How Does Vehicle Registration Work in Canada?

Whether you're a first-time car buyer or looking for another new or used car, it's important that you know your next steps after purchasing it. Think about vehicle registration, insurance, license plates, etc. What comes first? What's required? And how do you do it? Let's answer some questions you may have.

What is vehicle registration?

Vehicle registration is the process of registering your car in the province you live in. And it's also a way to connect your car to you (the owner). Keep in mind that vehicle registration is mandatory in all provinces; however, the time you have to register your vehicle will vary by province. For example, in Ontario, you have six days after you purchase the car to register your vehicle, whereas in British Columbia, you can register it within 30 days of the purchase.

How do you register a vehicle?

The process for registering a vehicle depends on whether you bought the car from a dealer or bought the car from a private seller.

Buying via dealership: Whether you buy a new or used car from a dealership, car registration will typically be completed for you by the dealer. They'll provide you with the completed paperwork, license plate and plate stickers (if applicable to your province).

Buying via private seller: When buying a used car from a private seller such as a friend or through an advertising website, you'll be responsible for registering it yourself. You'll be required to go to your local registry agent office (i.e., Service Ontario, Service New Brunswick, etc.), and provide all necessary paperwork and information to get your car registered.

Do I need insurance to register a Car?

Insurance and registering your vehicle go hand in hand. It's important that you get insurance prior to registering your vehicle since you'll likely need to provide your proof of insurance to your registry agent office.

What else do I need to register a vehicle?

Each province has their own specific list of items they require you to bring in order to register your vehicle. Check your provincial site before heading out to your registry agent office to ensure the process goes smoothly. As an idea, here are some things you should bring with you, regardless of where you live:

  • valid driver's license/identification
  • proof of purchase/bill of sale
  • proof of insurance
  • license plate (depending on the vehicle plating process in your province)

At TD Insurance, we make it easy for you to get a quote in just minutes and buy insurance online. If you're an existing TD Insurance customer looking to add a vehicle to your policy, simply login to MyInsurance — you can review and manage your policy at any time.

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The content on this page is for general information purposes only and does not constitute legal advice. Coverages described herein may be subject to additional eligibility criteria, limitations and exclusions. In the event you make a claim, potential indemnification is also subject to the receivability of the claim and the type of coverage you bought.

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