OMI – FAQ – requirements

Requirements for insurance
Written by Rob MacLennan      
Thursday, 11 March 2004

There are certain basic requirements for insuring a vehicle for the road in Ontario. In talking to various insurers, my experience has been that these requirements are shrouded in mystery by design. Insurers tended to tell me what they would supply rather than asking what was desired, and the amount of insurance they offered was always a multiple of the requirement. The minimum requirements were never mentioned.

Riding without insurance and getting caught can result in stated fines from between $5,000 and $50,000, depending upon the vehicle involved, the history of the person stopped, etc.. The judge has some latitude in what final amount is assessed and it can apparently be lower than the guidlines, but in practice you can probably expect to be hit for between $5K and $6K. Not worth it in my opinion but as people are starting to be quoted in the $5K range for basic coverage, it becomes more and more attractive to some. Don’t do it, if you ever hope to ride again. Cars don’t get stopped for "document checks." Motorcycles routinely do.

Your basic requirements for insurance in Ontario are the following:
# – $200,000 in third-party liability coverage (to cover others if you’re at fault in a collision)
# – Statutory accident benefits coverage (supplementary medical coverage)
# – Direct compensation – property damage (your insurance company pays you directly, instead of waiting for the other person’s company when you aren’t at fault)

While $200K is the requirement, try and get an insurance company to quote you on it. It’ll never happen. You’d have to request it instead of taking what they offer, and be forceful about your request. In my opinion $200K is insufficient coverage given todays climate, but it’s the requirement and should be honoured until the government changes it.

Beyond the legal requirements, there are others. For instance if you’re financing a purchase and the lender has a lien against the bike, then you’ll be required to carry "all perils" insurance. Your bike is the only sure way that they can get their money back if you default on your loan, so they want that asset protected. Check your loan paperwork.

If there’s a lien on the bike and you DON’T fully insure it, then you would be in breach of the contract. The remedies to the lender in cases like that can include calling the loan due immediately, among other things.