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New to Canada: Getting Auto Insurance

Here's everything you need to know about getting auto insurance as a newcomer.

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by Team Onlia

Moving to a new country is no small feat, and getting auto insurance is another hurdle you’ll have to overcome in order to settle into your new routine. Auto insurance rules and regulations vary from country to country, and even between provinces. There are a number of things you’ll need to consider, like what coverage you should opt for, how to find a reliable provider, and how your premium will be calculated. 

Fortunately, we’ve got the low down on everything you need to know when looking for car insurance when you’re new to Canada. 


Do you need auto insurance to drive in Ontario?

Auto insurance is required by law to drive in Ontario, but you don’t necessarily need to purchase all of the coverages a provider offers. Mandatory coverages include: 

  • Third-party Liability 

  • Accident Benefits 

  • Direct Compensation- Property Damage (DCPD)

  • Uninsured Automobile 

These coverages will provide the basic protection you need to drive. You’ll be covered for things like damage to your vehicle when you’re in a collision that’s not your fault, and injuries to you or your passengers in a collision. Learn more about the auto insurance coverage required to drive in Ontario. 

Companies typically have additional coverages you can add to your policy for extra protection — like Family Protection, which will cover you if you or a family member is hurt in a collision caused by an uninsured or underinsured driver. These will increase your premium, but in exchange, they’ll give you peace of mind. Whether or not you choose to add extra coverage is completely up to you. 


Beware of ghost brokers 

Many people use brokers to help them find an insurance provider and policy that’s right for them. While brokers can be helpful, you want to make sure the one you’re dealing with is legitimate. Otherwise, you risk getting taken advantage of by what the insurance industry refers to as ghost brokers. They’re as scary as they sound!

Ghost brokers are fraudulent brokers who sell insurance policies  which are either non-existent or inaccurate  to unsuspecting customers. They typically offer impossibly low prices,  but charge you a made-up fee for setting up your insurance policy. If it seems too good to be true, it probably is. If you choose to work with a broker, be sure to do your research and look into the brokerage they work for. 

If you’re interested in getting a policy with Onlia, it’s worth noting that we aren’t affiliated with any brokerages — our website is easy to use, so you can sign up online and purchase a policy in minutes. Instead of relying on a middle-person, you’ll be 100% in control when it comes to your auto policy. 


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How your premium will be calculated

Once you start getting quotes from providers, you’ll see that your rates vary from one company to the next. Curious about how your premium is calculated in Canada? Some of the factors that go into calculating your price include: 

  • Where you live 

  • The type of car you drive 

  • Your driving history 

  • The coverages you choose 

How can your driving history affect your insurance premium when you have no driving history in Canada? Some insurance providers (like Onlia) will take your driving experience outside the country into consideration. As long as the Ministry of Transportation (MTO ) recognizes it, we’ll take those years into account when calculating your premium, which can lower your premium — sometimes pretty drastically! 



It’s important to shop around to find the right coverage for you at a competitive rate. While every insurance company pretty much looks at the same factors when determining how much they charge, the weight that is placed on each of those factors will change from company to company. For example, some companies may charge you a higher premium for not having any driving experience in Canada, whereas other companies, like Onlia, will factor in your record outside the country.  

Each insurance provider is different, and it's important to find the right fit for you. Moving to a new country can be challenging, especially with all the new rules and regulations you need to become familiar with. We hope these tips can at least help you cross insurance off your to-do list! 


Protect your car & home with Onlia Insurance – and get extra discounts while you’re at it.