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In Canada, auto insurance is regulated at the provincial level. Whether or not you can have auto insurance from another province depends on several factors, primarily where your vehicle is primarily kept and operated. Here’s a general breakdown:

  1. Residency and Primary Use: If you live and primarily use your vehicle in one province, you typically need to have insurance from that province. For instance, if you live in British Columbia but have insurance from Alberta, you could run into problems if you make a claim, get pulled over, or have an accident in British Columbia.
  2. Temporary Use: If you’re visiting another province temporarily, such as on vacation, your existing auto insurance from your home province usually remains valid. However, you should always check the specifics of your policy or ask your insurance provider.
  3. Moving Between Provinces: If you’re moving to another province, you’ll generally need to switch your auto insurance to a provider in your new province within a certain period of time (often 30-90 days, but this varies by province). This is because insurance regulations, requirements, and coverage options can differ significantly from one province to another.
  4. Studying Out-of-Province: Some provinces make exceptions for students. If you’re attending school in a different province, you might not have to change your auto insurance. However, you’ll usually need to provide proof of your student status, and there might be other requirements.
  5. Other Exceptions: Some other exceptions might apply depending on unique circumstances, like if you’re a military member stationed out of province.
  6. Rates & Coverage Differences: It’s worth noting that insurance rates and coverage options can vary considerably from one province to another due to different regulatory environments, accident rates, and other factors. It’s not always advantageous to seek insurance from another province even if it were permissible.

Can you insure a car in Alberta with an Ontario license?

Yes, you can insure a car in Alberta with an Ontario driver’s license, but there are some important things to note:

  1. Temporary Basis: If you’re in Alberta on a temporary basis, many insurance companies will allow you to insure a vehicle using your Ontario driver’s license. However, this is usually for a limited time (typically up to 90 days).
  2. Permanent Move: If you have moved to Alberta permanently or plan to stay for an extended period, you are typically required to switch your driver’s license and vehicle registration to Alberta within a specified time frame, often 90 days. Once you become a resident of Alberta, you will need to get an Alberta driver’s license to maintain your insurance.
  3. Insurance Application: When applying for insurance in Alberta with an Ontario license, be transparent with the insurance provider about your circumstances. They will guide you based on your specific situation, and the policy’s terms will be clearer.
  4. Rates: Keep in mind that your insurance rates might be different in Alberta compared to Ontario. Rates are based on various factors, including the province’s insurance regulations, claims statistics, and risk factors.
  5. License Exchange: Alberta and Ontario have a reciprocal licensing agreement, so exchanging your Ontario license for an Alberta one is straightforward. You won’t typically need to take another driving test, but there might be some administrative requirements and fees.

Can I get Quebec car insurance with an Ontario license?

In Quebec, like other provinces in Canada, auto insurance is regulated at the provincial level. Generally, if you are residing and primarily using your vehicle in Quebec, you should have a Quebec driver’s license and insurance. Here’s a breakdown of the scenario with an Ontario license:

  1. Temporary Basis: If you’re in Quebec temporarily, for instance, as a visitor or student, you might be able to use your Ontario insurance for a limited period. However, if you establish residency in Quebec or primarily use your vehicle there, you’d typically need to switch to a Quebec insurance policy and license.
  2. Quebec’s Unique System: Quebec has a unique auto insurance system. The province uses a hybrid approach that combines a public plan administered by the Société de l’assurance automobile du Québec (SAAQ) for personal injuries resulting from car accidents, and a private system for property damage coverage. So, even if a private insurer agrees to cover your vehicle while you have an Ontario license, you’d still need to adhere to Quebec’s broader insurance regulations.
  3. Permanent Move: If you’ve moved to Quebec permanently, you’re generally required to switch your Ontario driver’s license to a Quebec license and also switch your vehicle registration within a specified timeframe (often around 90 days). If you become a resident of Quebec, having a Quebec driver’s license will be essential to maintain valid auto insurance in the province.
  4. License Exchange: Quebec and Ontario have a reciprocal licensing agreement. Transferring your Ontario license to a Quebec one should be relatively straightforward. However, there might be administrative steps and fees involved.
  5. Transparency with Insurer: If you’re considering insuring your vehicle in Quebec while holding an Ontario license, it’s essential to be transparent with the insurance provider about your circumstances. Misrepresentation can result in denied claims or even policy cancellations.

What is out-of-province car insurance and how it works?

“Out-of-province” car insurance typically refers to insurance coverage for a vehicle when it’s being used or operated outside the province in which it’s primarily insured. This is particularly relevant in Canada, where auto insurance is regulated at the provincial level and each province has its own specific rules and requirements. Here’s how it generally works:

  1. Basic Principle: Most auto insurance policies in Canada will provide coverage throughout the country, even if you travel or drive outside your home province. This ensures that you’re covered for accidents or incidents that might occur while traveling or visiting another province.
  2. Territorial Limits: Insurance policies typically have “territorial limits,” which specify where the policy provides coverage. For most Canadian auto insurance policies, the territorial limit includes all of Canada and often the United States. However, if you’re traveling outside these limits (e.g., driving into Mexico), you’d need to obtain additional coverage.
  3. Coverage Adjustments: When you have an accident or incident in another province, your insurance coverage might adjust to meet the minimum required coverages of the province where the incident occurred. For instance, if your home province has a lower liability coverage minimum than the province where the accident took place, your policy might provide the higher liability coverage required by the province of the accident.
  4. Out-of-Province for Extended Periods: If you’re planning to be out-of-province for an extended period, such as several months, you might need to inform your insurance provider. There might be stipulations in your policy regarding how long you can be out-of-province before requiring adjustments or changes to your coverage.
  5. Moving to Another Province: If you move to another province permanently, you can’t simply rely on your old province’s insurance indefinitely. You’ll typically have a set period (often around 30 to 90 days, depending on the province) to register and insure your vehicle in your new province of residence.
  6. Special Cases: There are special cases, like students or military personnel, where individuals might be out-of-province for extended periods. Many insurance companies have provisions for these situations, allowing for continued coverage under the home province’s policy.
  7. Out-of-Country Considerations: As mentioned, most Canadian auto insurance policies will cover travel within the United States, but there are often limits on how long this coverage lasts (e.g., 30 days). If traveling outside of Canada and the U.S., additional insurance might be necessary.

Can I buy a car from another province in Canada?

Yes, you can buy a car from another province in Canada, but there are specific steps and considerations to be aware of:

  1. Inspection Requirements: Once you bring the car to your home province, it may need to undergo an out-of-province inspection before you can register it. This inspection ensures the vehicle meets the safety and emissions standards of your province.
  2. Taxes: You might need to pay provincial sales tax (PST) or the harmonized sales tax (HST) in your home province when registering the car, even if you’ve already paid tax in the province where you bought the vehicle. Some provinces might offer a tax credit for taxes already paid in another jurisdiction, so it’s important to check the specific tax regulations in your province.
  3. Registration: You’ll need to register the vehicle in your home province and get a new license plate. You might also need to provide a bill of sale, the vehicle’s current registration, and proof of insurance.
  4. Emissions Requirements: Provinces may have different emissions requirements. Ensure the vehicle you’re buying meets the standards of your home province.
  5. Recalls: Ensure there are no outstanding recalls on the vehicle. An out-of-province inspection might check for this, but it’s good to be proactive.
  6. Insurance: Before driving the car in your home province, ensure you have the appropriate insurance coverage. Your insurance provider will need details about the vehicle and may have specific requirements for out-of-province purchases.
  7. Warranty: If the car is new or under warranty, ensure that the warranty is Canada-wide and will be honored by dealerships in your home province.
  8. Costs: Consider the full cost of buying out-of-province, including potential inspections, taxes, registration fees, and any necessary modifications to meet your home province’s standards.
  9. Temporary Permits: If you’re driving the car back to your home province, you might need a temporary permit or transit permit for the journey.
  10. Liens: Ensure that there are no liens on the vehicle. You can do this by checking the vehicle’s history or using services that provide details about any outstanding debts tied to the car.

How to insure an out of province car in Ontario?


Insuring an out-of-province car in Ontario involves a series of steps, both for insurance and for vehicle registration. Here’s a general guideline to help you navigate the process:

  1. Temporary Insurance and Transit Permit: Before bringing the car into Ontario, consider obtaining temporary insurance and a transit permit from the province where you’re purchasing the vehicle. This will allow you to legally drive the car to Ontario.
  2. Safety Standards Certificate: Once the vehicle is in Ontario, you’ll need to get a Safety Standards Certificate, which proves the vehicle meets Ontario safety standards. This is obtained by having the vehicle inspected at an Ontario licensed inspection station.
  3. Drive Clean Emissions Test: Depending on the vehicle’s age and other factors, you might also need a Drive Clean emissions test. This ensures the vehicle meets Ontario’s emissions standards.
  4. Register the Vehicle: Before you can insure the car in Ontario, you’ll need to register it. Visit a ServiceOntario centre with the required documents, including:
    • The original vehicle registration or a certified copy (from the previous province).
    • The completed and signed Application for Registration.
    • Proof of valid insurance from an insurance provider licensed in Ontario.
    • The Safety Standards Certificate and Drive Clean Emissions Test results (if applicable).
    • A Used Vehicle Information Package (UVIP), if the vehicle is used.
  5. Obtain Insurance: For a vehicle to be registered in Ontario, it must be insured by an insurance company licensed to operate in Ontario. When you’re shopping for insurance:
    • Provide all the necessary details about the vehicle, including its previous out-of-province registration.
    • Mention any modifications or unique characteristics of the car that might affect its insurability or value.
    • Shop around. Rates can vary significantly between providers. Consider using an insurance broker to help you find the best rates and coverage.
  6. Pay Retail Sales Tax: When registering the vehicle, you’ll be required to pay the Provincial Sales Tax (PST) based on the purchase price or the vehicle’s wholesale value, whichever is greater.
  7. License Plates and Validation Sticker: Once the vehicle is registered and insured, you can obtain Ontario license plates and a validation sticker. The sticker needs to be renewed annually.

About the Author: Valerie D. Hahn

Valerie is an insurance editor, journalist, and business professional at RateLab. She has more than 15 years of experience in personal financial products. She strives to educate readers and ensure that they are properly protected.

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