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What is non-owner car insurance in Canada?

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If you’ve ever borrowed your friend’s car for a quick errand or rented a vehicle for a family road trip, you may have wondered how auto insurance works for a car you don’t own. Are you protected for losses if you get into an accident? You can be, and one way to make sure is by getting non-owner car insurance. 

Non-owner car insurance varies depending on which province you live in. So if you’re interested in learning about how it works for you, read on for more information. 

What is non-owner car insurance?

Non-owner car insurance is a type of coverage that protects you if you’re driving a car you don’t own. If you take your friend’s car out for a ride and you get into an at-fault accident, their auto insurance might not cover all the damages and loss. Having a non-owner car insurance policy, however, can protect you from paying what would have been a substantial expense. 

Who needs non-owner car insurance? 

If you rent cars on an occasional basis or you regularly borrow a car, consider purchasing non-owner car insurance. This could be a friend, family, or neighbour’s vehicle that you drive once or twice a week. If you aren’t listed on their personal auto insurance policy, having non-owner car insurance is a good risk-management tool to have in case of an accident. 

With rental cars, you are generally required to take full responsibility for any damages you cause to the car unless you pay to sign a loss damage waiver (also known as a collision damage waiver). This could add up quickly if you’re charged by the day, so purchasing a non-owner car insurance policy can also save you money here in the long run.

On the other hand, if you rarely rent or borrow cars, you probably won’t need to invest in this type of coverage. Driving your friend’s car once or twice without non-owner car insurance isn’t something to lose sleep over as long as the car is insured in some way, and you have their permission. 

If you regularly drive a car owned by someone in your household, you also won’t need non-owner car insurance — auto insurance companies will require you to be listed on the vehicle’s policy. 

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Non-owner car insurance in public provinces

In British Columbia, Saskatchewan, and Manitoba non-owner car insurance can be purchased as a standalone policy — meaning, you can get it without owning a car that has existing auto insurance. This is ideal for anyone that rents and borrows vehicles because they don’t have access to one of their own. 

With Saskatchewan, non-owned automobile coverage is automatically included for anyone that has the basic Auto Pak plan with collision and comprehensive insurance. So if you own an insured car, you won’t need to purchase non-owner coverage separately. And if you don’t own one, you can still get the coverage on its own. 

In British Columbia and Manitoba, non-owner car insurance can still be added to your current auto policy — if you have one. BC residents can also purchase RoadStar or RoadStar Plus, an optional insurance package that includes non-owner coverage with other popular products. 

Each province works differently when it comes to car insurance so be sure to speak to a local broker for more details. 

Non-owner car insurance in Ontario: legal liability for damage to non-owned automobiles

In the province of Ontario, non-owner car insurance cannot be purchased as a standalone policy. Instead, you need to have existing car insurance and add non-owner insurance as an endorsement to extend the coverage from your current policy to the rented or borrowed vehicle.

The legal liability for damage to non-owned automobiles form, or OPCF27, provides non-owner car insurance to existing policyholders in Ontario. This coverage is also available as SEF27 in Alberta and Atlantic Canada or QEF27 in Quebec. 

What is OPCF27?

Also known as legal liability for damage to non-owned vehicles, OPCF27 is an add-on to your current auto insurance policy that allows you to extend your current coverage to a rented or borrowed vehicle. 

Rental vehicles typically don’t come with collision and comprehensive coverage, and the basic insurance limits for property damage and bodily injury claims may not be as much as you would like. You can sign a waiver so you won’t be responsible for paying off vehicle damages, but with OPCF27 you won’t need to worry about that.

With the added endorsement, you’ll be able to use your own third-party liability and accident benefits from your personal policy on the insured vehicle you’re driving. And you’ll have collision and comprehensive insurance, so if you get into an accident in your non-owned vehicle, the damages won’t be paid entirely out of your pocket. 

Limitations to OPCF27

There are a few limitations to the legal liability for damage to non-owned automobiles form if you’re renting a car. 

The OCF27 endorsement only applies to:

  • Standard rental vehicles under 4500 kg in weight
  • Drivers listed on your personal insurance policy
  • A maximum of 30 days of renting
  • Driving in Canada and the United States 

How much does non-owner car insurance cost in Ontario? 

The non-owner car insurance endorsement typically doesn’t cost more than $50 annually. Compared to other rental car insurance options and the potential costs of damages after a collision, it can be a much more affordable and worthwhile investment. 

The bottom line

Non-owner car insurance protects drivers of rented or borrowed vehicles, but in some provinces, you’ll need a personal policy to start you off. Having non-owner car insurance isn’t ideal for everyone, but it can be a great option if you occasionally drive vehicles that aren’t insured under your name. 

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