How Does Car insurance Work in Canada?

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Mandatory Coverages


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Average cost car insurance

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How does car insurance work in canada ?

In Canada, there are several auto insurance plans and depending on the state, these auto insurance plans may or may not be mandatory.

As a rule of thumb, car insurance in Canada is mandatory in all provinces. Their level of protection are not exactly the same according to the provinces.

Let’s see the different protections mandatory or not in Canada !

Public car insurance

In some provinces, car insurance is regulated directly from an institution. This is the case for British Columbia for example. BC’s insurance is run by a crown corporation (ICBC). In Quebec too, there is an institution, the SAAQ that is regulating car insurance, but you also have private insurance where you purchase third party liability and other options to be best protected.

Third party liability

Third party liability is mandatory in every provinces in Canada ! It is the only coverage that is mandatory in Canada.

This car insurance covers you for:

  • Material damage and bodily injury caused to others by your fault
  • The minimum mandatory amount depends of your province. Usually, it is $200,000 but in some provinces the amount is not the same, for example in Québec the mandatory coverage is $50,000.

Accident benefits coverage

This insurance provides protection for bodily injury and:

  • Covers you if you are injured in an accident regardless of who is at fault
  • Covers the medical staff involved in the accident: medical care, rehabilitation and auxiliary care services
  • Covers income replacement.

This coverage is mandatory in almost all provinces in Canada.

Uninsured automobile insurance

This insurance applies if you or someone in your vehicle is either injured or killed by an uninsured driver, or by a hit-and-run driver.

Direct Compensation-Property Damage (DC-PD)

This car insurance covers you for :

  • Damage to your vehicle
  • The contents of your vehicle

There are a few conditions :

  • You must not be responsible for the accident.
  • It must have taken place in your province
  • Another vehicle must be involved
  • The other vehicle must be insured by licensed insurer.
  • Your insurance provider pays to repair your car

This coverage is applicable in : New Brunswick, Nova Scotia, Prince Edward Island
Newfoundland and Labrador.

What are the optional auto insurance coverages ?

Here are all the options you can add to your car insurance in Canada to be best protected:

Collision car insurance

This auto insurance protects you in the event of a collision of your vehicle with an object, which can also be the rollover of your vehicle. This insurance covers property damage caused by this accident. For example, if you hit a traffic sign, you will be covered by collision insurance. This coverage is not mandatory.

Comprehensive car insurance

This insurance protects you for anything that is not collision or upset, as the name suggests, therefore for anything that is vandalism, glass breakage, theft, fire. If you park your vehicle on the street and when you come back, one of the windows has been broken, you will be able to use this insurance if you have subscribed to it. It is possible to make car insurance estimates to see how much you want to be insured up to.

Specified Perils Auto Insurance

It covers you for risks that you have specified in the contract. For example, you can mention glass breakage but not include vandalism, theft but not include fire.

All-perils car insurance

This insurance is a combination of all other insurances: collision, payout and collision free. The deductible is the same for all damages. You will thus be protected for all incidents beyond your control (vandalism, theft, fire) but also for incidents resulting from a road accident, collision with an object, or the overturning of your vehicle.

In Saskatchewan and Manitoba, all perils car insurance is mandatory.

What are the other options that you could add to your car insurance ?

Here are the options you could add to your car insurance in Canada, most of the car insurance companies propose this :

OptionsExplications
Leased vehiculeYour rental vehicle will be insured in the same manner as your insured vehicle(s).
Accident ForgivenessYour first accident won’t increase your car insurance premium
Replacement value for total lossAlso known as replacement value, your insurer will compensate you based on the purchase value of the vehicle without taking depreciation into account.
Alternate Transportation BenefitsAlso known as loss of use of the vehicle, this covers the cost of rentals, transportation, cabs that you had to take during the period when you were unable to use your vehicle.
Emergency roadsideif you are out of gas, stuck, have a cracked wheel, the road assistance is there for it.
Car insurance Canada endorsement

This list is not exhaustive ! There are others endorsements that can be propose in your province, these ones are the most common !

How much is car insurance in Canada ?

In Canada, cost of car insurance depends on the province. Indeed, as car insurance works really differently from a province to another, car insurance cost in not the same in all provinces.

When the province require a complete car insurance coverage for example, meaning not only liability car insurance, car insurance cost can go higher. But this is not the only thing to take into account.

The others factors to consider are this ones, car insurance quotes in Canada will vary according to these factors :

  • Age
  • Sex
  • Your driving record, i.e. your driving history
  • The place where you live : it won’t be the same thing if you live in a city or in the countryside !
  • The type of vehicle you drive : Depending on the vehicle you drive, your premium will increase or not. If it is a really a model that can be easily stolen, your premium will get higher. If you drive one of the most stolen cars, it is quite sure that your premium will tend to be higher.
  • The use you make of your vehicle : are your journeys to and from work daily, for example? Do you use your vehicle for business purposes?
  • The number of people insured on your car insurance and their driving level
  • The date you obtained your driver’s license
  • The car insurance company you choose : car insurance companies in Canada don’t propose the same offer, compare and shop to find the best deal !
  • Third party liability : did you choose 1 000 000 $ third party liability ? More ? Less ? This changes your premium a lot !
  • The optional coverage : did you add accident forgiveness for exemple ? roadside assistance ? Same, this impacts your premium.

Where do you pay the least for car insurance in Canada ?

According to the IBC, here are the cheapest province to insure your car in Canada :

The winner is Quebec, that has the cheapest car insurance premium per year. Maybe, it is because the only mandatory car insurance in Quebec is third party liability, and the mandatory amount is $50,000 against $200,000 in other provinces. So to find cheap car insurance, you should go to Quebec, Prince Edward Island and New Brunswick.

cheapest province car insurance quotes

Where do you pay the most for car insurance in Canada ?

And the winner is … British Columbia, with an average for car insurance premium of 1,832 $ per year.

province most expensive car insurance

British Columbia has the most expensive car insurance in Canada, this is due to their car insurance system. In BC, basic auto insurance coverage is provided by public insurance, if you want to upgrade and be best protected you need to go trough private insurers. In BC, car insurance is monopolistic. Due to a lack of concurrence, car insurance is really expensive.

Best discounts on car insurance in Canada

  • Young Driver Discounts
    Many insurers offer discounts for young drivers because the insurance premium for young people is quite high.
  • Group Discount
    You can benefit from a discount if you are part of a group, this can be members of an association, employees of the same company etc.
  • Discount for experienced drivers
    You can get a discount if you have a good driving record and are over 50 years old.
  • Discount for combined policies
    You can get a discount by combining your car and home insurance for example, the discount is often between 5 and 15%.
  • Discount for winter tires
    It’s snowing in Canada ! That’s why some insurers often offer a discount if you add snow tires to your vehicle.
  • Retiree discount
    You may be eligible for a discount !
  • Renewal Discount
    Your loyalty can be rewarded by some insurers, if for example you have been with them for many years without having caused any accidents.
  • Anti theft discount
    Adding security to your vehicle

9 ways to get cheap car insurance in Canada

Here 9 tips so save on your car insurance inCanada :

  1. Bundle your policies :You could easily get a discount if you buy car and home insurance at the same insurer.
  2. Shop and compare to get the best deal !
  3. Choose the right amount of deductible : If you choose a low deductible, your car insurance premium will go high. So choose high deductible if you want to lower your car insurance premium !
  4. Choose the right coverages ! For example, if you drive a really old car, maybe you should’t have a very complete car insurance.
  5. Pay annually : This will avoid to pay the rate fees to pay monthly.
  6. Security-device : you should install safety devices on your car, you could enjoy discounts!
  7. Have a good driving record : the best you drive, the lower you’ll pay!
  8. Install a telematic device : this tool will register your driving behavior and your car insurance premium will be adapt to your kind of driving. So, if you’re a safe driver, and you want to save money on your car insurance, go for it!
  9. Don’t hesitate to use the discounts we have just listed, depending on your situation. For example, if you’re a student, you will find interesting discounts for you.

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