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Public vs. private auto insurance – how does Canada compare province to province?

Across Canada, auto insurance is mandatory for all drivers and the industry is closely monitored by the provincial government.

Depending on the province, regulators may oversee how insurance companies assess risk, determine prices and handle claims.

Setting auto rates and benefits in Canada

The provincial government determines which factors insurers can and can’t use when setting auto insurance rates. For example, a driver’s age and gender may be a consideration in some provinces but not in others. Insurers must also have their rating rules and systems for classifying risk approved by regulators and, in most provinces, must get government approval any time they want to change their rates.

The provincial government also plays a major role in determining the level of benefits injured motorists may receive through insurance claims and what benefits they can purchase outside of their insurance contract.

Some provinces allow people to sue for pain and suffering and economic loss above and beyond their insurance benefits but set limits on these payments. The government also oversees the wording used in auto insurance policies to ensure standard terminology is used throughout the industry.

Public auto insurance programs

In British Columbia and Manitoba, automobile insurance is provided through government-owned corporations. In Saskatchewan, the government insurer provides compulsory auto insurance and private companies are permitted to offer additional extension coverage. In Quebec, the government administers insurance covering minimum limits for bodily injury, while property damage coverage is provided by private insurers.

Provinces with private auto insurance systems

The number of auto insurance companies varies from province to province. Learn more about auto insurance in your province or territory:

Looking for an auto insurance quote? Get a quick quote online or contact your local Financial Advisor for more details.