Ask Anne Marie: Can I Drive a Vehicle Without Insurance in an Emergency?

A woman sitting in the driver's seat of her car looking worried and stressed.

We frequently feature insurance questions sent to our resident insurance expert, Anne Marie Thomas. This week’s question is about driving without insurance and if there is an occasion when it is ever okay to do so.

The question comes from Melu, who asks:

“[Can a person ever drive a vehicle without insurance?] What if you own the vehicle, but it isn't insured, and you want to just use it for a one-time trip (take a friend for surgery), or even sell it?”

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Every province in Canada requires motorists to carry auto insurance, and getting caught without coverage is no small fine. In Ontario, for example, a first offence starts at $5,000, and in Alberta, it’s $2,875. But are there ever any exceptions to the rule? Anne Marie explains:

“If a vehicle is not insured, you CANNOT legally drive the vehicle, even in an emergency. There is no jurisdiction in Canada where driving without auto insurance on public roads would be permitted. You can't even let someone test drive the vehicle without insurance. Your only choice to legally drive a vehicle is to have it insured and then cancel the policy once the vehicle is sold.”

Extra Q&As about driving without insurance

This isn’t the first question Anne Marie has received on the topic of driving without insurance. The following are some of the other recent questions she has received: