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Car insurance is mandatory in Canada. However, if you’re a high-risk driver, there’s a strong possibility an insurance company will deny you coverage.

Drivers who are considered high-risk have the following:

  • A poor driving record.
  • A number of at-fault accidents.
  • An impaired driving conviction.
  • Numerous traffic tickets.
  • A stunt driving conviction.

High-risk drivers also face higher insurance premiums than the average driver. In addition, not every provider will insure a high-risk driver.

However, the insurance industry cannot refuse to sell you basic insurance. The Facility Association, which is an insurance pool that all auto insurance companies are members of, is also an insurer of last resort for high-risk drivers. In addition, there are non-standard insurers that specialize in providing insurance for higher-risk drivers.

Your high-risk auto insurance questions, answered.

Who needs high-risk car insurance?

Drivers are considered high-risk based on their driving behaviour and history — as well as a host of other factors that aren’t related to their behaviour on the road.

Here are driving mistakes that can land you in the high-risk category:

  • Impaired driving. If you have an impaired driving conviction on your record (including cannabis use as of October 2018), it can be very difficult to get regular auto insurance. Companies may turn you down for insurance.
  • Stunt driving. If you’re caught stunt driving — which can be anything from exceeding the speed limit by 50 km/h, doing donuts, acting out on your road rage or any other kind of stunt with your car — you risk getting a large fine (the first conviction carries a $2,000 fine in Ontario) or even jail time.

Other non-driving related reasons for needing high-risk insurance includes:

  • A lapse in coverage. Letting your insurance lapse — meaning you neglect to renew it and therefore have a period of time where you have no coverage — may cause an insurance company to categorize you as high-risk.
  • Poor payment history or insurance cancellation. If you defaulted on insurance payments or had your insurance cancelled, you may be placed in the high-risk category.

Where can I get high-risk auto insurance?

The Facility Association is an insurance pool that all auto insurers belong to but is also an insurer of last resort for high-risk drivers.

In addition, there are several insurance companies that specialize in providing insurance for higher-risk drivers, known as non-standard insurers.

Here are some of the providers that work with high-risk drivers broken down by region.

Western Canada

The auto insurance market in the majority of Western Canada is provincially-run, meaning high-risk auto insurance in British Columbia, Saskatchewan, and Manitoba is provided by the government.

Here are some private insurance companies that offer high-risk auto insurance in Alberta:

  • Perth Insurance
  • Facility Association

Ontario

Given its size, population, and privatized market, it’s no surprise that Ontario has the most options for high-risk insurance. The number of insurance companies operating in the province means high-risk drivers have more of an opportunity to shop the market, compared to high-risk drivers in other provinces. These are the companies offering high-risk insurance in Ontario:

  • Aviva
  • Facility Association
  • Travelers
  • Intact Insurance
  • Hagerty
  • Jevco
  • Perth Insurance
  • Pafco
  • Desjardins

Quebec

Quebec’s auto insurance system involves both public and private providers. In Quebec, public insurance covers minimum limits for bodily injury but private insurance covers property damage. As a high-risk driver in Quebec, you can buy auto insurance from these companies:

  • Desjardins

Atlantic Canada

The auto insurance industry in all Atlantic provinces is fully private. High-risk auto insurance is available from these companies:

  • Desjardins Insurance
  • Facility Association
  • Perth Insurance

How much more do the premiums for high-risk auto insurance cost?

You can expect to pay more than the average premium if an insurance company deems you a high-risk driver. The premiums may vary based on the provider but you should expect to pay at least anywhere from 25% to 250% more than a low-risk driver. 

Is there a way to get cheap high-risk auto insurance?

High-risk auto insurance is not cheap, period. Insurance companies charge high-risk drivers large premiums because they assume that, as a high-risk client, you’re more likely to make a claim. You could, however, reduce your premium by opting to pay a higher deductible or by choosing a bare-bones policy, which usually includes limited liability insurance at the lowest legal limits.

You can get help finding the cheapest price by talking to an insurance agent or comparing quotes from several insurance companies at LowestRates.ca.

How do you get out of the high-risk category?

You are not destined to remain in the high-risk category forever but it’ll take several years before you graduate into regular auto insurance. In most provinces, driving infractions and tickets stay on your record for three years. Demerit points remain on your record for longer, up to six years. While there’s nothing you can do to expedite the process, there are things you can do to be proactive, so that one day, you’ll pay lower premiums:

  • Follow all traffic laws.
  • Don’t stunt drive.
  • Don’t get any traffic tickets: driving for three years without a ticket could eventually net you a lower premium.
  • Gain driving experience: consider taking a driving course.
  • Never drive when you’re under the influence of drugs or alcohol.
  • Be accident-free for several years (at least six or more).
  • Pay your premiums on time.

How LowestRates.ca can help you find the best rate for high-risk auto insurance.

You can compare quotes on LowestRates.ca from these companies offering high-risk insurance.

  • Aviva
  • Travelers
  • Intact
  • Jevco
  • Desjardin

Just enter your information and in less than three minutes you’ll get quotes from over 30 insurance companies.

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