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What Happens If You Drive without Insurance?

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What Happens If You Drive without Insurance?

Has your car insurance expired? Or forget to renew your car insurance? So now you are wondering – is it illegal to drive without insurance, and what happens if you get caught without insurance?

You will find the answer to all concerns about driving without insurance in this article.

Understand Car Insurance Policy in Canada

No matter where you are living in Canada, insurance is compulsory.

Every province has rules and regulations for having an insured vehicle, known as the “Compulsory Automobile Insurance Act.” In some provinces, you will have government-run public insurance, while others have insurance from private companies.

But the rule is the same for all – driving without an active insurance policy is prohibited by the Motor Vehicle Act. That means driving without insurance anywhere in Canada is not legal, and you will be charged with hefty fines if caught.

And there you have the answer: Can I drive a car without insurance?

But What Happens If You drive without Insurance?

As you have learned, the rules are not the same for all provinces, so the fines and penalties will also vary. Go through the following information to know what happens if you get caught driving without insurance.

Penalty for Driving Without Insurance

If a police officer requests proof of your car insurance and you are unable to provide it, you could be charged with the following four penalties:

Get a Ticket

You’ll be fined $81 when you have insurance but can’t show it to the police. That’s how much a ticket is for driving without insurance.

No Validation Sticker

If you fail to show the validation sticker on your license plate, you might have to pay a $109 fine.

Never Insured

If your car is not insurance covered by your current driving license, a minimum fine for driving without insurance is $250, and a three-month penalty could be imposed.

Expired Insurance

If caught driving without expired insurance, you may get a fine of $300 to $2,000 and serve 7 days to 6 months of jail.

Read Also: What is Brake Checking & Why Do People Do It?

How to Know What You Were Charged with?

Once you are charged with operating a car without insurance, you will get a formal notice of your charges. And one of the following will be given to you:

  • A violation ticket
  • An appearance notice
  • A summon

Let’s expand on these.

Often a violation ticket is what the police will give you for driving an uninsured car. However, if you’ve had a prior traffic violation or a poor driving history, the police can send you an appearance notice. Or you could get a summon to court later, usually within six months of the event.

The documentation will describe the violations you are guilty of, the penalties associated with them, and if one must appear in court. If you don’t want to defend the violation ticket in court, you can opt to pay the amount specified on the ticket instead of appearing in person.

However, you must appear in court on the day specified in an appearance order or summons. A warrant could be issued for your arrest if you don’t attend court.

What Happens If You Ignore a Violation Ticket?

If you disregard a violation ticket, don’t pay the fee, or oppose the ticket within 30 days, you’ll be found guilty without a jury trial.

On the other hand, if you had intended to contest the ticket but were unable to do so, it wasn’t your fault – you need to visit the Provincial Court registry and request that your case move forward.

What If You Don’t Want to Fight the Charge?

You can submit a criminal conviction if you choose not to contest the charges. And you are admitting guilt for the crime by doing this.

Additionally, you can acknowledge responsibility by paying the fine if you receive a violation ticket. If so, you are not compelled to show up in court.

There are many ways to pay a ticket fine. For that, you can check the official website of your province. The fee is waived to $25 if paid in full within 30 days.

What If You Want to Fight the Charge?

If you want to contest the charge and have been served with a summons or appearance notice, seek our assistance.

You have the right to challenge any violations you have received. The ticket can be contested for 30 days following the offence date.

You can appeal for the ticket by mail or in person. A lawyer can also help you with the information on traffic tickets that explains the specifics.

In the next step, a hearing will be scheduled. The police officer who pulled you over will testify during your hearing and describe what transpired to the judge. The police will be available for your questions.

Then, if you’d like, you can provide your testimony. Besides, you can bring another witness if you want. Finally, after hearing your case, a judge will decide whether you are guilty or not.

What Happens If You’re Found Guilty?

If you are proven guilty following a hearing or trial, the court may impose a fine between $300 and $2,000 instead of the customary $598 fine. The court can issue a temporary driving prohibition to you as well.

If you’ve previously been convicted of the same crime, the court may sentence you to six months in jail. But that is extremely unusual.

Know More: What Happens If You Hit a Pedestrian in Canada?

Will the Charge Be On Your Driving Record?

Yes, the charge for operating a car without insurance will show up on your driving record. Additionally, your insurance premium will significantly affect if you are found guilty of driving an uninsured vehicle.

To register and drive an automobile in Canada, you must have an insurance policy that is in good standing and meets the least coverage criteria set by your province.

Can You Lose Your License for Driving without Insurance?

It’s not exactly a huge crime to drive an uninsured vehicle. Thus, driving without insurance won’t result in demerit points on your license in Canada.

However, different provinces have different rules on whether a driver’s license can be suspended for driving without insurance.

For example, driving without insurance in Ontario can result in a 30- to 1-year license suspension. Furthermore, a license suspension will still appear on your driving record for three years after your license is restored.

Then again, in Alberta, the court can order the suspension of your license, usually following several offences for driving without insurance. That will happen if you don’t make court-ordered compensation payments to an injured person after an accident.

Final Notes

In Canada, driving without insurance is not a crime. However, the police can charge you under the Criminal Code if the circumstance is serious, such as a crime like careless driving.

In addition, driving without insurance carries several consequences, including license suspension, license revocation, jail time, and hefty fines.

Therefore,  you should get insurance as soon as possible. This can help you when you get into an automobile accident. And insurance can keep you from suffering a financial setback, such as legal fees, medical expenses, car and property damage, and other costs that will pile up.

Also, remember that if the offence repeats, you will be found guilty and face the consequences of having a criminal record.


If you need more clarification, look at the following queries regarding driving without insurance.

Can You Drive Someone else’s Car Without Insurance?

No. It’s not anyway legal in Canada to drive a car without insurance. Considering that your car or someone else’s car is supposed to be insured. And even if it’s not your car, police might charge for failing to show an insurance card. Additionally, the owner of the car will have some sort of charge.

Can I Drive a Car that is Insured by Someone else?

Yes. Usually, car insurance policies will allow specifying who else a car owner is allowed to drive. So, if you have permission, you can surely drive someone else’s car. Additionally, if you drive someone’s insured car frequently, you can consider getting non-owner insurance and driving without hassle.

What Happens If You Get Caught Driving Without Insurance in Canada?

You may be subject to a $250 fine for driving without insurance and/or a three-month sentence. And a fine of $300 to $2,000 and/or a jail sentence of seven days to six months may be imposed on the offender if found to be driving without a valid motor vehicle liability policy.

Is Driving Without Insurance a Criminal Conviction?

Having insurance is under the “Compulsory Automobile Insurance Act.” So, driving without insurance is a just provincial offence. And it might be included in your driving license record. But it does not violate the Criminal Code of Canada. Then again, if you break any traffic law, such as reckless driving, there will be criminal charges against you.