A Brampton, Ont., man who recently purchased a car with the steering wheel on the right-hand side was shocked after he was turned down by more than a dozen insurance companies.
Carlos Medeiros is the owner of a 1998 Subaru WRX STI. The four-door sedan was imported from Japan and Medeiros purchased it from a dealer’s lot.
“I just thought it would be cool to have one,” said Medeiros, who has owned several Subarus in the past. “They’re rare to find here.”
According to Medeiros, he was told prior to buying the vehicle that it would be easy to insure despite the steering wheel being on the right-hand side. The Brampton driver, however, quickly found out that buying coverage for his 17-year-old car would not be easy.
“(I’ve called) probably about 35 brokers and I would say 20 insurance companies,” he said.
In Ontario, vehicles with right-hand steering wheels are legal.
“Ontario does permit right-hand drive vehicles to be operated on public roads in the province,” Ontario’s Ministry of Transportation said in statement. “Imported right-hand vehicles to Ontario must be at least 15-years-old.”
When Medeiros complained to the dealer about his difficulty getting his car insured, a representative told him he could purchase facility high-risk insurance at a cost of nearly $7,000 annually despite having a clean driving record.
Medeiros finally found a company that would insure him, but only if he switched his other vehicle and home policy with them.
According to some experts in the insurance industry, vehicles with right-hand steering wheels should be banned as drivers are more likely to get into an accident.
In Canada, there are approximately 75,000 vehicles with right-hand steering wheels.