Insurance for motorcycles and snowmobiles is mandatory in Ontario, except in certain situations.
To drive a motorcycle, you must have a valid motorcycle licence. You do not need insurance if you drive the motorcycle on private property.
If you are 16 years of age or older, to drive a snowmobile across a road, on roadways and on trails, you must have a valid driver’s licence, motorized snow vehicle operator’s licence or a licence from another jurisdiction.
If you are 12 years of age or older, to drive a snowmobile on a trail, you must have a valid motorized snow vehicle operator’s licence, or a licence from another jurisdiction that allows you to drive a snowmobile.
You do not need insurance if you drive a snowmobile on the private property of the snowmobile’s owner.
In all other cases, the law requires that you have the following minimum coverages:
- Third-party liability coverage of at least $200,000 to protect you if another person is killed or injured, or if their property is damaged. If you are sued, this coverage pays claims up to your coverage limit and the cost of settling the claims.
- Statutory accident benefits coverage to provide supplementary medical, rehabilitation, attendant care, caregiver, non-earner, income replacement and death benefits if you are killed or injured in an accident, regardless of who caused it.
- Direct compensation – Property damage (DC-PD) coverage to pay for damage to your vehicle and its contents, if another driver is at fault for an accident that occurs in Ontario and that driver is insured by an insurance company licensed in the province.
- Uninsured automobile coverage to provide financial compensation for you and your family if you are injured or killed by an unidentified driver or by an uninsured motorist. It also covers damage to your vehicle caused by an identified uninsured driver, up to $25,000.
In addition to the mandatory minimum coverages required by law, you may purchase higher liability limits under your third-party liability coverage, as well as increased accident benefit coverages.
Your insurance representative will be able to help you decide what level of coverage is best for you.
In addition to the standard coverages, you may also buy extra coverage for loss or damage to your vehicle including:
- Specified perils coverage
- Comprehensive coverage
- Collision or upset coverage
- All perils coverage
Your insurance broker, agent or insurance company representative can provide you with a complete explanation of all optional coverages that are available.
Motorcycle and snowmobile insurance is a specialty insurance product, and not all insurance companies offer it.
If you already have auto insurance, you may want to check with your broker, agent or insurance company to see if your insurance company also sells coverage for motorcycles or snowmobiles. Your insurance company may offer a discount on the motorcycle or snowmobile premium if your vehicle is insured by them as well.
You can also purchase “stand-alone” motorcycle or snowmobile insurance separate from any other auto insurance policy you may possess. However, the premium for a stand-alone motorcycle or snowmobile insurance policy may be more expensive than if the motorcycle or snowmobile is added to your existing auto insurance policy.
To find a broker, agent or insurance company that sells motorcycle or snowmobile insurance, you can start by asking friends, relatives and co-workers where they bought their insurance.
Your local cycle shop or dealer may be aware of insurance companies or group plans that provide motorcycle or snowmobile insurance. Also, if you belong to a motorcycle club or snowmobile association, you can check with its members to see if they have any information about brokers, agents or insurance companies in your community.
Check local motorcycle or snowmobile magazines or newspapers for insurance representatives who sell insurance.
Finally, the Insurance Brokers Association of Ontario website, contains a section where consumers can search online for brokers.
Many factors play a role in determining the cost of your insurance. Your age, driving record, how often you drive, your rider training, where you live and the type of motorcycle or snowmobile you own can all affect your insurance premium.
For motorcycles, you can expect to pay a lower premium if you have at least one year of motorcycle riding experience, or if you have completed a motorcycle riding course. The type, size and age of your motorcycle or snowmobile will also affect the premium you pay. Usually, the bigger the motorcycle or snowmobile, the higher the premium. Also, some insurance companies may not insure certain types of motorcycles or snowmobiles, such as high-performance/sport models.
You may be able to take advantage of special discounts offered by your insurance company to members of motorcycle or snowmobile associations and mature riders. You may also save money by insuring more than one motorcycle or snowmobile under a policy.
Limited-speed motorcycles have a maximum engine displacement of 50 cubic centimetres or less, reach a top speed of 70 km per hour and cannot be driven on certain highways.
To drive a limited-speed motorcycle, you must have a restricted class M licence for limited-speed motorcycles and mopeds or a valid motorcycle licence. You must also have the same insurance coverage as a motorcycle.
Motor-assisted bicycles or mopeds generally possess fitted pedals, a motor and reach a top speed of 50 km per hour. You cannot drive them on certain highways.
To drive a moped, you must have a restricted class M licence for limited-speed motorcycles and mopeds or a valid motorcycle licence. You must also have the same insurance coverage as a motorcycle.
Off-road vehicles are two-wheeled motorized vehicles and certain vehicles with four or more wheels intended for recreational use. These vehicles include moto-cross bikes and four-wheel all-terrain vehicles.
To drive an off-road vehicle, you must have at a minimum, a valid G2/M2 or greater driver's licence unless you are driving on your private property. If you plan to drive the vehicle anywhere other than on the private property of the vehicle's owner, you must also have the same mandatory insurance coverage as an automobile.
Many other motorized vehicles, such as the Segway™ human transporter and pocket bikes, are now available in the marketplace. These vehicles are generally not permitted on public roads and, as such, are not covered by auto insurance. You should check with the Ministry of Transportation, local police and municipalities for the specific restrictions to these vehicles.
Visit the Insurance Bureau of Canada website or call 1-800-387-2880 for more information about companies specializing in insuring motorcycles, snowmobiles and other motorized vehicles.
To help locate a broker near you, you can visit the Insurance Brokers Association of Ontario website.
Your insurance broker, agent or insurance company representative can provide you with information about the insurance options that exist across vehicle types.