What is “High Risk” Insurance in Ontario?
Maybe you’ve gotten into a few accidents over the last couple of years. Or, maybe, you’ve incurred more than a reasonable number of speeding tickets. No problem, right? So long as you pay your tickets on time and handle any repairs that need to be done, you’re golden. Well, that’s not always true.
You may already be aware that being involved in an accident or receiving multiple speeding tickets can hike your insurance premiums, but too many accidents, violations, or tickets can switch things up entirely. Everyone needs car insurance, but you can become more difficult to insure if you are what insurers class as a “high-risk” driver. A high-risk driver is someone who has experienced multiple at-fault accidents, has many traffic violations, or has been convicted of driving under the influence.
Let’s dig into high risk insurance in Ontario.
First of all – who needs high risk insurance in Ontario?
It might surprise you to know that there are factors that can label you a high risk driver which aren’t even within your control. Those include things like age, if you’ve not owned a car for several years, etc. The following list of people may be classed as high-risk by your insurer:
- Drivers whose coverage has lapsed because of a cancellation for non-payment
- Drivers with DUIs or DWIs
- Drivers with criminal offense convictions
- Drivers with 2 or more at-fault claims
- Drivers with multiple convictions within the last 3 years
- Drivers who misrepresent their insurance
To break it down further, here’s why each member on the list above may be classed as high-risk.
Drivers with cancellations for non-payments
Failing to pay your insurance premiums can make you a high-risk driver, despite having nothing to do with your actual driving ability. Insurance companies view individuals who are unable to pay for their car insurance premiums as high-risk drivers because they believe they will neglect taking care of their vehicle. Getting regular maintenance done, replacing brake pads, installing winter tires, these are all things that are essential to making sure a vehicle is safe. However, statistics show that drivers who are unable to pay their insurance premiums tend to neglect maintenance and repair on their vehicles which make them a higher risk client. Of course, most companies understand that things can happen so one cancellation for non-payment is not enough to move a driver to high-risk, however multiple cancellations for non-payment will result in drivers being considered high-risk and may also lead to no monthly payment plan being offered.
Drivers with DUIs or DWIs
Drinking and driving, or driving under the influence of drugs, is both dangerous and potentially fatal – both to yourself and others on the road. It’s just a bad idea, all around. Get someone else to drive you home or call a taxi, or ride service program – it’s not worth the risk, even if you think you feel sober enough.
DUIs are the easiest way to label yourself a high-risk driver, and insurance companies will consider you high-risk for at least 3 years.
Drivers with criminal offense convictions
Hit-and-runs, criminal speeding, drag racing, and road rage are all easy ways to float you into the high-risk category. Seriously – be safe when you’re driving! Sometimes it’s stressful to drive, or sometimes someone else can rub you the wrong way, but it’s better that you keep a level head and reduce the risk of having your insurance rates spike simply because you got cut off.
Drivers with 2 or more at-fault claims
Getting into accidents is never fun, but they do happen. Depending on your age most standard insurance companies will keep you onboard with just 1 at-fault accident. Plus, you can add an endorsement to your policy called accident waiver or claims forgiveness which maintains your driving record after one at-fault accident. However, if you receive 2 or more at-fault accidents you will be considered high-risk. Most companies rate for accidents for 6 years and some go as far back as 10 years. Keep in mind that single vehicle accidents like sliding off the road when it is icy are still considered at-fault accidents if you claim the damage to your vehicle, even if you are not charged by the police. That is why it is always best to consult your broker before submitting a claim.
Drivers with multiple convictions
Some drivers seem to have a heavy foot or cannot put their phone away while driving. Having multiple convictions is an indicator that you do not obey the rules of the road, and this means insurance companies will consider you a high-risk driver. Most insurance companies are now considering one distracted driving or using a hand-held device while driving a major conviction which makes you are high risk driver after just one offence.
Drivers who misrepresent their insurance
Misrepresenting your insurance will certainly place you in a high-risk driving category. Some high-risk insurance companies will not even insure you and you may be forced to go to a market called Facility Insurance. Misrepresenting your insurance can be something like you tell your insurance company you use your vehicle for pleasure only, but you actually use it to deliver food. If you get caught or end up in an accident in this scenario your claim would be null and void and you may be cancelled for misrepresentation.
High Risk Insurance in Ontario
Depending on where you live, your driving record, credit score, age, etc., you’ll pay a different amount for your high-risk insurance in Ontario. You can expect the more offenses and the more severe the offenses the more you will be required to pay.
Things happen, no matter our efforts to prevent them. You need car insurance, no matter what. Many insurance companies won’t even sell high-risk insurance, but McDougall Insurance has your back. Here are some tips to reduce your rates if you are classed as high-risk:
- Take a defensive driving course and be a safe driver. Never text, follow the speed limit, and keep mindful of your turning signals.
- Understand that a conviction can drop off your record with time. In the meantime, try to keep your record as clean as possible.
- Keep your credit score high and pay your bills on time.
For more information regarding high-risk insurance in Ontario, contact McDougall Insurance’s brokers. Not every company sells high-risk insurance, so it’s important to know where to turn.