I often get this question, about temporary car insurance in Ontario, usually from one of two groups of drivers:
- visitors to Canada who are planning on buying a car, instead of renting, for the time they’re travelling (usually people who are planning on being here for a month or two, or more), or
- residents who—in the process of transferring ownership of a car—need to get a temporary licence plate sticker.
Temporary Car Insurance In Ontario (or short term car insurance)
The fact is, in Ontario, not all insurance companies offer temporary car insurance. Check with an insurance broker to see if they have a company who will issue a short-term policy. You might have to go through the Facility Association.
Car insurance in Ontario is typically sold for 12-month periods, although you can sometimes get a 6-month policy too. That’s not to say you can’t get out of a policy though, you would just need to cancel it. However, cancelling mid-policy often comes with a cancellation fee. These fees vary by company, the price of your policy and how far along you are into your current contract.
So does that mean travellers coming to Canada have to buy a short term 6-month or 12-month car insurance policy and simply cancel it (and absorb the cancellation fee) when they’re ready to return home?
Perhaps, however visitors to Canada often abandon the idea of buying and insuring a car in Ontario when they discover that in order to insure a car in Ontario you typically need an Ontario driver’s licence. The set-up of buying, registering and insuring a car in Ontario isn’t designed for short-term, temporary, drivers.
Driving with a temporary licence plate sticker requires car insurance though doesn’t it?
Yes. You need car insurance even for a vehicle with a temporary licence plate sticker, but no, 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, temporary car insurance doesn’t make sense given that longer term car insurance would be needed anyway once the regular sticker is obtained.
To learn more about registering and insuring a car in Ontario, visit the following Government of Ontario links: