Woman laying on motorcycle on beach.

January 12, 2020

Comparing Ontario motorcycle insurance to other jurisdictions – California

2 min read


We get a lot of feedback from Ontario motorcycle riders about how expensive it is to insure a motorcycle in Ontario compared to other jurisdictions, particularly US states.

At M&W, we are motorcycle enthusiasts, and sympathize with Ontario riders who are more and more frustrated with the cost of motorcycle insurance, and the lack of options in the market right now.

We’ve tried to explain the discrepancy in price, but it’s tough for a lot of people to wrap their heads around paying 5-8 times as much for half the months of riding. Ultimately, it’s all about coverage. In California, you’re required to have a certain amount of liability coverage (in case you hurt someone else), but you’re not required to have any coverage for yourself if you’re injured in an accident.

Oh, and motorcycle riders are three times more likely than drivers to be injured in an accident, and ten times more likely to be seriously injured.

Minimum coverage

As an Ontario rider, even if you buy the minimum coverage, you have a generous package of insurance that includes at least $200,000 in liability if you hurt someone and get sued, plus robust medical benefits to help you get back on your feet after an accident.

In California on the other hand, if you’re at-fault for an accident, the most you’re covered for, even if you kill two people and cause $100,000 in property damage, is $46,340 (CDN). If you get sued, you’re personally on the hook for the balance. If you get injured, you have zero coverage for medical expenses, zero for lost income and zero for dependent care. If you die, you guessed it, there’s zero coverage for funeral expenses.

If you’re a California rider with basic insurance, you better hope any accident you get into is not your fault. Then you can sue the at-fault party. If you’re at-fault, you’re completely on your own.

Here’s a side-by-side comparison of basic motorcycle coverage in Ontario and California:

If you get sued
  • $200,000 in liability coverage for property damage, injury, or death due to an accident that you are responsible for.
  • $15,000 for injury/death to one person. ($19,860 CDN)
  • $30,000 for injury/death to more than one person. ($39,720 CDN)
  • $5,000 for damage to property. ($6,620 CDN)
If you get injured
Income replacement
  • Up to $400 a week if you’re injured in an accident and miss work.
  • Nothing
Medical expenses
  • Up to $1 million for catastrophic injury
  • Nothing
Dependant care
  • Up to $250 a week for first dependent (+$50 per additional dependent) if you’re catastrophically injured and need someone to care for your dependents
  • Nothing
If you get killed
Death benefit to dependents
  • $25,000 to your spouse
  • $10,000 to each dependent
  • Nothing
Funeral expenses
  • Up to $6,000
  • Nothing
If somebody wrecks your bike
Direct compensation – Property damage
  • If you’re not at-fault for an accident, your insurer will pay for damage to your bike, so you don’t have to sue them
  • Nothing
If you get hit by someone who doesn’t have insurance
Uninsured automobile coverage
  • Up to $200,000 if you get in an accident with another rider or driver who doesn’t have insurance and they are at-fault
  • Nothing

Insurance is not just one thing, so even though you can probably insure the same bike in California for $300-400 that would cost you more than $2,000 in Ontario, the coverage you’re buying is not even close. There’s definitely an argument to be made that the minimums in Ontario are too high, but riders who suffer a serious injury will tell you that it’s worth every penny.

If you want to ride your dream bike, give us a call, we’ll let you know your options, answer your questions, and get you set up so you can go carve up some curves this spring!

Looking for motorcycle insurance?

Speak with a Mitch Insurance broker today to get a quote on motorcycle insurance in Ontario.

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    I totally get the comparison from California rates and Ontario rates, you can get a $100,000 liability coverage there and end up paying pennies compared to here but the author says “oh they don’t get medical coverage and get put in financial ruin”, except the riders over there for the most part have private health insurance too. Why am i forced to take out a $1M dollar liability coverage with over 7 years of riding history? Does the insurance company think we’re launching out motorcycles into gas stations or crowds of people or something? Canadian insurance can put people in financial ruin too, there’s multiple scenarios where you could be deemed no fault but because you may have not had proof (gopro) of the incident the insurance company can deem you 50% at fault, there’s no reason for them to fight for your case, they’re getting their money back regardless. Now not only are you forced to make a claim because you might be injured, your premiums are definitely going up, and other riders in the province also have their premiums increased. If you EVER even get into one claim and you are deemed 50% at fault or more that’s it, provided you aren’t seriously injured say good bye to ever riding a motorcycle again in Ontario legally.

    Population density is a joke. Food for thought, population of Canada is is ~37.59 million people (2019), while the population of JUST the state of California is ~39.51 million people (2019). The state of California has more people living than all of Canada. Let assume 50% of the population lives in Ontario which is ~18.8 million people, you got to be kidding me if insurance companies really expect us to believe population density and more people buying bikes and claiming them is increasing premiums.

    I wish insurance companies would release statistics for the number of “catastrophic payouts”. All the benefits that Ontario’s insurance covers can be adjusted and become flexible to suit the payer in the US. You can take out a separate life insurance policy for you spouse/dependents, private health insurance, life insurance policy to cover funeral expenses, medical insurance to cover at home aide, EI exists in the US aswell, etc, etc.

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