Ontario, section 2 states the following:

2 (1) Subject to the regulations, no owner or lessee of a motor vehicle shall,

  1. operate the motor vehicle; or
  2. cause or permit the motor vehicle to be operated, on a highway unless the motor vehicle is insured under a contract of the automobile policy.
compulsory automobile insurance act section 2

The Highway Traffic Act of Ontario, section 24 (7), states the following regarding commercial vehicles and passenger vehicles:

24(7) (7) A person who contravenes a regulation made under clause (2) (a) or (b) is guilty of an offence and is liable on a first conviction to a fine of not less than $5,000 and not more than $25,000 and on each subsequent conviction to a fine of not less than $10,000 and not more than $50,000 and, in addition, the person’s driver’s licence may be suspended for not more than one year. 2020, c. 34, Sched. 23, s. 7 (6).

highway traffic act ontario driving without insurance

Is driving without insurance a criminal offence?

No, driving without insurance is not a criminal offence.  However, driving without auto insurance in Ontario violates the Highway Traffic Act and the Compulsory Automobile Insurance Act of Ontario. Driving without auto insurance is not a criminal offence, but still illegal under the  Compulsory Automobile Insurance Act of Ontario. 

Can you go to jail for driving without insurance in Ontario?

No, you will not go to jail for driving without insurance in Ontario, Canada.  Driving without auto insurance is not a criminal offence in Canada. 

How long does driving without insurance stay on your record in Ontario?

A fine for driving without insurance stays on your record for three years in Ontario

Can the police confirm if you’re driving uninsured in Ontario?      

Yes, the police can confirm if you’re driving without insurance by running a license plate search. The license plate search will reveal to the police if insurance coverage is confirmed or not.  In the spring of 2011, the police started using the Ontario Insurance Validation (OIV) system, maintained by the Insurance Bureau of Canada, to validate insurance coverage. This means the police can confirm, without a doubt, if auto insurance exists or not, at any time. The OIV is the same system the Ministry of Transportation (MTO) uses to confirm if you have valid insurance to renew your license plates. Now the police can use the same system to validate your insurance coverage, right on the spot!

What happens if you get into an accident without insurance in Ontario?

If you get into an accident without insurance in Ontario, you would be responsible for paying any loss or damage to the vehicle you’re driving. Depending on the degree of fault, you may also end up being responsible for the loss or damage you caused to any vehicle, pedestrian or property damage.  If you are deemed responsible to any degree, the insurance company of the not-at-fault vehicle, pedestrian or property owner will come after you for the money they paid out on their claim. This is called subrogation. 

You will also be charged and fined for not having valid auto insurance,  your vehicle towed and impounded, and your driver’s license will be suspended for one year.  

What happens if someone without insurance hits my vehicle?

In Ontario, if someone without insurance hits your vehicle you can claim for your loss or damages from the Uninsured Motorist Coverage of your auto policy.  You would be responsible for a mandatory $300 deductible, which your insurer would try and recoup, along with what was paid out on your claim.  Uninsured Motorist Coverage is capped at $25,000 for the damage to your vehicle, including compensation for the loss of use of your vehicle and contents. 

Driving without insurance Ontario: demerit points.

Demerit points are not affected by driving without insurance convictions in Ontario. However, insurance companies do NOT use demerit points as a way to calculate premiums.

Should I fight my no-insurance ticket in Ontario?

Fighting a no-insurance ticket in Ontario should be considered on a case-by-case basis. If you truly believe that you had auto insurance at the time of the charge, then it’s worth getting legal representation to have your case dropped.  In cases without disputing whether insurance was in force at the time of charge, you may still elect to get legal representation to reduce the $5,000 fine or penalty.  It’s probably worth fighting a no-insurance ticket in Ontario, whether you know you did not carry a valid insurance policy or not! 

How to report someone driving without insurance in Ontario?

If you suspect or know someone is driving without auto insurance in Ontario, call your local municipal or provincial police to report the driver. 

What happens if I get caught without car insurance and pulled over for speeding?

If you are caught without car insurance and also get a speeding ticket, you’ll most likely receive all the penalties and fines that come with speeding, and also for not having valid insurance! Not having insurance is a far greater offence than a minor speeding. 

Driving a motorcycle without insurance in Ontario

The law doesn’t discriminate between motorcycles and other types of plated vehicles in Ontario. Therefore if you drive your motorcycle without insurance you would face the same consequences as if your motorcycle was a car or any other type of vehicle. 

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.

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