What Happens if You Drive Without Insurance?

Posted: December 06, 2017
By: The Law Firm of Ted Yoannou

 Auto insurance from a reputable insurance company isn’t just a good idea. In Ontario, it’s the law. Driving without proper auto insurance can be costly and not just when you get in an accident or otherwise suffer damage to your car or truck. If you’ve been charged with driving without insurance, you’ll want to arm yourself with information to fight back against this potentially damaging charge.

Do I Need Auto Insurance in Ontario?

According to the Government of Ontario, the provincial authority that oversees all laws within Ontario’s borders, all vehicle drivers need to have auto insurance. This is not voluntary. You’re required by law to be protected by a valid insurance policy at all times whenever you operate a motor vehicle on a public road. There are a few different ways to accomplish this. For most people, having proper insurance means paying an auto insurance company for legally recognized coverage while they operate a specific vehicle. Some auto insurance policies may cover policyholders when they’re operating a different vehicle as well.

The details of what is and isn’t acceptable are laid out in the Compulsory Auto Insurance Act of 1990. This law makes it clear that you need to have insurance for your vehicle. Whether you own it or lease it, uninsured drivers simply cannot drive their vehicle on a public road in Ontario.

The Risks of Driving Without Insurance

Put simply, uninsured motorists who go on the road are breaking the law. This means potential fines and other penalties. Charges for driving without insurance can be steep in Ontario, with even first offences carrying a several thousand dollar fine, plus potential court charges. You may even lose your driver’s license if this is your second time being charged for driving without car insurance.

The risks for uninsured motorists go much further than fines, too. For example, if you get in a car accident through no fault of your own but do not have a valid insurance policy or do not have any proof of insurance, it is an offence and you may be found ineligible for damages through the other driver’s insurance policy due to your own failure to comply with the law. This can have major financial consequences on its own.

Financial consequences are always a risk for uninsured drivers. If you cause a collision with another driver, you will be held solely liable for any damages caused by this offence. Insurance policies are designed to lessen the financial burden in these cases, but when you don’t have a policy, that means you’re on your own with the bill. This means that you could potentially deal not only with your own healthcare and automotive repair bills but also the bills of the people and vehicles you struck. This isn’t a voluntary process, either. You’re usually legally mandated to pay these costs, and failure to do so can have grave legal consequences, such as a driving conviction with traffic tickets, hefty fines and other legal costs, community service, and even the possibility of jail time.

Further Financial and Personal Risks

Beyond the formal consequences of driving without insurance in Ontario, you could face unofficial personal consequences as well. The financial burden of fines and fees can be extremely damaging. It can impact your health, happiness, stability, and security. Most people can’t afford to pay several thousand dollars in fines or out-of-pocket medical expenses. Having to come up with this money when you’re faced with financial hardship is incredibly stressful.

If you lose your license or find that your car is so damaged by an accident you can’t afford to repair or replace it, you’re in a whole new set of unfortunate circumstances that can have a long-lasting impact on your life. The majority of Canadians use personal vehicles to get to work. When you need your car to go to work that motor vehicle is more than just a convenience. It’s a vital connection to the way you earn your living.

If you drive your car without insurance, you could end up losing your car and even lose your job. This makes the up-front investment in car insurance essential. If you don’t currently have insurance coverage or think you won’t need it, think again. Even a perfect driving record won’t save you. Getting into an accident through no fault of your own still opens you up to liability with serious penalties such as hospital bills and property damage when you’re in violation of the Compulsory Auto Insurance Act in Ontario.

What to do if you’ve Been Charged

By now, you can see how important it is to get insurance. The upfront cost can seem burdensome, but that’s nothing on what it costs to deal with the fallout of not having insurance in the first place. But what happens if it’s too late and you’ve already been charged with, you need to prepare to go to court—but you don’t have to go alone. A qualified lawyer can help you navigate the process and come out better for it in the end.

Most people assume they can’t afford lawyers, but that’s not true. A lawyer can significantly reduce the financial and legal impact of a driving without insurance charge and you won’t have to pay a massive bill because these aren’t complicated cases. Our firm’s experienced Barrie lawyers know how to quickly navigate charges of driving without insurance. The cost of this service is negligible compared to the massive potential financial impact of undisputed charges.  

With a lawyer by your side, you’ll know what you’re faced with, how serious it is, and what the potential consequences are without extra confusion. The law can be complicated to understand, especially if you aren’t familiar with the formal language used by police and the court system. When a lawyer takes your case, you’ll have an experienced professional guide to explain what you’re faced with, what the potential consequences are and how you might be able to fight back.

If you try to deal with the courts on your own, chances are you’ll end up spending a lot of extra time and effort only to find that your end result isn’t very favourable. Investing in professional legal services can end up being an extremely beneficial decision. If you’ve been charged with driving without auto insurance in Ontario, get in touch with our offices today.

This article has been prepared for our website for general information purposes only and is not intended as legal advice. Please Contact Us if you wish to review the particular circumstances of your case
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