The short answer is: Yes, your insurance premium will go up if your licence is suspended. While your licence is suspended, you won’t be able to purchase auto insurance (in Ontario). After which, insurance providers will consider you a “high-risk driver” – a factor that will increase your insurance rates by at least 10% and as much as 50%. The best action is to talk to your broker or compare high-risk car insurance rates online for the most suitable options.
In this article, we’ll address five frequently asked questions for those wondering, “Will my insurance go up if my licence is suspended”?
Frequently asked questions
When can my licence be suspended?
A licence suspension is a temporary hold on your licence that prohibits you from legally driving. It can be suspended for various reasons like reckless driving, receiving multiple traffic tickets in a short amount of time, failure to show proof of insurance, driving without insurance, and DUIs.
In Ontario, there are three circumstances under which your licence could be suspended. You could receive:
1) A roadside suspension if, for example, your blood alcohol level surpasses the legal limit.
2) A court-order suspension if you are convicted of violating certain driving-related laws.
3) A “letter of suspension” from the Ministry of Transportation.
You can lose your driver’s licence for many reasons. Examples of driving-related crimes resulting in licence suspension in Ontario include:
- Having alcohol in your blood
- Failing or refusing to give a breath sample when asked by police
- Failing to insure your vehicle
- Not paying fines
- Failing to stop for a police officer, and the court believes that you tried to escape police
- Having too many demerit points on your driving record
- Breaking graduated licensing rules (e.g., driving on a 400-series highway when you only have your G1 licence)
- Failing to file a vision report
This list goes on, and it’s the responsibility of every driver to be aware of the rules. In some cases (e.g., if you’re convicted of something criminal), suspension of your licence could lead to higher insurance rates for up to six years once the suspension ends. In addition, as we’ll discuss later, you may need to buy special “high-risk” insurance if your licence is suspended. You may also be in the market for a new insurance provider, as your current company can opt to cancel (or not renew) your policy.
That said, there is an important distinction to be drawn between “criminal” licence suspensions (discussed above) and “medical” licence suspensions. For those wondering, “will my insurance go up if my licence is suspended?” medical suspensions generally involve smaller increases. In addition, a doctor will often file a report with the Ministry of Transportation in Ontario, citing diagnostic reasons for the suspension. This is sometimes called “administrative suspension,” which is quite different from a “roadside suspension” due to impaired driving or a “court-order suspension” due to unpaid fines.
What happens if you get caught driving with a suspended licence in Ontario?
According to the Government of Ontario:
“Getting caught driving while your driver’s licence is suspended will probably result in a Monetary fine between $1,000 to $50,000, depending on whether it’s a first or second offence, and if the violation falls under the highway traffic act of Ontario or the Criminal Code of Canada.”
Moreover, the Ontario automobile policy OAP 1 states, section 7.2.2 Illegal Use: “We won’t pay for loss or damage caused in an incident: if you drive the automobile while not authorized by law.”
Once the driver’s licence suspension is off your motor vehicle record, you still need to disclose the suspension to your insurance broker. A failure to disclose the suspension could cause policy cancellation or hike your rates by as much as 50%.
The answer to “will my insurance go up if my licence is suspended?” is clear. Once you’ve had a suspended driver’s licence, obtaining car insurance can be challenging and costly, particularly if you’ve been caught driving with a suspended licence. Further, your existing insurance policy may be cancelled or not renewed, even when your suspension has been lifted.
How long does a suspended licence stay on your record in Ontario?
On average, a driver’s licence suspension in Ontario is documented on your MVR (Motor Vehicle Report) for 90 days to three years, depending on the severity of the offence. If you accumulate 15 demerit points, you will automatically lose your licence. When this happens, licence suspensions are retained on your MVR for six years, causing an increase in your car insurance rates and limiting your eligibility with many insurance carriers.
Can you get insurance with a suspended licence?
No, not in Ontario. You need at least a valid G2 licence to purchase auto insurance in Ontario. So if your licence is suspended, you won’t meet the essential qualification for buying auto insurance.
However, this rule varies by province (and country). In other provinces and in most American states, getting car insurance with a suspended licence is possible, but the process tends to be more difficult. Depending on the reason for your suspension, some insurers may not offer you coverage, especially if your driving history indicates that you’re more prone to risky behaviour (i.e., DUIs, excessive demerit points, etc.) or getting into accidents.
How can I reinstate my suspended licence?
Reinstating your suspended Ontario licence can be complicated, depending on the reason for your suspension. Some of the more common examples include:
Unpaid fines: A traffic ticket was not paid if your licence was suspended for overdue fines. The fine can be paid at any traffic court in Ontario to reinstate the licence. The court will advise the driver that the licence will take up to four days to be reinstated.
Demerit point suspensions: Where a driver’s licence was suspended for the accumulation of demerit points, the licence will be suspended depending upon the licence class and other factors like how quickly and how many demerit points have accumulated. Once the driver has reached 15 demerit points, their licence can be suspended for up to 30 days for a first offence and up to 6 months for additional violations.
Medical suspensions: The licence will be suspended if a physician’s medical report shows that the driver does not satisfy national medical standards. In Canada, medical suspensions never expire – they remain in force until the driver is deemed fit to drive by a medical professional after an examination.
Criminal offence suspensions: Once a court-ordered suspension has been ordered, only a criminal appeal can remove the suspension.
The bottom line is that in Ontario, you cannot purchase auto insurance without a valid driver’s licence – and the process of reinstating your licence so that you can get insurance varies depending on the reason for your suspension.
Does a licence suspension affect insurance? Final thoughts.
In Ontario, a licence suspension affects the kinds of insurance (and insurance rates) for which you’re eligible and influences whether insurance companies will cover you. But, again, this depends on the reason for your suspension and whether providers consider you too “high risk” to insure.
If you’re wondering, “Will my insurance go up if my licence is suspended?” – the answer is “most likely.” Your insurance rate may go up if you have a licence suspension in your driving history. How long your suspension impacts your rate will vary based on the reason your licence was suspended and how long your province keeps that specific type of violation on their driving records. In Ontario, a licence suspension will stay on your MVR (Motor Vehicle Report) for up to three years, impacting your insurance coverage.