Area of Law: Highway Traffic Law
Answer # 526
Driving without insuranceRegion: Ontario Answer # 526
Under the Compulsory Automobile Insurance Act of Ontario, it is illegal to drive a motor vehicle that is not insured. The law requires that every motor vehicle insurance policy include:
- Third Party Liability coverage – minimum of $200,000
- Uninsured Automobile coverage
- Statutory Accident Benefits coverage
- Direct Compensation – Property Damage coverage
In addition to these mandatory coverage requirements, there are also optional types of coverage available. Read 517 – Automobile insurance for more information. It is the driver’s responsibility to ensure that they are properly insured.
If you are stopped by the police, you must show them your insurance card if they ask for it. If you do not have your insurance card with you as a courtesy the police will sometimes give you 48 hours to go to the police station and show them your card, but they have no legal obligation to do so.
While driving without insurance is not an offence under the Criminal Code of Canada, it is a serious provincial offence.
The penalties for driving with no insurance in Ontario are as follows:
- a fine of between $5,000 and $25,000 on a first conviction
- a fine of between $10,000 and $50,000 on a 2nd or subsequent conviction
Your licence could be suspended for up-to one year, and your car could be impounded for up-to three months.
Under the Provincial Offences Act (POA), you are also subject to a 25% victim fine surcharge in addition to the fine imposed by the court. This would amount to a $1,250 victim fine surcharge in addition to a $5,000 fine, and a $12,500 victim fine surcharge in addition to a $50,000 fine.
The victim fine surcharge is forwarded to the Province of Ontario. Although it does not provide victims of accidents with any monetary reward, the funds are used to provide services to support victims of crime.
It is very difficult to defend yourself if you are charged with driving with no insurance. It is no defence that you thought you were insured or that you did not know you had to be insured, although that may help to reduce the amount of the fine imposed. Also, if you are involved in an accident you may have to personally pay for injuries and damages.
It is very important that you make sure that your vehicle is insured.
For more information on the penalties of driving without insurance, visit the Ministry of Transportation.
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