If you own a vehicle of any kind, you probably know that insurance is required by law. Plans vary widely depending on your vehicle, how you use it and where you live. Here’s what you need to know to get the vehicle coverage that’s right for you.
Let’s start with where you live
Car insurance in Canada varies by province. Where you live determines what coverage you need and who you buy your insurance from.
If you live in British Columbia, Saskatchewan or Manitoba, your provincial government requires basic auto insurance that covers injury to yourself and passengers. Additional coverage is available from your insurer.
British Columbia and Manitoba
Purchase ICBC Autoplan insurance in British Columbia and MPI Autopac insurance in Manitoba from your Co-operators Financial Advisor. For more complete coverage, including insurance for theft or damage to your car, ask us about your coverage options.
Ask your local Financial Advisor for SGI insurance in Saskatchewan, which includes basic vehicle damage (with a deductible), personal injury and liability coverage up to $200,000. We also offer extended Third Party Liability coverage, and physical damage coverage at a lower deductible to reduce the amount you would pay if you have a claim.
If you live in Quebec, the provincial public automobile insurance plan covers you for injury or death due to an automobile accident, no matter who is at fault or where in the world the accident happened. However, under the Automobile Insurance Act, you also have to have third-party liability insurance of at least $50,000 for property damage. This protection, available from private insurers such as The Co-operators, covers any property damage caused to another party.
In all other provinces and territories (Alberta, New Brunswick, Newfoundland and Labrador, Northwest Territories, Nova Scotia, Ontario, Prince Edward Island or the Yukon) all car insurance is available only from private insurance companies like The Co-operators.
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Learn more about insurance requirements in each province and territory.
What your auto insurance plan must include
While insurance plans vary by province, these are the most common types of insurance you must have before you can use your vehicle. Make sure you check the following when you compare auto insurance quotes:
Liability: If you’re in a car accident and are held legally liable for other people’s injuries, or for damage to another person’s vehicle or property, your insurance company will pay up to the total amount listed on your policy. You are responsible for amounts above that limit.
Accident Benefits: This covers medical expenses not covered by a provincial health plan, plus loss of income as the result of an auto accident. In some provinces, you may be entitled to additional benefits if you are someone's caregiver. Accident Benefits are paid regardless of who was at fault in an accident. Not available in Quebec.
Uninsured Automobile: This is financial coverage for costs related to injury or death if you’re in an accident caused by another driver who is either uninsured or unidentified, as in a hit and run. Damage to your vehicle is only covered if the driver is identified and uninsured. Not available in Quebec.
Direct Compensation Property Damage (DCPD): Available only in New Brunswick, Nova Scotia, P.E.I. and Ontario, this covers the cost of loss or damage to your car in an accident for which you were not entirely responsible. To qualify, the other driver has to be identified, insured and found to be at least partially at fault. In some provinces, you can no longer sue another person for damage to your car.
Your insurance company will look at the degree to which you are responsible for the accident and your deductible to determine how much compensation you will receive. You will be paid if you were partly or not at all responsible for the accident. Be sure to review your car insurance policy for specific details, restrictions and exclusions. All insurance claims are subject to a deductible.
You may want additional coverage to be sure you’re fully protected in case of an automobile accident, theft or damage. Here are some coverage options to consider:
Collision: You’re covered for the cost of repairs or replacement of your car in the event of a collision where you are partially or totally at fault.
Specified Perils: This covers you for specific perils such as fire, lightning, theft*, windstorm, earthquake, hail, explosion, riot and others.
Comprehensive: With this option, you’re covered for any threat or danger other than collision, including theft*, damage or loss caused by vandalism, projectiles, and falling or flying objects such as stones kicked up by a truck in front of you. The important thing to remember is that this coverage applies to your vehicle only, not you or your passengers.
*Comprehensive and Specified Perils do not insure your car against theft if a member of your household steals your car, or if an employee whose job involved using or maintaining the car steals your vehicle.
All Perils: This is the most complete Loss or Damage coverage available. All Perils combines Collision and Comprehensive coverage and protects against theft by a person who lives in your household or an employee who steals your vehicle.
The most popular combination is Collision and Comprehensive coverage.
Optional coverage with endorsements
For extra protection, add the following to your insurance policy:
Accident Forgiveness: If you have this coverage on your policy, your first accident won’t affect your insurance rates, provided you have been licensed and accident-free for six years. Not available separately in Quebec; already included in provincial coverage plan.
Loss of use: If your car is damaged in an accident, stolen or destroyed, this endorsement covers the costs of temporary transportation such as renting a car or taking a bus. You’ll be covered up to the maximum amount specified in your policy until your car is recovered, repaired or replaced.
Legal liability for damage to non-owned automobiles: This endorsement will cover you if you damage a car you don’t own while it was in your care and control, such as a rental car.
Family protection endorsement: Receive additional benefits if you’re involved in an accident with a driver who doesn’t have enough coverage to pay a claim for injury or death. This only applies if the other driver has less insurance coverage than you.
Limited waiver of depreciation: This coverage protects against the loss of value or depreciation of a new car if, as a result of an accident, your car is beyond repair and must be replaced. This coverage is only available during the first two years of a vehicle lease or ownership. You could receive an amount up to the price you paid for the vehicle or the manufacturer’s suggested price. You can only add this endorsement if you have insured your vehicle with Collision and Comprehensive coverage, Collision and Specified Perils coverage or All Perils coverage.
Additional coverage: You can also buy insurance for a stereo or other components installed in your vehicle.
To learn more about car insurance, visit the Insurance Bureau of Canada.
Get an online quote right now for your Auto insurance, or find a Financial Advisor near you to get started on creating the policy you need. Once you have insurance with us, you’ll be able to make a claim quickly and easily using your iPhone.