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Some cars aren’t driven all year around. These could be collectors, classics or just belonging to a driver who doesn’t feel comfortable on the road in the winter. Some motorists may wonder if they need to pay for insurance while their car is off the road.

Do I need car insurance if I don’t drive my car?

All provinces in Canada require insurance for cars on their roads. In many cases, such as Ontario, insurance ties in with registration and license plates, to the extent that you can’t get plates without having insurance.

When your car is off the road, it’s certainly possible to cancel insurance to save money, but the cancellation process usually has costs of its own in an administrative fee paid to the insurer.

While provinces such as British Columbia (which has a public auto insurance program) have temporary insurance products, these are usually designed to cover insurance gaps, such as at the time of purchase. Provinces with plans similar to Ontario have auto insurance policy terms of either six months or one year. Since most seasonal vehicles are off the road less than six months, this is only a partial solution.

A car without insurance must remain completely off the road. Should a driver take a quick trip to the store and has an accident, without car insurance that driver faces large fines, license suspensions and higher insurance costs in the future, as long as ten years. Comparatively, continuous insurance proves much more affordable.

How do I insure a seasonal vehicle?

If you’re determined to abandon insurance when your car is off the road, you likely must cancel your policy. If you’ve paid in advance, you’ll be refunded the unused portion, but you’ll also be charged a fee by your insurer for early cancellation. This is prorated, so earlier in your policy, you’ll pay more.

Are there other ways to seasonally save money?

save money


Consider a seasonal vehicle stored in a garage over the winter. The owner cancels insurance for the time the car is expected to be off the road. During that time, the garage burns down and the car along with it. Unless the owner made arrangements through home insurance, they must absorb the loss of the vehicle.

Instead of cancelling insurance, they can alter coverage while the vehicle is stored. Changing terms of a policy only costs the driver when adding insurance products or coverage amounts. Changing the policy to remove these saves money. So this driver could suspend collision coverage, move other coverage amounts to the minimum and maintain comprehensive coverage, which protects against non-driving hazards. The cost the policy reduces to a minimum, the car stays protected and a phone call reinstates other coverage at the end of the season.

Find the best price to start your seasonal insurance strategy using Quote Finder’s car insurance calculator. Request a car insurance quote from the boxes above and in a few minutes, you’ll know the best prices on the policy you need.


  1. Insurance Bureau of Canada: How Car Insurance Premiums are Calculated

About the Author: Robert Davis

He is an insurance content professional with vast knowledge and a special aptitude and interest in imparting insurance education. He has authored many articles on insurance.

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