Does Temporary Car Insurance in Ontario Exist?

Ontario has some of the strictest driving regulations in Canada, and you can't drive a car on its roads without third-party liability insurance for at least $200,000. We're often asked if you can get temporary car insurance in Ontario. There are a few situations when you may need temporary auto insurance coverage, including:

  • Visitors to the province who are buying a car and planning to stay for one to six months, or
  • Ontario residents who are transferring ownership of a car and need a temporary license sticker, or
  • An Ontario resident who drives their car only a few months out of the year.

Temporary or short-term car insurance in Ontario

Most car insurance companies in Ontario issue policies for one year. Some insurance providers will provide a six-month policy. To get a shorter-term auto policy, some guides advise you to get a six-month or even a one-year policy, and then cancel it when it is no longer needed.

How do I get my car insured for Ontario's 10-day temporary special permit?

If you're visiting Ontario temporarily, you can get a special permit from the province. The permit will last for ten days. According to Service Ontario, you must have the following requirements to register your car and drive it on Ontario roads:

  • Proof of identity
  • The current vehicle permit
  • The back of the vehicle permit signed by the owner (or you, if you are the owner)
  • Name of the insurance company and policy number
  • A completed special permit application

If you will bring a car in from outside Canada, you will also need to complete the customs clearance vehicle import Form 1. If you have purchased your car in another Canadian province from a private owner, you will need to pay sales tax (RST or HST) when registering it in Ontario. If you are going to become an Ontario resident, you can declare an exemption from the tax.

What are options for short-term car insurance in Ontario?

If you have 6-month or annual car insurance policy and later cancel it when it is no longer needed, some car insurance companies may charge early cancellation fees. Look for auto insurance that won't charge an early termination or cancellation fee.

If you store your vehicle for most of the year and only drive it for a few weeks or months, you also have another option. You can pay for an annual policy but remove road, liability, and accident coverage during the time your vehicle is stored. You only need to keep comprehensive insurance while your car is garaged. Comprehensive insurance is the portion of your policy that offers coverage against fire, storm damage, or theft.

Do I need insurance with a temporary licence plate sticker?

You need car insurance even for a vehicle with a temporary licence plate sticker, but the car insurance won’t mirror the 10-day temporary licence plate sticker. A temporary licence plate sticker is intended to bridge the gap until the requirements for a regular licence plate sticker are completed. As a result, you will need long-term car insurance regardless when the regular sticker is obtained.

To learn more about registering and insuring a car in Ontario, visit the following Government of Ontario links:

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