You might remember your driving school instructor going on about the importance of getting car insurance. We all know we’re supposed to have it, but sometimes people still drive without it. Do you know what would happen if a police officer caught you without it? Hopefully, you won’t learn the hard way!
In Ontario, each vehicle must have insurance of at least $200,000 to cover you in case you hurt someone else or damage their property. This is referred to as third-party liability insurance. Collision insurance, which covers your own property, is generally a good idea but is not legally required.
Insurance-related charges can quickly get very complicated. Much of the law on this topic is found in the Compulsory Automobile Insurance Act of Ontario. Technically, the charge for driving with no insurance is known as “operate motor vehicle without insurance” and it’s not to be taken lightly: a first conviction would set you back $5000 to $25,000 (plus a 25% surcharge) and a subsequent conviction would cost $10,000 to $50,000 in fines, plus 25%. Getting convicted a second time might result in a one-year license suspension and a possible vehicle impoundment of up to three months. Refusing to show your insurance card when asked by a police officer could carry a fine of up to $400.
Letting Someone Borrow Your Car
What if you let a friend drive your uninsured car? You could be charged because the responsibility for having insurance falls on the vehicle owner or person holding the lease. The same stiff penalties outlined above apply. But your friend isn’t completely off the hook. He/she may face a fine, though a much smaller one.
False or Invalid Insurance Cards
As would be expected, there are harsh penalties for presenting false evidence of insurance. If you give a false or invalid insurance card – even if you don’t know but simply ought to know that it’s false or invalid – you could be faced with a bill of $10,000 to $50,000 on a first conviction and double those amounts on a subsequent conviction. It’s important to stay up to date with your insurance because the card could be invalid before the expiration date.
A Word of Caution
It can be tempting, particularly for young drivers, to delay purchasing auto insurance. Income may not be very high or stable and rates tend to be higher for this group. A possible reason why premiums are often higher for them – that they’re at an increased risk of getting into an accident – is precisely why insurance is especially important. In the event of an accident, a driver who doesn’t have third-party liability insurance may have to cough up huge amounts. Driving without any insurance is not a risk worth taking – for anyone.
So keep your valid insurance card with you when you get behind the wheel and let’s hope you don’t face these unpleasant consequences. If you do find yourself in a tight spot, give us a call and the professionals at XCopper will help you out.