Blog Navigating Insurance with a Suspended Licence in Ontario

Aug 14, 2023

How to reinstate a suspended licence

police flashing lights on vehicle

Insurance is vital to our everyday lives, providing a safety net during unexpected events. However, when your driver's licence is suspended, navigating the world of auto insurance can become quite complicated.

The rules and regulations surrounding insurance and suspended licences are essential to understand. If your licence is suspended, you could see your premium double or need specialized protection. It’s also illegal to drive while it’s under suspension.

This blog post will investigate the key aspects of dealing with your coverage options while having a suspended licence in Ontario.

Click below to go to key points

Reasons why your licence got suspended
Length of licence suspensions in Ontario
Licence suspensions and their impact on insurance
How to get your licence reinstated
Suspended licence FAQs

Why is my licence suspended?

Violations of the Highway Traffic Act of Ontario or the Criminal Code of Canada can lead to the suspension of your licence. Driving is a privilege after all!

Understanding the rules around licence suspension is crucial – it will help you understand the steps needed to reinstate it. Failure to meet those criteria can lead to additional penalties and longer suspensions.

Some of the most common reasons for a licence suspension include:

  • Unpaid fines: If you avoid paying fines, you can lose your licence. You’ll need to pay all fines back to get it back. If you have been approved for a payment plan, you can apply for reinstatement from MTO.
  • Health conditions: Some conditions can affect your ability to drive. Some examples include Cognitive, motor/sensory impairment, visual impairment, substance abuse and sudden incapacitation.
  • Demerits: If a driver accumulates too many demerit points, there is a risk of having your licence suspended, depending on the offence and number of points.
  • Mandatory suspensions: Driving under the influence of drugs or alcohol can lead to suspensions and remedial programs or hearings before getting their licence reinstated.
  • Admin suspensions: If you don’t renew your driver’s licence on time or avoid paying fines, you can face suspension.
  • Court-ordered: If a driver is convicted of a driving related offence, such as distracted driving or leaving the scene of an accident, the court can order a suspension as part of the penalty.

How long does a licence suspension in Ontario last?

Licence suspension in Ontario can result from accumulating demerits, certain convictions, or unpaid fines. Suspension can be temporary or indefinite, depending on the severity of the offence. Understanding this is important before discussing insurance. Here are some examples of suspensions and their convictions:

  • BAC: Young and novice drivers must have a blood alcohol level of zero. If convicted of impaired driving or driving high you could face a fine and a minimum 30-day licence suspension. If you have your full G, you can have suspensions for having a BAC over 0.05 to 0.08 (or more), or refusing a breath or blood sample.
  • Dangerous driving: Some examples of dangerous driving include stunt driving, driving aggressively, or texting and driving. These types of suspensions can last from three days to upwards of 30 days and vehicle impoundment.
  • Criminal Code Violations: You can receive a one year suspension the first time you are convicted of a Criminal Code offence. Subsequent offences can result in a lifetime ban from driving. Examples of this include causing death or bodily harm by criminal negligence, failing to stop for police, refusing a breath sample for roadside testing, dangerous driving, and impairment.

What are HTA suspensions?

As per the Highway Traffic Act (HTA), any individual who is convicted of a driving-related criminal offence will face serious repercussions. A first-time offence will result in a one-year licence suspension. If convicted again within 10 years, the licence will be suspended for three years.

A third conviction within the same ten-year period as the second offence will lead to a lifetime suspension, subject to reinstatement only after ten years and if certain requirements are met and specific circumstances exist. Fourth-time offenders will face a permanent driving ban with no chance of reinstatement.

It is important to understand the gravity of these consequences and always to prioritize safe and responsible driving.

How will a suspended licence impact insurance?

Having a suspended licence directly impacts your ability to operate a vehicle legally, but it also has implications for coverage. A suspended licence can increase your rates, can make you high risk, and you could have issues finding coverage. You can see your costs increase by at least 10% and as much as double. Always speak to your broker to learn more about your coverage's solutions and causes.

Medical suspensions can result in minor increases and may involve administrative reasons rather than impaired driving or unpaid fines. Doctors may also report diagnostic reasons to the Ontario Ministry of Transportation.

While your licence is suspended, you are not permitted to drive, and if you're caught driving during this period, you could face even more severe consequences. However, the car insurance related implications don't stop there.

Insurance tips if your licence is suspended

Looking for advice to help you understand how a suspension impacts your policy? Here are four tips to clarify the impact :

  1. Maintaining protection for your car: Keep your auto insurance even if your licence is suspended. Modify coverage to a non-operational status to avoid increased rates when reinstating later. Be prepared for when your suspension period is over.
  2. Higher risk options: Having your licence reinstated after a suspension may lead to expensive insurance rates. Search for quotes and consider high-risk driver specialists for more affordable coverage.
  3. Policy revaluation: If your licence is suspended, speak with your insurance provider about potential changes to your policy. They may adjust your rates, and coverage options, or even cancel your coverage altogether. Consider alternative options if necessary.
  4. Impact on premium costs: Having your licence suspended can lead to higher insurance premiums due to increased risk associated with your driving history. The length and reason for the suspension will impact the extent of the increase, which may persist for several years.