COVID-19 has many of us scrambling to work from home, maintain sanity with kids, and save money. Putting our RRSP payments on hold, or asking our mortgage lenders to skip a payment are options, but can you put car insurance on hold?
Yes, you can pause car insurance, but the stipulations hardly make it worthwhile. And there are some differences in public and private systems worth exploring. Let’s try to understand why you shouldn’t hold your insurance.
Technically, in Ontario’s private car insurance system, the answer is yes, but it requires 2 Ontario Policy Change Forms – OPCF16 & OPCF17.
By signing, you give up the 4 main components of car insurance
Your insurer may choose to refund a portion of your insurance, and only if the suspension is at least 45 days. That refund is as a credit, which is available when you reinstate your car insurance.
While liability and accident benefits are easy to give up, uninsured auto and DCPD are still valuable, especially if you park on the street and someone hits your car. But then, to some degree, so is liability and accident benefits if your car rolls down the driveway and hits someone.
ICBC, the public car insurance provider for all BC drivers, has a storage policy. The example they use is parking an RV for the winter in a driveway. The only time you really need insurance is for when something happens to it while it’s parked (unless you’re worried about it rolling down the driveway). For instance, should a tree fall on it, you’ll still be covered.
Storage is a smart option, and because it’s not hidden behind forms and stipulations, it’s much easier to do. But, even ICBC leaves it open for you to add collision and liability to your storage policy. So, it leaves question marks on what you might be missing without full coverage.