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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Im sure this is simple....but right now i am confused about the process i need to go through in order to purchase a vehicle and use it when i get to Peterborough in Ontario.

Please correct the following as appropriate...
- Get an address
- Get insurance (i assume insurance is independent of the vehicle...unlike the UK??? Are there comparison websites?)
- Convert UK drivers licence to Ontario one (how do i do this...how long does it take? ANy tests or do i just go to an office with a spare photo?)
- Buy a car (what do i need to get from the seller?)
- Permit...whats this for?
- License plates...are the plates unique to the driver rather than the car?? If so how do you drive a car away from a garage without having plates int he first place?
- Whats the License plate sticker...i assume that sticks onto the above plates?
- Paying sales tax....if you pay cash and the seller gives a receipt for a lower value than the sales price, you pay less tax....seems a weird system to control!?!?

so yeah...help me out with the process...
 

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Im sure this is simple....but right now i am confused about the process i need to go through in order to purchase a vehicle and use it when i get to Peterborough in Ontario.
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Please correct the following as appropriate...
- Get an address. yes
- Get insurance (i assume insurance is independent of the vehicle...unlike the UK??? Are there comparison websites?) yes
- Convert UK drivers licence to Ontario one (how do i do this...how long does it take? ANy tests or do i just go to an office with a spare photo?). just go to a Service Ontario office. It should take no more than 15 minutes. They will take your photograph
- Buy a car (what do i need to get from the seller?) a sales receipt
- Permit...whats this for? this is the ownership certificate for the vehicle
- License plates...are the plates unique to the driver rather than the car?? yes to driverIf so how do you drive a car away from a garage without having plates int he first place?you can't. You will need to register and insure the vehicle first
- Whats the License plate sticker...i assume that sticks onto the above plates?upon first registration you will receive plates with sticker. Upon renewal you will receive new sticker
- Paying sales tax....if you pay cash and the seller gives a receipt for a lower value than the sales price, you pay less tax....seems a weird system to control!?!? the age of the vehicle in some respect determines the sales tax to be paid. If you make a arrangement (illegal) with the vendor and the price doesn't match what Gov't thinks is correct it will determine sales tax to be paid.

so yeah...help me out with the process...
Insurance is expensive and there is no comparative website of which I'm aware.
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
Thanks for that....

Does anyone know of good insurance companies to start with - particularly for newcomers to Canada? I really have no idea where to start with this, in the UK there are various comparison websites that you stick your details in and they search almost all companies so you can instantly see the cheapest quotation rather than ringing around 10's of companies.
What are the main factors for insurance? I assume I can use my no claims bonus from the UK? Any tips for getting the best rate?

What percentage is the sales tax? I need to know to have an appreciation of the overall cost of a vehicle.

I assume garages have some sort of agreement whereby a buyer can test drive a car without getting the permit and plates for it first! Im surprised you can't drive a vehicle home and then have so many days in which to do all the registration stuff.....what if you buy a car on a sunday when the offices are not open?
 

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Car insurance companies in Ontario.

Ontario sales tax information.

If you test drive a car from a dealership, the dealership has "Dealer" plates. These are generically issued to the dealership (they have a special holder that allows the plate to be moved from vehicle to vehicle without effort) to cover short trips on and off the dealer's property so that potential purchasers can take the vehicle for a test drive... the plates are not vehicle specific, so the dealership may have a half dozen Dealer plates for the fleet of cars in their current inventory.

In regards to buying a car off of a mechanic's garage, usually the car has plates on it issued to the Seller... whilst it's not mandatory for an unused car to sit unlicensed on a private property, it's a good idea for the current owner to have some sort of cover (storage insurance) in case of incidental damage. Often times cars for sale at auto mechanic garages are there for a quick sale on behalf of a customer, so as long as the insurance cover on the car hasn't yet expired, most Sellers will just keep the existing cover and cancel it (and the license plates) when the sale has been completed.

In this instance (private purchase of a used vehicle regardless of whether it's on a person's drive or an auto mechanic's forecourt), it's the Buyer's responsibility to get the plates, decal(s) and pay for the cover (and any sales tax) before driving the vehicle away. If the car's been sat uninsured, the Seller can purchase a temporary licence for the vehicle lasting anywhere from a day to several weeks or months, which will allow the vehicle to be moved as often as required (i.e. if the potential Buyer wants to take the vehicle for a test drive) for the entire course of the temporary license.

If you buy a car off of a dealer's forecourt, they have an insurance broker whom they can ring to come and insure the car any time that the dealership is open... i.e. when I bought my Nissan '08 off the lot back in late 2007, the sale was finalised on a Saturday. The Nissan dealership rang up their insurance guy (he worked for an agency that had an office on the campus of the auto mall) and he came 'round to issue plates, expiry decals and the insurance policy.
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
Ok thanks....but this adds some confusion - The first comment showed that the DRIVER is insured and not the vehicle....i.e. the driver can purchase whatever vehicle they like and can drive that under their insurance. This would explain why insurance is expensive because effectively, the vehicle value could be small or large...
However your response suggests that the vehicle gets insured rather than the driver!? That would imply that both me and my wife (for example) could drive the vehicle from the same insurance?!

My experience from the past suggests that when services are offered from the sales depot....so in this case, insurance being offered from dealership location, that's its be far not the cheapest. As an example - my possessions being shipped from the UK need to be insured....the insurance is far cheaper if done separately compared to using the 'shippers' preferred insurance. Is this the same scenario with car insurance there? i.e. better to sort it yourself elsewhere?
 

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It's the vehicle that gets insured and not the driver. Most provinces require that vehicle owners get basic minimum amount of insurance cover from a licensed underwriter. Anything over and above this cover is optional.

This can benefit the family of an inexperienced young driver in that the parents can buy the kids a beater to drive around in (i.e. to cricket practice, footy practice, school, part time job, dates, cinema etc) while sparing the (usually) more expensive family car from being subject to possible damage while the kid(s) are getting more driving experience... the older car is cheaper to insure (potential resale value is lower) and minor damage to the vehicle body may not necessarily need to be repaired.

Whilst basic cover is mandatory, it varies from province to province as to who can offer basic cover... for example, in British Columbia, the provincial government is the official (and only) underwriter for the basic cover, but in Ontario, one can choose whom to insure with. Both provinces allow for a free market for extended cover, and most underwriters (including the BC government) offer a no claims discount.

Here's some guidance regarding automobile cover from the Province of Ontario.

In regards to the driver... he/she accumulates points (or not) based upon their driving record... too many points and the motor vehicle branch won't let the driver renew their license (like in the UK, the points expire after a time).

For example, when he was in uni, my Brother was ticketed for excessive speed in a vehicle that was registered in our Dad's name. Dad's insurance premium didn't go up as a result of the speeding ticket, but Brother's license got a set number of points. Fortunately for him, when it came for him to renew his license, the number of points was low enough to permit him to renew without any problem and the points eventually fell away.

As for myself, I used to speed all of the time when I was living in Canada... fortunately, I had the foresight to be on the lookout for the police laying in wait either at the side of the road or the central reservation and slow down in time, so I never got any points against my license. The one time I did get caught, I was lucky to only have received a "bylaw infraction" and a CAD 50$ fine (i.e. no points)... not quite sure how that happened, but since my speedometer said faster than what the police clocked me (who am I to argue... it would have otherwise resulted in a higher priced ticket/fine, had it been a real traffic violation I was being booked for), and no points, I happily paid the fine the next day.

The whole car insurance/driver points thing can get dicey when it comes to photo radar and people driving the vehicle. The photo/ticket arrive in the mail, to the name of the registered owner of the car (i.e. the person whose name is attached as the owner of the car's license plates)...so, whilst no points are issued for speeding, there is a fine issued, making it incumbent on the car owner to determine who was driving the car and get them to pay the fine - again, Brother was caught speeding in Dad's car... when the ticket arrived, it was posted on the front of the refrigerator for everyone in the house to see that someone was busted for speeding. It would have been difficult to determine who was driving the car (Dad and Brother both drove it... Mum and I didn't know how to drive stick at the time), had it not been for Brother wearing the hat that was clearly visible on the driver when the photo was taken. Photo/ticket/fine were quietly removed from the front of the refrigerator one evening and nothing was ever said about it again.


I'm not sure about how to insure a vehicle at the dealer's lot in Ontario (I lived primarily in BC), but i would imagine that there are procedures in place to permit the Buyer to choose who provides their insurance cover.
 

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One word of warning... Canada has seatbelt rules and very tough drink driving rules.

Road blocks/seatbelt checks can happen anywhere at any time and whilst failing to use your seatbelt will only garner you a fine, you can lose your license for a minimum of 3 days (plus fines) if you have been drinking and driving and are subsequently stopped and blow as low as 0.05.

Not that you'd drink and drive drive, but here's the low down on what the Province of Ontario will do in regards to drink driving.
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
Great....so whats the best way of getting a list of insurance companies so I can start ringing round and finding out some prices?
 

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Im sure this is simple....but right now i am confused about the process i need to go through in order to purchase a vehicle and use it when i get to Peterborough in Ontario.

Please correct the following as appropriate...
- Get an address
- Get insurance (i assume insurance is independent of the vehicle...unlike the UK??? Are there comparison websites?)
- Convert UK drivers licence to Ontario one (how do i do this...how long does it take? ANy tests or do i just go to an office with a spare photo?)
- Buy a car (what do i need to get from the seller?)
- Permit...whats this for?
- License plates...are the plates unique to the driver rather than the car?? If so how do you drive a car away from a garage without having plates int he first place?
- Whats the License plate sticker...i assume that sticks onto the above plates?
- Paying sales tax....if you pay cash and the seller gives a receipt for a lower value than the sales price, you pay less tax....seems a weird system to control!?!?

so yeah...help me out with the process...

Change your license over. Choose your car and work out the price (do not pay all of the extra fees that dealerships try to tack on...if they won't drop those walk away as they are not the only game in town and another dealership will drop them). Contact insurance companies and let them know the info on the car. Get insurance from whatever company you choose to use. Provide that info to the dealer. They will register the car with the government (plates, plate sticker, ownership, etc.) and put them on for you before you pick it up. Drive away with your new car.
 

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Thanks for that....

Does anyone know of good insurance companies to start with - particularly for newcomers to Canada? I really have no idea where to start with this, in the UK there are various comparison websites that you stick your details in and they search almost all companies so you can instantly see the cheapest quotation rather than ringing around 10's of companies.
What are the main factors for insurance? I assume I can use my no claims bonus from the UK? Any tips for getting the best rate?
Go with an insurance broker, they will search for the best rate.



I assume garages have some sort of agreement whereby a buyer can test drive a car without getting the permit and plates for it first!
Of course they do. They just put their own plates on it for a test drive. You can also demand that you be allowed to take it to an independent mechanic to be looked over before you buy (someone from the dealership will usually go with you).


Im surprised you can't drive a vehicle home and then have so many days in which to do all the registration stuff.....what if you buy a car on a sunday when the offices are not open?

How can you drive a car that isn't properly registered? Doing so is illegal.

The dealership will do all of the registration for you, but it has to happen when the government offices are open otherwise you come back a day later when government offices are open.



Ok thanks....but this adds some confusion - The first comment showed that the DRIVER is insured and not the vehicle....i.e. the driver can purchase whatever vehicle they like and can drive that under their insurance.
No, you have to let the insurance company know what vehicle you are driving and the cost is based on your driving record and the vehicle. You and your wife would both have to be insured (same policy).




i.e. better to sort it yourself elsewhere?

Definitely do it yourself, do not use their insurance people.
 

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What I was getting at was the fact that whilst the vehicle insurance covers the people driving the car, the policy doesn't necessarily name the authorised driver(s) of the vehicle.

Here in the UK, my Mother in Law had to contact her insurance provider to ask about how I could be added to her insurance cover. I got an abstract from ICBC that detailed the previous 5 years of claims-free driving history to give to MiL's insurance company could see that I am a safe driver. Every year she renews her policy with me as a registered driver, she has to pay extra for my name to be listed.

When I go to visit my family in BC, I can hop into my parents' car or even my brother & sister-in-law's cars and take my husband out without the family first having to contact ICBC to have me added... as long as the policy doesn't state that the registered owner is the only one permitted to drive the vehicle, then anyone is able to operate the vehicle (a friend of mine had the "registered owner only to operate" rider on her policy and didn't know about it until she went to renew her policy).
 

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What I was getting at was the fact that whilst the vehicle insurance covers the people driving the car, the policy doesn't necessarily name the authorised driver(s) of the vehicle.
Here in Ontario it does - the policy lists the drivers.




When I go to visit my family in BC, I can hop into my parents' car or even my brother & sister-in-law's cars and take my husband out without the family first having to contact ICBC to have me added... as long as the policy doesn't state that the registered owner is the only one permitted to drive the vehicle, then anyone is able to operate the vehicle (a friend of mine had the "registered owner only to operate" rider on her policy and didn't know about it until she went to renew her policy).

Here in Ontario you can have a provision added to the policy that allows anyone with a legal license to drive the car. My aunt's car was damaged and she decided to buy a new one. While she was searching for that car my parents loaned her their spare car. They had to alter their policy to allow her to drive it (the provision didn't name her, it included anyone with a legal license).

While some policies will include that provision, not all do so in those instances the provision has to be added and, until it is, only those listed on the policy can drive the car.
 

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Discussion Starter · #14 ·
Ok thanks for the replies....very helpful information!

Slightly different topic, cars....
I know about cars available in Europe (e.g. French cars are terrible for reliability, German and Japanese are the best), but I know nothing of American cars such as Chevolet, Ram or Dodge and so on.
Can you give any info on which are the good reliable makes, which are the ones to avoid etc....right now I have no idea what vehicle to even look for! Maybe a, SUV.

And god damn it ....why is everything automatic! Whats wrong with a manual!!!!!
 

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You can get standard transmission cars in Canada... all of the Nissans I've owned were stick shift and I loved them... the car that Dad owned, but Brother was busted for speeding in was a stick as well... however, the market preference tends to be for automatic transmission.

I'd recommend having a look at Consumer Reports... they're the closest North American equivalent to the UK's Which? and is generally considered a trustworthy source for information.

You can get most Japanese and German vehicles in North America as well... the model names will likely vary from the UK, but the makes are more or less the same.
 
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Ok thanks for the replies....very helpful information!

Slightly different topic, cars....
I know about cars available in Europe (e.g. French cars are terrible for reliability, German and Japanese are the best), but I know nothing of American cars such as Chevolet, Ram or Dodge and so on.
Can you give any info on which are the good reliable makes, which are the ones to avoid etc....right now I have no idea what vehicle to even look for! Maybe a, SUV.

And god damn it ....why is everything automatic! Whats wrong with a manual!!!!!
You should learn and accept that many things are different here. Not better, not worse, just different. If you come here with the 'that's not the way it's done in UK' attitude you'll just drive yourself nuts and be a PIA to every Canadian you tell it to. You'll get a 'well go back where the f*** you came from' response. Drivers in NA prefer automatic transmissions.
North American cars are now well built and compete well with European/Japanese vehicles. You can get lemons just as with the foreign vehicles.
 

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Ok thanks for the replies....very helpful information!

Slightly different topic, cars....
I know about cars available in Europe (e.g. French cars are terrible for reliability, German and Japanese are the best), but I know nothing of American cars such as Chevolet, Ram or Dodge and so on.
Can you give any info on which are the good reliable makes, which are the ones to avoid etc....right now I have no idea what vehicle to even look for! Maybe a, SUV.
You can easily buy German, Japanese, Korean, etc. cars here.



And god damn it ....why is everything automatic! Whats wrong with a manual!!!!!

Manual transmissions are readily available here. I prefer automatic myself but damned near every car can be purchased as either manual or automatic.
 

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Discussion Starter · #18 ·
Thanks for all the responses everyone... I realise that Canada 'is just different' to the UK and im sure it will just be a case of adapting (with of course some things which will be frustrating :D) but when you have been used to something one way for many years, its gonna take time.

What I am still interested in is peoples opinions of the American car makes which are very popular in Canada. I will check out the consumer reports, but peoples personal experiences are also appreciated.

Thanks
 

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What exactly do you want from a car? How large a family do you need to carry? There's a huge selection from the major makers, GM/Ford/Chrysler. Honda and Toyota have large plants here. Your best bet is to figure what type of vehicle then hit the road and test drive those in that category. I drive a Chrysler and have done so for years. I'm very pleased with them or I would have changed brand years ago. My friend just bought a GM SUV/Crossover. It's a very nice vehicle. Some of my family members drive Hyundai and are quite pleased with them. Good inside room and, important, the price is right.
Good Luck.
 

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And with regards to manual transmissions, keep in mind that it might be easier to drive an automatic while you are getting used to driving over here - sitting in opposite side of the car, driving on opposite side of the road, different speed limits, different driving laws, different driving conditions (especially in winter), etc.
 
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