Insuring Your Summer Vehicle During the Winter

By Team
A close-up of a silver car that is in storage and is covered. The headlight is peeking out from under the cover.

Some cars simply can’t handle all four seasons. They’re reserved for days when it’s warm, sunny, and free of the snow, slush, and salt that plague Canada’s roads in the winter. For these cars, it makes perfect sense to drive them during the warmer months and store it over the winter. But do you need to keep insurance coverage for your car for the full year if you have a car that’s pampered during the off-season? If you're storing or garaging your car, why can't you just get car insurance coverage for the times you are driving and forego it during the times when you're not?

Keep Your Car Insured

Cancelling your car insurance for a car you're storing over the winter isn't the best option. First, your car won't be covered if it's stolen or damaged while in storage. Second, you could see a premium increase in the spring when you start driving again and get a new policy. As one example, you could have had an accident while you were driving the previous year. If your company decided to forgive it before you cancelled, you will no longer have that benefit when you apply for a new policy. Cancelling a policy completely with no other insurance may also put you in the "high risk" driver category which raises premium rates.

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Penalties for An Uninsured Car

You can have stiff penalties if you drive without insurance in Canada. You're required to have insurance to register your car in Ontario. If you drive without insurance in Ontario, you could face a $5,000 fine for the first offence, and a surcharge of approximately 20%, making your total fine at least $6,200 and likely more. You can be charged additional fines of $5,000 up to $25,000 for a second offence. You will even get a surcharge of 20% on your registration. A citation for driving without registration is a $60 to $500 fine under the Compulsory Automobile Insurance Act.

Keep Comprehensive Coverage

The smartest way to save money on a car that you're storing over the winter and only driving in the summer is to keep your insurance policy and drop unnecessary coverage. Liability insurance is mandatory in Canada, but you may be able to drop or lower it while your car is in storage. As you won't be driving, you don't need the portion of your auto policy that covers collisions.

You will likely want to keep comprehensive coverage, which is the part of your car insurance that covers you in case of damage due to storms, fires, or theft. Fortunately, car insurance companies understand the reality of driving in Canada in warm weather and the need to store cars over the winter months.

Other Options for Summer Vehicles in Winter

You have a few other options for a vehicle you drive in the summer months and store over the winter. If your car is older, you may be eligible for classic car insurance. This insurance is designed for cars driven a modest amount during warm months. You may also have other options for auto policies that could cover the car or truck you drive in the warm months, and also snow vehicles you use in the winter.

The best way to find a company to give you an auto insurance policy that will provide the right amount of coverage at the right price is to locate companies and quotes and compare them. You can use to find insurance quotes and information about your best choices of insurance for cars that are stored over the winter in Canada.