You can buy a car in Canada immediately upon arrival. The choice is between a new and a used car and whether to buy it outright or to lease it instead.
In considering whether or not you can afford to pay for the car, it is important to calculate the mandatory insurance payments in addition to the price of the actual vehicle. The price of gas should be factored into your calculations as well.
Many Canadians prefer to lease a car from a car dealer. A lease is a legal agreement between you and the dealer in which you agree to pay them a fee to use the car for a specific period of time (usually several years). After this period ends, you must return the car to the dealer in good condition. Since a lease is a legal agreement, make sure you understand the terms and conditions of the lease before signing.
When buying a used car, it is important to inquire about the car’s state of repair. Some cars are being sold after accidents or after failures of important parts. As such, it is advisable to bring an auto mechanic with you when selecting a used car to inspect it before the purchase is complete.
For information on consumer issues related to buying a vehicle, consult the Canadian Consumer Handbook or contact your provincial or territorial consumer affairs office.
If you only need a car for short periods, you can rent a car from one of the many car rental agencies in Canadian cities and towns. Make sure that car insurance is included in your car rental agreement.
In some cities, there are car-sharing programs that let you use a car without buying, leasing or renting one. You can search the Internet or call the local transportation ministry in your city for more information on car dealers or car rental agencies.
It is strictly illegal to drive without car insurance in Canada. If you own a car, you must get insurance coverage. If you regularly drive a car that belongs to a relative or friend, you should make sure you are listed on their automobile insurance plan.
There are different types of car insurance plans available. Some insurance plans cover only the costs of damages and injury to others if you are at fault in an accident. Other plans also cover injuries to yourself and damage to your car. The cost of car insurance depends on the insurance plan you choose and:
- your age;
- driving experience;
- driving record; and
- where you live.
The cost also varies between insurance companies. For this reason, you should contact a few companies for information on the price of their insurance plans. Before choosing an insurance plan, you should make sure you understand what it covers.