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This is not a legal document and does not in any way modify or replace your auto insurance policy.
Auto Insurance – It’s the Law!
Ontario law requires that all motorists have auto insurance.
Fines for vehicle owners, lessees, and drivers who do not carry valid auto insurance can range from $5,000 to $50,000.
If you are found driving without valid auto insurance, you can have your driver’s licence suspended and your vehicle impounded.
If you are convicted of driving without valid auto insurance, your insurance company may consider you a « high-risk » driver and charge you higher premiums or refuse to sell you insurance altogether. If you are injured in an accident while driving or occupying an uninsured vehicle:
- you may not be entitled to receive income replacement and/or non-earner benefits; and
- you may not be allowed to sue the at-fault driver for compensation as a result of injuries received in the accident.
More importantly, if you are found to be at fault for an accident causing injury or death to another person, you may be held personally responsible for his/her medical costs and other losses.
Where Can You Purchase Auto Insurance?
You have several options. You may purchase auto insurance from a licensed:
- insurance broker;
- insurance agent; or
- direct writer.
Insurance brokers sell insurance on behalf of a number of different insurance companies and will find you the best rate just from those companies. You have the right to ask your broker to provide you with the names of all the companies he or she represents.
Insurance agents generally represent only one insurance company.
Direct writers are insurance companies that sell their own insurance products directly to consumers.
There are several ways to find an insurance agent, broker, or direct writer:
- Ask family and friends if they would recommend their own broker, agent, insurance company, or direct writer.
- Consult your local business telephone directory under « Insurance Agents, » « Insurance Brokers » and « Insurance-General. »
- To locate a broker near you, visit www.myinsuranceshopper.ca or learn more at the Insurance Brokers Association of Ontario (IBAO) .
- For information on insurance companies, visit Insurance Bureau of Canada (IBC) .
- For information on direct writers, visit Canadian Association of Direct Relationship Insurers (CADRI) .
There are many insurance companies who sell auto insurance in Ontario, so it is important to do your homework. There are six things you should think about when selecting your agent, broker or insurance company. All are important:
- Licensed: Remember, insurance can only be sold by a licensed broker, agent or insurance company in Ontario. To find out if your insurance broker is licensed to do business in the province, visit the Registered Insurance Brokers of Ontario website.
- Rates: Many companies sell insurance policies and rates vary greatly from one to another, so it pays to shop around. Get at least three quotes from different direct writers, brokers and agents.
- Coverage: While basic auto insurance policies are standardized to some extent, it’s still important to compare policies in terms of coverage as the particular amounts and range of coverage (for example: deductibles, limits and optional coverages) may differ from company to company.
- Claims or Accident Forgiveness: You may want to question what the company’s practices are if you have an at-fault claim or under what circumstances your insurance would not be renewed. Most insurers have some accident forgiveness provisions, or you can purchase an endorsement to receive this coverage. Insurers can no longer use a minor at-fault accident that occurs on or after June 1, 2016 meeting certain criteria to increase your premiums. The criteria include that no payment has been made by any insurer, that there are no injuries, and that damages to each car and property were less than $2,000 per car and were paid by the at-fault driver. This provision is limited to one minor accident every three years.
- Service: When making your insurance purchasing decision remember, it is not always wise to buy the cheapest insurance policy you can find. Shop around to compare service as well as price.
- Comfort: Whether you buy it from an agent, a broker, or directly from the company, you should feel comfortable with your insurance purchase. Select an insurance representative who takes the time to answer your questions. Make sure that the agent, broker or company will be easy to reach if you have a question or need to file a claim.
Approaching Your Broker, Agent or Insurance Company
In order to quote you a premium, or sell you an automobile insurance policy, your broker, agent or insurance company will require some basic information about:
- your vehicle;
- your driving record;
- your current broker, agent or insurance company; as well as
- any other drivers.
It’s a good idea to have all this information on hand before you contact your insurance representative. Use this printable version of the table below to help you.
You must be accurate and honest, and update your insurance representative if your circumstances change. Your auto insurance rates are based on the information you have given to your broker, agent, or insurance company. An insurance company has the right to cancel your policy if the information you have given is not correct or complete. Non-disclosure or misrepresentation on your part of any of these facts could cause your rates to go up. Furthermore, it could render your policy null and void, and leave you without protection in the event of a claim.
Note: Auto insurance companies and their agents/brokers are prohibited from requiring that you consent to the collection and use of your credit information before providing an insurance quote or offering to renew a policy. They are also prohibited from using credit information when they respond to requests for quotes, or process applications for automobile insurance or renewals of policies.
Remember, it is not only the driver but also the owner of the vehicle who is liable when an accident is caused with his or her vehicle. This puts a heavy onus on owners to ensure that they give only licensed and competent drivers permission to operate their vehicle!
|Year:||Distance driven one way to work:|
|Annual mileage:||Do you use your car for business? Y N|
|Vehicle Identification Number (VIN):|
|Your Current Broker, Agent, or Insurance Company and Coverages/Deductibles and Rates|
|Phone:||Insurance policy number:|
|Your current annual insurance rate:|
|You (as principal driver)|
|Number of years you have been licensed to drive in Canada or the U.S.:|
|Your driver’s licence number:|
|Has your policy ever been cancelled for non-payment or any other reason?|
|Did you receive a Driver Training Certificate? Y N|
|List details of all accidents and claims in the past 6 years:|
|List details of all traffic violations (not including parking tickets) in the past 3 years:|
|Other (Occasional) Drivers|
|Number of years licensed to drive in Canada or the U.S.:|
|Date of receiving G1, G2 and G license:|
|Did they receive driver training? Y N||Do they have a Driver Training Certificate? Y N|
|List details of all accidents and claims in the past 6 years.|
|List details of all traffic violations (not including parking tickets) in the past 3 years.|
Be prepared to ask some questions of your own so that you can compare quotes:
- How do I reach you if I need to ask a question or file a claim?
- Are there any optional coverages I should consider?
- Please break down the premium costs to me for each optional coverage I have selected or receive as part of my standard auto policy.
- How will my premium be affected if I am in an accident?
- What discounts does the insurance company offer?