Registering a car in Canada can seem very complex for a first-time driver. You need insurance, identification, money for fees and taxes, and sometimes even special testing to certify your car's emissions as safe. If you have questions about the Canadian car registry system, here are answers for some of them.
Who Sells You The Required Insurance?
Before any car can be registered in Canada, it must be covered at a minimum by third-party liability insurance. This form of insurance ensures that anyone hit or injured will have their costs covered should you be found at fault in an accident. This includes third parties, like pedestrians, who weren't a part of the accident but still suffered as a result of it. Other common forms of insurance, like collision insurance to cover your own costs in the event of an accident, are recommended for all drivers, but not required by law.
If you don't live in Manitoba, Saskatchewan, or British Columbia, you'll need to buy all of your chosen insurance coverage policies from private vendors unaffiliated with the government. In remaining provinces other than Quebec, however, government agencies will sell you the minimum required policy. You can choose to supplement this with private insurance policies as well, but it isn't required. Quebec's system involves government administered third-party injury insurance, but all insurance related to property damage is sold separately.
Do You Have To Personally Register Your Car?
It can sometimes be difficult to find time to get to the office during business hours for your car registration. Unfortunately, you do have to go in person, since your photo ID and other identifying documents are required before you can be listed as a vehicle's owner. Renewing your existing registry does not have to be done in person, however. Some provinces allow you to do this online several weeks before it expires. In other cases, you can send a friend or family member to renew your car's registry in person.
If you intend to transfer ownership of a car to a friend or family member, you don't need to personally go to the registry office with them as long as the appropriate transfer documents have been filled out prior to their visit.
How Much Does Registering A Car Cost?
The exact cost of registering your car actually depends on a few different factors. The first is that each province charges a small registration fee, and this fee varies across the country. You'll also need to pay taxes on the car before it can be registered, and certain provinces require an emissions test that you may need to pay for.
You'll need to consult your specific province's website for information on fees and taxes. Keep in mind that if you buy a car in a province with lower vehicle purchase taxes, you'll still need to pay the predetermined registry fee and taxes of the province in which you register it.
What Happens When You Change Your Registry To A New Province?
When you have your vehicle registry changed to a new province, you may have to pay additional fees and make changes before your car is permitted. When moving a car from a province that does not require an emissions test to one that does, you'll need to have testing done before you attempt to register. Similarly, if you re-register a car from a low tax province to one with higher taxes, you may be required to pay the difference in taxes as part of the registry fee.
Citizens of Quebec may need to carefully examine their insurance policies before moving registry to a new province. The minimum coverage amount in many parts of Canada is $200,000, but it's only $50,000 in Quebec. If you are moving from Quebec to another province, your policy may need an upgrade.
If you have more questions about how to register your car in your specific province, you can use the province's government website to look for answer. You can also go to your local registry office and ask in person. Usually a government agent will be happy to walk you through the process and tell you what you still need to do. If you live in Calgary, you can click here for more info on registering your car.