The regular insurance market in Ontario handles most policies for the province’s drivers. There are, however, drivers who fall through the cracks. These drivers can’t find coverage within the regular insurance market. Yet the insurance industry must offer policies if these motorists are entitled to drive.
How Does a Driver Become Hard to Insure?
The most obvious route to insurance infamy is through poor driving habits. A driver who builds a collection of speeding tickets sees car insurance prices rising. It takes about three years for the effects of speeding tickets to disappear from insurance histories. When several tickets pile up quickly, the insurance company has the right to cancel their policy.
Similarly, convictions for major traffic offences may be grounds for policy cancellation. Careless driving, dangerous driving or impaired driving are serious charges that may include driver’s license suspensions. Again, when an offense or combination of offenses exceeds an insurance company’s underwriting rules, a cancellation notice will follow.
Non-payment of insurance can increase a driver’s risk as well. While non-payment doesn’t increase the likelihood an insurer pays out a claim, it interferes with revenue. A driver earning a reputation as a poor payer becomes recognized by the insurance industry as high risk and becomes hard to insure.
Sometimes, it’s not the driver, it’s the vehicle. Modified vehicles are notoriously hard to insure. The premise is that high performance improvements increase the temptation to operate the vehicle in an unsafe manner. Classic vehicles and antique cars fall outside of regular insurance market providers as well. Owning any of these vehicles could make insurance hard to buy.
The Facility Association
The insurance industry in Canada has an obligation to offer insurance to any driver legally entitled to drive, for any car mechanically fit to use public streets. Though insurers can’t violate the underwriting rules they proposed to the Financial Services Commission of Ontario once these are approved, a special industry organization can facilitate special case insurance. The Facility Association is sometimes called the insurer of last resort.
This isn’t technically true, since the Facility Association doesn’t actually underwrite policies. Instead, it works with regular insurance companies outside of the restrictions of FSCO approved rules for the regular insurance market. Hard to insure drivers and vehicles fall into the residual insurance market. Policies offered to hard to insure drivers through the Facility Association are expensive. In some cases, premiums could be five times the cost of conventional insurance. Policies through the FA often top $10,000 annually.
Other Car Insurance Options
Specialty insurers emerge to provide policies to hard to insure segments. In particular, classic and antique vehicles experience a niche market expanding in the conventional car insurance segment. Though not as common, high risk drivers are now seeing specialty providers emerging.
Once a hard to insure driver obtains insurance, aggressive and ongoing comparison shopping is prudent, particularly if offenses are fading into the past. Using Ratelab’s car insurance calculator provides a quick and accurate way to determine if a driver is eligible for coverage in the regular market. The driver simply needs to enter a postal code below, fill out the following pages and check for results. Once the regular insurance market accepts the driver back into the fold, cost savings are likely major.
Enter your postal code below to start the search for affordable car insurance coverage.