You’ll need to consider what coverage to choose, how to find a reliable provider and how your premiums will be calculated.
Getting an Ontario licence when you arrive
If you had a licence back home, you can use it for 60 days before switching to an Ontario licence. The process is relatively easy if you’re coming from a country that has an exchange agreement with Ontario and you’ve been driving for more than two years. If not, you may have to take a written and/or road test among other requirements.
If you’re new to driving, you’ll have to earn a learner’s permit or G1 licence, the first step in Ontario’s graduated licensing system. Even with a G1 licence, you can buy a car though you must have a fully licensed driver with you in the front seat while driving and adhere to other restrictions associated with a G1 licence like having a zero blood-alcohol level and staying off the road between mid-night and 5 a.m.
Before you buy a car
There’s much to consider when choosing your new vehicle.
- Do you need a minivan to carpool your kids or live alone and prefer something small and fuel efficient?
- Do you have the cash to buy a vehicle outright (no interest payments = big bonus) or will you need to finance or lease?
- Are you comfortable paying a bit more to buy from a dealer, knowing they abide by certain regulations or are you okay with a private sale?
Note that the type of vehicle you get can affect your insurance rates. See how any make and model will influence your premiums by plugging your wish-list cars into our online quote calculator.
Do you absolutely need auto insurance to drive in Ontario?
Yes. Auto insurance is required by law to drive in Ontario, but you don’t need to purchase every option offered by a provider. Mandatory coverage includes:
- Third-party Liability
- Accident Benefits
- Uninsured Automobile
You’ll be covered for things like injuries to you or your passengers, and damage or injuries you’ve caused others.
Direct Compensation — Property Damage (DCPD) coverage was mandatory until January 1, 2024 — Ontarians are now able to opt out by filling out Ontario Policy Change Form (OPCF) 49. DCPD insurance ensures your insurance company covers damages to your vehicle if you’re involved in a no-fault collision with a third party.
What sets it apart from standard liability coverage is that it allows you to claim compensation directly from your insurance provider for property damage, but only when a third-party driver is at fault.