How to add insurance to a new car

Imagine driving off the lot in your shiny new car, so excited to have your new set of wheels that you don’t notice the break lights in front of you—and wham! You rear-end an SUV, damaging both vehicles, giving the other driver whiplash. This kind of scenario is the one of several key reasons you need to get new car insurance before you make your purchase.

You can’t drive without car insurance, legally, and most dealerships won’t let you drive off the lot without providing proof of insurance. You can do this by presenting your policy card, or they may want to confirm directly with your insurance provider.

“More than 2,000 uninsured vehicles are involved in reported traffic accidents every year in Ontario.”

Injury Lawyers of Ontario

You may be thinking, “that will never happen to me—I’m willing to take the risk.” Unfortunately, thousands of Ontario drivers choose to drive uninsured every year and the fact is that it’s just not worth it.

The cost of uninsured drivers

Not only are there several penalties for driving without insurance (including paying thousands in fines), but the rest of the province pays for damages caused this way. It’s estimated that Ontario’s drivers pay approximately $11 more on their auto policies so insurers can cover the cost of claims involving uninsured drivers.

Not cool.

Why? It covers the damage caused by uninsured vehicles when they get in an accident. The Ontario Motor Vehicle Claims Fund takes a bit of this money to cover claims for those who have been injured by an uninsured vehicle—about $250 million between 1996 and 2016, according to Injury Lawyers of Ontario.

How to add insurance to your new car

So what’s the solution to avoid any of these frightening fines? Follow these steps, starting with the documents you’ll need for a car insurance quote.

  • Get the make, model, and year of every car on your short list, along with the vehicle identification number (VIN).
  • List your driver’s license, recent traffic violations, any existing policy, and past claims.
  • Calculate your approximate annual commuting distance (mostly to and from work).
  • Confirm secondary drivers on your policy, such as spouses or children with a G2 license.
  • Decide what coverage options you want, such as:
  • Confirm coverage one last time and your payment details.

That’s it. Not so bad, right?

Real Questions. Our Answers.

Our team gets asked a lot of questions when it comes to first-time car ownership, uninsured accidents, and potential gaps in coverage. We’ve answered most below, but if you don’t see your question here just reach out to our team.

What if I already have a car with an insurance policy and I’m adding another?

Most insurance companies will provide about 14 days of automatic coverage for any new vehicles you purchase when you have an existing policy, but you’ll want to double-check with your provider. You should still notify your insurance representative that you are planning to add a new vehicle to the policy before picking up the new car.

Also, you’ll want to make sure that the coverage from your old vehicle is sufficient for the new one. If you’re trading in an old clunker for an expensive SUV, you may not have the correct insurance to meet the Ontario requirements.

What if I’m leasing my new car instead of buying?

That’s even more reason to get new car insurance before leaving the lot! While the bare minimum amount of liability coverage is required for every driver on the road, many lease agreements also require you to procure both collision and comprehensive coverage. They want compensation for the car if anything bad happens to it, naturally. 

Can I just put the license plates from my old vehicle onto the new one?

That wouldn’t transfer your insurance coverage to the new vehicle on its own—but you can still transfer your plates to your new car, yes. Dealerships can help with that, or you can do it yourself through the Ministry of Transportation of Ontario if it’s a private sale.

Your premiums are calculated, in part, by the car you drive. Things like safety features, structural integrity, and the chances of rolling over all factor into that part of your car insurance rate. You need to update your policy to reflect accurate information, or else your claim could be denied on grounds of misrepresentation.

What are the fines for driving without insurance?

Is it your first offence? The fine starts at $5,000 and could go as high as $25,000. You’ll also have your license suspended for at least 30 days.

On the second offense, you’ll be paying between $10,00 and $50,000, your license will be suspended for up to one year, and your vehicle could be impounded for up to three months.

The Provincial Offence Act also adds a 25% surcharge to each fine. Driving without insurance is expensive. 

Are there any demerit points for driving without insurance?

You don’t earn demerit points for this, but first-time offenders will have their license suspended for at least 30 days, but it can be up to 1 year.

What if I get into a car accident without car insurance?

Depending on the severity of the accident, you could end up paying tens of thousands of dollars out of pocket if you’re involved in an accident without insurance coverage. For instance, if you injured another driver in an accident then you would potentially have to pay for:

  • medical bills and services
  • legal fees
  • compensation for lost wages
  • repairs to both vehicles
  • fines
  • transportation during license suspension

It’s just not worth it.

How do you transfer titles for a used car?

The dealership will handle the title transfer for you when you purchase your used car. Once you pay off your loan, the financier will mail you the title. If you’re not buying from a dealership, the title is transferred at the time of the sale and signed by both parties. You’ll need to head to Service Ontario to confirm the title transfer and also to register your new car (more on that below.)

You’ll need to show them:

  • Proof of purchase, including the price you paid
  • Proof the title has been signed over to you
  • Vehicle insurance number (VIN)
  • Your current odometer reading
  • Proof of car insurance

How do you register a used car?

Service Ontario can help you register your used car to make it official. We suggest you do this at the same time as the title transfer to save yourself some time.

You’ll need to provide:

  • Proof of purchase, including the price you paid
  • Proof the title has been signed over to you
  • VIN (a Vehicle Identification Number is typically provided, but can be requested from the dealership or previous owner)
  • Odometer reading
  • Proof of car insurance
  • Proof that the sales tax on the purchase was paid in full

How long does it take to get car insurance?

We can typically set up a new auto insurance policy immediately. If you have questions about your insurance coverage, it’s better to reach out to us before you run into a problem.

We’re here to help!

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