Journey with Confidence RV GPS App RV Trip Planner RV LIFE Campground Reviews RV Maintenance Take a Speed Test Free 7 Day Trial ×

Thread Tools Display Modes
Old 06-07-2018, 12:18 PM   #1
Join Date: May 2017
Location: Ontario
Posts: 18
Year: 2000
Coachwork: Chevy
Rated Cap: 20
Comprehensive Guide to Buying, Registering and Insuring a Skoolie in Ontario

I’ve recently hit the road with my short skoolie about a year after my original purchase. I faced a lot of struggles with the whole process and jumped through just about every hoop they had. Nonetheless I persevered and got it done, so now I would like to help out any others who are currently taking on the endeavor or anyone who will be in the future. I’ll explain what I did first just for some context, then I’ll explain what I think would be the best way, the way I wish I had gone about it.

I bought my short bus online on Kijiji for $2500. Unfortunately, I had to tow the bus 50km for $400 to the place I would be working on it. I had to do this because I could not drive it until I registered it and got insurance, I could not get insurance on it until it got a safety and was converted to a motorhome, and I could not convert it or safety it until I could drive it. I was in quite the pickle and ended up having to tow it. Then all summer I worked on the conversion whenever I had time off from my summer job. I finished the conversion for the most part but had to go back to university for one more year during which time I did not work on my bus and it just sat in my driveway. After my 4th year of school I finished up the conversion and was ready to get insurance. It was hell trying to find insurance companies but in the end, there was an easy solution, the Cooperators. It says right on their website that they cover converted motorhomes including those from school buses and vans. The reason it took me a while to secure it with them is that they were crappy at getting back to me and I had to keep calling and going to them. Anyway, the cooperators don’t require an appraisal which I had already wasted $250 on because every other company said they wanted one first. Cooperators just needed the vehicle to get a safety and be registered as a fit motorhome. In order to register the vehicle as a fit motorhome with the MTO I simply had to write down on paper the details of my conversion and provide the safety papers from the mechanic. As far as the conversion details they require 4 of the following: power supply separate from the bus (solar or generator), cooking facilities, a toilet, water supply, refrigerator, heating or air conditioning. Once that happened, I got insurance for $470/year as a 22 year old male with no traffic violations or other bad history. That comes out to about $40/month and I am able to turn it off to have just comprehensive coverage during winter months when I’m not driving.

This is what I should have done and what you should do if you are going about this. First off you want to be able to drive it so you don’t have to tow it to where you are working on it and because it helps if you can drive it to home depot or wherever. If you can get the previous owner to drive the vehicle to a mechanic or know a mechanic who will let you use there plates (good luck) you should use one of those options to get the bus to a garage and get it checked out and hopefully it will pass a safety. Once it passes the safety I would get the cheap basics such as a bucket toilet, mini-fridge, jug of water and a propane stove. “Install” these things as much or as little as you wish then go to the MTO with your new ownership, safety papers and written description of the conversion (make this part sound nice and detailed and they accept it without hassle) and you can now register the vehicle as a fit motorhome. Then go to the Cooperators, who you should have already gotten a quote from by the way because it can take a few days, show them the vehicle’s new registration as a fit motorhome and they will give you your insurance. Then go back to the MTO with your insurance and you can now get license plates for your Skoolie! Put those plates on that bus and away you go. Now you can do the real converting and drive it where you need to.

That’s all confusing so here’s a basic step by step point form list:
• Get bus from seller to local garage probably via a tow. CAA is worth a try if you have it but might not work because it won’t be licensed.
• Get bus checked out by trusted mechanic and have them safety it. Perhaps try to hold off purchasing if the seller is okay to wait for it to pass a safety.
• Install bare minimum for conversion (bucket toilet, mini-fridge, jug of water, propane stove).
• Go to MTO with ownership, safety and written description of conversion (make this sound detailed and well done and you shouldn’t have any problems, they won’t check).
• Go to Cooperators (you should have already gotten a quote at some point earlier because it can take a few days) and sign for your insurance.
• Take your insurance slip to the MTO to get your license plates.
• Put your license plates on your skoolie and drive off into the sunset.
• Complete the conversion wherever you want because you can drive it.

Trust me, if you go about it this way you will save a lot of time, money and effort. I hope this helps make skoolies a more accessible option for Ontarians and we can really get the ball rolling.

Keep at it,

Adventurbus is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 05-06-2019, 04:31 AM   #2
New Member
Join Date: May 2019
Posts: 1
Thank you, thank you, thank you!!!
sbingy is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 05-06-2019, 07:37 AM   #3
Bus Nut
Yukon Cornelius's Avatar
Join Date: Apr 2018
Location: Barrie ON
Posts: 440
Year: 1997
Coachwork: Thomas
Chassis: International
Engine: T444E
Rated Cap: 72
That's a good layout for people, I'm some glad my conversion started here in NL, I've had virtually no issues from the regulatory agencies thus far. My only speed bump left is to pass the safety so I can activate my plate (already on the vehicle but will now annual tag). But the vehicle is already registered as a motorhome.

Handyman and Shenaniganizer
Yukon Cornelius is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 03-30-2020, 08:48 AM   #4
New Member
Join Date: Feb 2020
Location: Toronto/Canada
Posts: 6
Smile just like that

Thanks a lot!
Its happened to me exactly like you said starting whit CAA.
I followed all those steps that you describe and here i am... Happy and whit my MH ownership in less than 3 hours!
Ginga is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 05-12-2020, 01:27 PM   #5
New Member
Join Date: May 2020
Posts: 3
RV plates

Hi I was just reading this thread as we would like to change our bus to RV but we have Quebec plates.
We’re hoping we can switch to Ontario plates and get RV.
I don’t suppose you have any info about how to transfer it? I’m guessing it’s not as easy as described for this.
Any tips or point me in the right direction
TIA ��
Rolling rakook is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 05-12-2020, 02:16 PM   #6
New Member
Join Date: Feb 2020
Location: Toronto/Canada
Posts: 6
Hey buddy, how are you? I hope everything is fine and safe!!

Well... I don't know if it is work for Quebec as worked for me in Ontario but I followed all those steps at this tutorial starting when I tried to use CAA to tow the bus from Barry to Toronto and then they said nope because I don't have a plates... I went to Service Ontario to get a temporary plate but they said nope because I need insurance... I called my insurance and they said nope because my ownership doesn't show RV... and start to run in circles! So I paid 500 to tow my bus.

My mechanic gave me the safety passed paper and I just copied the specifications of a bus that I see at Kijiji!����*♂️
I wrote it in a paper as well saying:
My name, how much I paid for the bus, Vin number, drive license number, and all those specifications (fully insulated, stove, compost toilet, generator, fridge, tank of water... all those things).

After this, they take about 20 minutes to finish all process and cost me less then 300$.

But I don't know if Quebec is easy like that... I hope is the same��

Good luck guys and be safe!!��
Ginga is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 05-12-2020, 03:04 PM   #7
New Member
Join Date: May 2020
Posts: 3
Hi thanks for replying. I think I’ll have to re edit my post as i realise it’s not totally clear what I meant. We have Quebec plates and want to register RV in Ontario, so we need to transfer over the plates to a different state and what I was wondering was how easy that is?
Rolling rakook is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 10-15-2020, 11:42 AM   #8
New Member
Join Date: Aug 2020
Location: Ontario
Posts: 2
Year: 1999
Coachwork: International
Chassis: 3800
Engine: dt466e
thank you for this info, was incredibly helpful.
sexy bus is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 01-28-2021, 12:51 PM   #9
New Member
Join Date: Dec 2020
Posts: 2
This was not my experience with Co-ooperators. They offered me a quote of $2800/yr as a 36yr old female with perfect driving record and i was willing to move all my other car insurance over to them too, but they said the rate would not be lowered no matter what i did because our conversion was categorized as "high-risk". I called a different office and they said that the quote will be the same across all of ontario, no matter which office i try. They were pretty terrible to deal with.

This is from them after they sent me the official quote at $2835/yr:
"we cannot write the RV with intended modifications. I confirmed with Underwriting that isn’t because of the updates/modifications to the RV that it would have to go into our special risk class, which in turn would be roughly 3000 a year for the insurance."

I have not had any luck with any insurance company or broker that will touch a modified vehicle. i had to give up the bus we had lined up. It was very sad saying goodbye to our dream bus, after searching months only to realize the dream is impossible to have while living in Ontario.
pippyBus is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 05-22-2024, 06:27 PM   #10
New Member
Join Date: May 2024
Posts: 1
Is anybody willing to share an example of the document they showed to the MTO to get RV plates?
JohnSmith is offline   Reply With Quote

insurance, ontario, purchase, register, safety

Thread Tools
Display Modes

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off
Trackbacks are Off
Pingbacks are Off
Refbacks are Off

» Featured Campgrounds

Reviews provided by

Powered by vBadvanced CMPS v3.2.3

All times are GMT -5. The time now is 01:43 PM.

Powered by vBulletin® Version 3.8.8 Beta 4
Copyright ©2000 - 2024, vBulletin Solutions, Inc.