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The Cost of Not Having Auto Insurance in an Accident

August 4, 2014

It’s mandatory to have insurance if you’re driving a car in Canada no matter which province or territory you reside in. While each province handles insurance in a different way—in some province’s it’s government run, while in others it’s government regulated—the law remains the same: if you’re caught driving in Canada without auto insurance, you will be fined. If you’re in an accident, that fine is only the beginning of what is sure to be a costly affair.

Driving Without Insurance

The fines for driving without insurance vary greatly across the country. British Columbia’s fine is a little more modest with a minimum of $598. Alberta’s minimum is substantially higher at $2,875, with Ontario’s even more so: a minimum of $5,000 plus a mandatory 25 per cent victim fine surcharge, bringing the minimum fine to at least $6,250. Not to mention, driving without insurance can lead to license suspensions and vehicle impoundments, which come with their own costs.

If you get caught driving without insurance for a second time, then these fines increase exponentially.

The reason for this is simple. Cars are fast moving, heavy vehicles that have the potential to cause a lot of damage—to yourself and your property, and also to other people, their property, and the property around you. Insurance protects you and others on the road, and can prevent you from having to pay the heavy costs that can come with an accident.

Still, there are some Canadians who drive without insurance under the impression paying the fine is more practical than paying insurance. Not only is this illegal, but it’s a financial gamble that is certainly not worth the risk.

Here’s why.

Average Accident Costs

The Insurance Research Council’s Auto Injury Insurance Claims Study found that in 2012, the average cost of an auto liability claim for property damage was $3,073, and the average cost for an auto liability claim for bodily injury was $14,653 (US). Even something as seemingly simple as a rear ending another car can range in cost from a couple hundred dollars to $10,000, depending on the extent of the damages. These are expenses your insurance company would typically cover, but without insurance you could be sued and found liable for the damages. This is on top of the cost of repairing or replacing your own vehicle.

Ticket Costs

Uninsured (and unlicensed) drivers are the most likely to flee the scene of an accident. Like driving without insurance, failing to remain at the scene of an accident (often called a “hit and run”) is illegal and comes with serious consequences. You could be charged under your provincial highway act or you could be charged under the criminal code.

In Ontario, for example, drivers found guilty of fleeing the scene face incarceration for up to six months, risk losing their drivers licence for two years, and face fines ranging from $200 to $2,000—not to mention accumulating seven demerit points. Drivers found guilty under the criminal code face jail time of up to five years.

If the driver had auto insurance, they would likely face serious premium increases sometimes amounting to surcharges as much as 250 per cent on top of what the driver was already paying. In more severe cases, the insurance company could cancel the policy. However, if the driver didn’t have insurance to begin with, it will be very difficult for them to find a provider after the fact. And once they do, they can expect hefty premiums as these convictions will stay on their insurance record for at least three years.

All convictions go on a driver’s record, which means each insurer as well as other provinces have access to this information. For Ontario drivers, the States of New York and Michigan also have access to driver history due to a reciprocal agreement made between the province and those States.

Towing Costs

Towing costs vary not just by province, but also by city. Some jurisdictions such as in Toronto, Ontario have bylaws in place to regulate the cost of rates for vehicle towing. If you’re in an accident on a Toronto highway, the towing fee will average $230, the maximum fee allowed, for the cost of the towing and the fees for one day of storage. This does not include taxes. In other cities, the price ranges. Many companies offer a base rate plus a cost for each kilometre driven, as well as additional storage fees.

Drivers who have purchased collision or all perils insurance will normally have this fee covered by their insurance even if they are at fault, but drivers without insurance will be left footing the bill.

Adding It Up

If you’re a Toronto-based driver and you get in accident you’re looking at costs averaging at least $25,000—and that’s if you stick around. If you flee, you’re not only facing additional fines, but you risk going to jail for months, if not years.

Accidents can happen to anyone, even good and safe drivers. Compare auto insurance quotes today to make sure you’re not only protected, but that you’re getting the best rate possible.

  • http://www.insurancehotline.com/ InsuranceHotline.com


    You can check with a lawyer to see if she has a legal right to sue for her loss.

  • Brian

    I’ve had 36 years of accident free driving and have been insured for all of those years. I’ve paid out over $50,000 dollars in insurance fees and have nothing to show for it. Insurance is one of those intangable items and i guess you can’t put a price on the peace of mind of knowing that if you are in an accident you would be covered. However with the declining amount of coverage that is given by the insurance companies you wonder if that reallly will be enough. Insurance is one of those itms you wish you never have to use.

  • http://www.insurancehotline.com/ InsuranceHotline.com


    Each vehicle that you own and drive must have it’s own insurance in order for their to be coverage.

  • Amwooo

    Tony Gee is absolutely right. I was just in a horrendous accident. I didn’t have insurance. I lost hours at work at couldn’t afford it. Now.. I wont be able to afford insurance for the next 2 years and because if that- the loss of transportation- I may loose my job. If insurance was more affordable I wouldn’t be in this situation. I pay out thousands in taxes each year. The government enjoys more of my hard earned money than I do..

  • Bob

    Hello everyone, I was recently pulled over by police for a random check
    ….they run my plates and found that my validation sticker was not
    matching the plate ….I know that, because mine was expired and I just
    took one from another car. But the real problem was that I did not have
    the proof of insurance too….got nailed with 4 tickets and my car was
    towed to home…I have no prior traffic violations for 15 years of
    driving, and I was fully covered for a year with my personal car but had
    to cancel the insurance because instead of reducing the premiums they
    sent me a later for increasing it – reason:to many new drivers in my
    Toronto neighborhood !?!
    I was not covered with personal insurance
    for exactly a month, but I`m listed in my employer’s commercial policy
    as a courier driver. I insured the car right the next day after the
    tickets – better late than never….Is there a way my charges to be
    dropped for the first offense of this type or anything that wold help me
    in court. And how long will this offense will stay on my record if I
    got charged…..does my personal insurance will affect my work
    -commercial insurance in some way.
    Thank you

  • Puneet Gaind

    Hello, I am from Edmonton, Alberta and my situation is that my car was parked in the parking lot of my apartment building and one morning I found out that my rear bumper was hit and a huge piece was missing and I had a doubt on my neighbour because that lady doesn’t know how to drive and she the worst when it comes to parking so I called the police and my insurance and they told me to wait for my neighbour to come back. I got back home from work and I saw my neighbour’s car in the parking lot and I saw the piece of my rear bumper stuck on their front bumper. I called the police again and they came and took pictures and called the onwer of the car and he came outside to talk to the police. The fact is that the lady was driving the car, not her boy friend because shes the one who goes somewhere in the morning. But I have nothing to prove that. Anyways, I was told to wait for the police report. I finally got the police report a couple of days ago and I saw that my neighbour don’t even have insurance. It was a shock for me because I had heard from people that if other party doesn’t have insurance than I would have to pay for my deductable. I called my insurance and told them what was on the police report and my adjustor told me what I didn’t want to hear. I have to pay the dedutable. Unfortunately my deductable is $1000 because thats the only way I can afford my insurance. My adjustor told me that they will go after the other party to pay for everything and if they still don’t do then they will send them letters from the lawyer. But for now I have to pay for the deductable. I can see them still driving their car and I am pretty sure that their car wasn’t towed or anything on that day because as per the law I think their car should have been towed. My estimate came upto $800 so I have to pay that. So my question is what can I do in this situation? Is it true what my adjustor is saying? Do I just leave everything on my insurance company? Should I get my car repaired or wait until everything is sorted out? My neighbour still didn’t come to me and apologized and instead I heard them saying that I was a coward for going to the police for this. I really wanna teach them a lesson and make them suffer for what they did. Is there anything I can do to teach them a leason? I would really appreciate if someone can help me out on this situation. Sorry for such a big novel.

  • Lola

    Insurance is ridiculous. I missed a payment because I had changed banks when I moved. They can celled for non payment…now I have to pay a full years insurance up front. Can’t do that as it’s a lot up front. so I’m 6 months pregnant, driving 2.5 hrs to work and no insurance. My only other option would be to just not drive to work and live off other people’s taxes, I refuse to do that. sometimes it’s circumstance, not because people are bad that they don’t have insurance.

  • brantford1

    Check out ICBC in B.C.
    A out of control monster when it comes to dealing with insurance.
    Why is that? Because it’s a monopoly, and what they say, goes.

  • joooo

    hello bob , i have same situation , i can’t find any good help .plz email me

  • Tom

    I agree with your statement. Insurance was never meant to be for profit, yet brokers and insurance companies sure do have nice properties and other luxury items. I’ve been in facility insurance and was paying about $500 a month for insurance. This, all based on TICKETING. I’ve NEVER caused an at fault accident, never drink and drive, am always sober behind the wheel and drive with a lot of care. As a matter of fact, I’m so careful that not to long ago a young girl crossed my path (maybe 5 or 6 yrs old) and if were even a few more km/p/h she could have been seriously hurt.

  • Scott

    Well I have insurance I was injured in a car accident can’t work can’t do my job in horrible pain all the time. The other driver ran a stop sign while texting on her phone. I had insurance they had insurance both through ICBC. So far no lost wages I got 0. Spent 10,000 in medical bills so far I’ve gotten 0. My car is still messed up and not fully repaired (they cheap out every way they can) The other driver even admitted fault still haven’t gotten anything. It’s to bad it’s your own fucken problem that’s what a person in the ICBC call center said to me. So try not being able to work not being able to pay the medical bills have nothing. 1 accident really screwed me I rather never buy insurance again after this crap. ICBC is a joke. They could at least pay the medical bills but they don’t.

  • Scott

    O the no fault benfits on the website are a lie. Even if I crashed my car into the pole by accident I should get the no fault benfits which cover wage lose ect. I didn’t even get that’s how bad ICBC is. They simply go Well we will pay once we settle to bad eat it.

  • toyota

    The fines do not represent the cost to the people who are hurt in an accident involving uninsured. Would the fines and medical costs be covered with the paltry fines in place?
    Someone has to pay right? Seems like a vicious circle.

  • lynnette powell

    I accidentally backed into a car parked across from the end of my driveway. When the police came, I had to show them my insurance and discovered that it had expired on me. I was in a similar situation which I went to court eight years ago for and they put me on a SR-22 for three years. I checked my driving record and I have all my points and it does show when the SR-22 ended which was in 2010. I was hoping that someone could tell me if that will make a difference when I have to go back for this. I am going to get insurance back up before my court date.

  • Monty Burns

    That’s what the government is, a bunch of criminals jockeying for position to see who can get the higher pay and pension while fleecing us for as much as technically possible. Nothing has changed from centuries ago where they had kings, queens, and peons other than the titles (political leaders and citizens).

  • Derek

    If you got to small claims court and win, you can submit the info to Driver Fitness in Alberta and they will suspend the drivers license. Get something from your insurance stating no coverage was available and send it to the police, they will issue a ticket to go to court, new fine for that is 3300 minimum.
    To all you fuckers out there driving with no insurance, it really sucks when I pay my liability and get hit. You worry about paying your insurance, who worries about fixing my car.

  • Jack Black

    Stop driving your big redneck pickup truck

  • Mark

    Is there jail time for no insurance unsafe vehicle driving with a g1 an plates not registered to your truck an expired in Ontario

  • Mark

    Ya what about people that can’t afford it I got 4 fines because the f…king government won’t let you put insurance on your vehicle with a g1 an why has laws changed when back 30 years ago go in an write your 365 an go back the next day an get your full license this world is f…ked cause of these guys pull someone over there you paid my days of work….

  • http://www.insurancehotline.com/ InsuranceHotline.com

    best to check with a lawyer on that.

  • Azmat Ali

    I am new to Canada. For me, despite having more than 25 years of safe driving experience in one of the World’s craziest driving locations (South Asia), I am paying an amount of insurance that is equal to the amount of money I am paying to finance my cars. That’s beyond ridiculous. $716 per month. Two cars, two drivers, A G and a G2 license. That is highway robbery; nothing less.
    On an occasion, when someone rear-ended by cousin’s car, they asked for the matter to be settled without insurance involvement. The cost estimate for the slight dent in the bumper came to $700 (in itself damned ridiculous). However, the poor chap didn’t have that much, so they had to revert back to claiming from insurance. The actual cost charged to the Insurance Company by the workshop was $2,400!!!! Compute that. They were willing to repair it for $700 if in cash / credit card, but charged the insurance company $2,400.
    I cannot imagine why this is being allowed to perpetuate.

  • Anonymous

    Ur an ass, this guy is making perfect sense so shut the hell up u Prius fuck

  • Jack

    There is no control over the insurance companies in Ontario, The cost of insurance is really high, if u involve in an accident they will take the advantage to increase up to 250% or cancel the insurance on u. Then why the hell is insurance for? And if u don’t have insurance the Pawlice will charge u minimum of $5000. This is really brutal.

  • jack

    There is no control over the insurance companies in Ontario, The cost of insurance is really high, if u involve in an accident they will take the advantage to increase up to 250% or cancel the insurance on u. Then why the hell is insurance for? And if u don’t have insurance the Pawlice will charge u minimum of $5000. This is really brutal