Driving without Insurance is Risky and Why you may be Uninsured and not Know it

Posted by Injury Lawyers of Ontario on January 02, 2021

In Ontario, it’s illegal to drive a motor vehicle without insurance.  Nevertheless, over 2000 accidents involving uninsured drivers occur every year in Ontario.  The cost for the damages that result from these collisions is about $125 Million annually, and these costs are paid for by Ontario’s licensed drivers, in the form of insurance premiums and vehicle licensing fees.

If caught driving without insurance, vehicle owners and drivers face a minimum fine of $5000 to a maximum fine of $25,000, for a first offence.  Further offences can result in a fine of $10,000 to $50,000.  As well, an uninsured driver or owner can have their driver’s licence suspended and their vehicle impounded.

There are times where a driver may actually be unaware that they are driving without insurance.  If you were involved in an action that violated your insurance contract, you may be unaware that you are effectively driving without insurance.  For example, if you get a speeding ticket and don’t pay it back in time, your licence will be automatically suspended and it won’t be re-instated after you pay the ticket unless you also paid the re-instatement fee.  Some drivers continue to drive during this period without realizing that their licence is suspended, often due to being unaware that there was a re-instatement fee that must be paid, and as a result, they have violated the terms of their vehicle insurance policy and are effectively uninsured.

In you have been convicted of driving without insurance and at some point, you want to qualify for automobile insurance, the insurance company will consider you to be a ‘high risk’ driver.  Being designated a high-risk driver means that some insurance companies will refuse to insure you altogether, or alternatively, you will be charged significantly higher premiums.

Also, if you get into an accident while you’re in violation of any of the terms of your vehicle insurance policy, your insurance company is not obligated to pay a statutory accident claim for vehicle damage or personal injury.  In addition to driving with a suspended or invalid licence, lying on your insurance application or allowing a driver without a valid licence to drive your vehicle are other grounds that your insurer can use to render you uninsured in an accident claim.   And, if the driver of your vehicle was convicted of a criminal offence, such as drunk driving or dangerous driving, your auto insurance company is not obligated to pay for vehicle damage arising from the accident. 

Whether you’re the driver or a passenger in an uninsured vehicle that’s involved in an accident, you may not be eligible to claim income replacement or non-earner benefits under no-fault benefits provisions.  You may also not be eligible to sue the at fault driver for damages resulting from any injuries you sustained in the accident.    And, if you are an unlicensed driver who caused serious injury or death to another road user, you may be personally liable for the accident victim’s medical costs and other losses.

Find out more at: www.fsco.gov.on.ca/en/auto/brochures/Pages/brochure_auoins.aspx 

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