Visitors to Canada may consider buying a car instead of renting one if they are planning to stay for an extended period of time. Cheap used cars can be found for less than a thousand dollars, especially if they are older. Renting a vehicle for a couple months could cost you double or triple that amount, so the answer seems quite clear. But the decision may not be that simple.
Car insurance is required by law in Canada. Whether you are renting or plan to own, you need to have it. Tourists can purchase car insurance through their rental company, it may already be provided through their credit card, or they may bring their own. However, you will need to find your own insurance if you plan on purchasing a car. Without the need for a long-term insurance policy you may ask yourself, does temporary car insurance exist in Ontario?
Temporary Car Insurance In Ontario
Not all insurance companies offer temporary car insurance, but you may find one that will issue a short-term policy. Ontario car insurance is typically sold for 12-month periods, although you may be able to purchase a 6-month policy. If you plan on travelling for a shorter time, this wouldn’t be budget friendly.
Signing one of these contracts doesn’t mean you can’t get out of your policy early, however, you could be subject to cancellation fees. These fees vary by company and the price of the policy. It could be worth consulting a broker to see how much the fees may set you back or if they still fall within budget.
Buying Car Insurance If You Are A Non-Resident
Even after you have crunched the numbers, you may encounter another road block. You typically need an Ontario’s driver’s licence to purchase car insurance within the province. The system isn’t designed for temporary drivers.
Registering Your Car
If you are able to obtain temporary car insurance, the next step would be to register your vehicle. You must register the car within six days of purchase and pay the associated fees.
To do this you will require:
- Your driver’s licence
- A complete used vehicle information package
- Proof of purchase
- Proof of insurance
- The original vehicle permit from the seller
- The plate purchase portion of the permit (if you already have a licence plate)
- Safety Standards Certificate
You should double check the list of requirements from ServiceOntario before you make the trip.
Once you have registered your vehicle at a ServiceOntario you will get a vehicle permit, licence plate, and licence plate sticker.
To learn more about registering and insuring a car in Ontario, visit the following Government of Ontario links:
Once you add up the prices for the vehicle, insurance, registration, Safety Standards Certificate, and licence plate fees, you may not save as much as originally thought. The amount of time and effort this process takes would also eat into your vacation.
If you choose to buy a rental car, consider paying for it with your credit card. Your credit card, as well as your travel insurance may cover your car insurance. They may even cover roadside assistance, which you would otherwise have to purchase. The rental car company would also be there if anything were to go wrong.
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