Before a driver can hit the road in Ontario, they must go through the graduated licensing system (GLS) to get their driver’s licence. That means going through two levels — a written test (G1) and a practical exam (G2) — before getting a full G licence. The full G will let them drive on Canadian roads with fewer restrictions.
This system familiarizes young drivers, later-in-life drivers, and newcomers to Canada with different driving situations and environments and helps them progress gradually. But as one progresses through these levels, how do they stay protected and insured on the roads?
Let's say your teenage son recently got his G1 licence (or learner’s permit), and now has to wait at least eight months before applying for a G2. Does he have to get his own insurance policy? What if he gets a G2 and can drive on his own?
And how much will it all cost him?
Let’s look at the different types of licences and their impact on insurance premiums, how much you can expect to pay for auto insurance across different licence classes — and what you can do to reduce your insurance costs.
G1 licence and its impact on premiums
A G1 licence holder can only drive when accompanied by a fully licensed G driver and will be covered under the insurance policy of the G driver.
As such, you cannot purchase your own car insurance policy at the G1 stage.
However, you can get listed as a secondary driver under the insurance policy of another member of your household, like your parents or spouse. While this means that the primary driver’s insurance premium will go up to account for the increased risk, it allows the G2 driver to start building an insurance history. This insurance history will contribute towards lower insurance costs when you graduate through all the steps of the GLS process, obtain your G licence, and are ready to purchase your own insurance policy.
Just like any other driver, newly-licensed drivers are subject to penalties if they violate the rules of the road. Violating a traffic rule could mean anything from a traffic ticket, demerit points, or licence suspension (and having to restart the GLS process again), and increased insurance premiums for the primary policyholder.
Furthermore, these offences will be reflected in your driving history when you eventually purchase your own insurance policy, and lead to higher insurance rates further down the road.
G2 licence and its impact on premiums
At the G2 stage, you are allowed to purchase your own car and insurance policy. However, as young or new drivers are considered high-risk by insurance companies, your insurance rates will be significantly higher than someone who has a few years of driving experience under their belt.
Your other option is to stay listed as a secondary driver under someone else’s insurance policy.
In either case, the same rules apply: any tickets, penalties, or convictions will drive up insurance premiums for the primary policyholder (whether that’s you or the primary driver). All infractions will be carried over to your driving history.