Ontario Auto Insurance Lapses and Driver’s License Suspensions

insurance lapses and drivers license suspensions ontario

What Does It Mean For Your Auto Insurance to Lapse?

A lapse in insurance coverage is a period when insurance coverage is not in force.

Insurance lapses will cause gaps in continued insurance coverage that might affect your car insurance cost negatively.  An example would be a lapse of insurance caused by a DUI conviction which would usher you into the non-standard auto insurance market.

However, some lapses and gaps in insurance coverage do not affect your auto insurance premium.

An example would be a lapse of auto insurance coverage due to medical reasons, or simply choosing not to drive.

Lapses are interruptions of continued insurance coverage caused by:

  • choosing not to drive or have auto insurance
  • administrative driver’s license suspensions
  • non-administrative driver’s license suspension
  • cancellation for non-payment of insurance premium
  • any other cancellations for auto insurance policy violations
  • non-renewal due to not meeting insurance underwriting eligibility

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Treatment of Lapses in Insurance Coverage

Auto insurance companies are allowed to use certain lapses for risk classification but require the premium to be reasonable and proportional to the magnitude of the risk classification.

For example: a lapse that resulted from cancellation for non-payment shouldn’t result in a premium increase of the same magnitude as a lapse where the person was convicted of driving without insurance.

Auto insurance companies in Ontario need to ensure that the reason for the lapse, and its severity, are properly reflected in determining the cost of auto insurance.

Administrative Driver’s License Suspensions:

Administrative driver’s license suspensions are usually tied to non-moving violations.

Reasons can include:

  • Non-renewal or expiry of driver’s license because you forgot to renew
  • Temporary medical conditions
  • Unpaid parking tickets
  • Outstanding Child Support Payments to the Family Responsibility Office
  • Outstanding payment to the Motor Vehicle Accident Claims Fund is considered an (ADLS) Administrative lapse because there is no driving offence CONVICTION connected with the Suspension

How does an Administrative Driver’s License Suspension Affect Me?

  • If an administrative lapse or suspension is under one year an auto insurance company is not allowed to use the lapse or suspension for rating purposes, however,
  • Some auto insurance companies can rate administrative lapses and suspensions of a driver’s license when the length of the lapse or suspension is between 12 and 36 months, and the auto insurance company has filled properly with the governing body, the Financial Services Regulatory Authority, or FSRA.
  • A rate filing for administrative lapses and driver’s license suspensions must be subject to the review and approval process of the financial services of Ontario, FSRA, otherwise, auto insurance companies can’t use lapses and administrative driver’s license suspensions of 12 to 36 months in length for rating purposes.

Administrative Driver License Suspension

Administrative driver’s license suspensions are treated as follows:

  • Insurance companies are not allowed to rate for administrative lapses or suspensions that are less than one year
  • If the lapse or suspension is between 12 and 36 months the insurance company can use that as part of their risk criteria
  • An insurance company can only rate for a lapse or suspension of a driver’s license, between 12 and 36 months, if actuarial evidence and proposed rating rules are submitted to, and accepted by FSRA, Financial Services Regulatory Authority, formerly known as FSCO.
  • If the lapse or suspension of a driver’s license is more than 36 months, the Insurance Company can use that as part of their rating criteria without having to provide additional actuarial evidence, subject to meeting the requirements of statutory criteria.

Continuous Insurance Records and Insurance Gaps

A lapse will affect your continued insurance record.  Depending on how many years you’ve been insured this can impact you slightly or significantly. As you can imagine a newer driver would be affected more.

A non-administrative license suspension will impact the calculation of the years continuously licensed. Years continuously licensed will be established by the length of time since the license was reinstated.

All administrative license suspensions will not impact the calculation of years continuously licensed.

Non-Administrative Driver’s License Suspensions:

Non-administrative driver’s license suspensions will affect your auto insurance cost. To what degree depends on your driving record.

Reasons can include:

  • violating section 2 of the Compulsory Automobile Insurance Act during the lapse in coverage (not having insurance)
  • the termination of a policy of automobile insurance as a result of the insured person’s failure to pay the premiums due under the policy,
  • the suspension of the insured person’s driver’s license as a result of a conviction for an offence related to the use or operation of an automobile, or
  • an accident or a conviction for an offence related to the use or operation of an automobile, if the insured person did not inform the insurer of the accident or conviction, the accident or conviction would likely have led to the insured person being charged a higher premium.

How does a Non-Administrative Driver License Suspension Affect Me?

A non-administrative license suspension will impact the calculation of the years continuously licensed. Years continuously licensed will be established by the length of time since the license was reinstated.

How Long Does a Suspended License Stay on Your Record in Ontario?

A driver’s license suspension in Ontario is documented on your MVR (Motor Vehicle Report) for three years.  Once the driver’s license suspension is off your motor vehicle record you still need to disclose the suspension to your insurance broker. Not disclosing it could cause a cancellation later down the road and could affect insurance coverage.  Also, Insurance Brokers will be able to ascertain any suspensions from other background checks.

Can you get Insurance with a Suspended License?

No. An Ontario driver’s license is required of at least a G2 standing before auto insurance can be purchased.

Years Licensed During Administrative Lapse or Suspension

The time during an administrative lapse or suspension of your driver’s license does not count towards an increase in the number of years you’ve been licensed.


Mr. Smith has had a driver’s license for 10 years

After the 3-year lapse expires, Mr. Smith still has a total of 10 years of having his

Driver’s license.

The 3-year lapse does not count towards his driving total time licensed.

What Happens If You Get Caught Driving with a Suspended License in Ontario?

Driving with a suspended driver’s license in Ontario is an auto insurance policy violation and also an offence under the Highway Traffic Act of Ontario.

Getting caught driving while your driver’s license is suspended will probably result in:

  • The monetary fine is between $1,000 to $50,000, depending on whether it’s a first or second offence, and if the violation falls under the Highway Traffic Act of Ontario or the Criminal Code of Canada. (i.e. dangerous driving or DUI/DWI)

The Ontario automobile policy OAP 1 states, section 7.2.2 Illegal Use:

  • We won’t pay for loss or damage caused in an incident: if you drive the automobile while not authorized by law

Driving while your license is suspended means you’re not authorized to drive by law. Even if you mistakenly forget to renew your driver’s license and get caught driving with a lapsed or expired license, you would have violated a policy condition.  Unfortunately, this would be a reason to deny your car insurance claim and may also leave you in a position where you would be responsible for the injuries and damages of others involved.

How Do I Know If My License Has Been Suspended?

You can check the status of your Ontario driver’s license by either visiting an MTO (Ministry of Transportation) office near you or by going to their website and ordering one online.

You’ll be able to check and see the status of your Ontario driver’s license here.

A driver’s license check includes the status of your license, any conditions that are required (i.e. ignition lock), and if you can drive your commercial vehicle in the United States.

Does a License Suspension Affect Insurance?

A driver’s license suspension may or may not affect your car insurance premium.  This depends on the reason for the suspension of your driver’s license.  A Driver’s license suspension is divided into two categories: Administrative and Non-administrative Suspensions.

Since driver’s license suspensions are usually tied with either a moving or non-moving violation, it’s not only the suspension that can hurt you but the action that caused it, as well.

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.