6.2.8 Vehicle insurance

From: Financial Consumer Agency of Canada

Auto insurance is mandatory if you own a vehicle. All Canadian provinces and territories require drivers to have at least liability and accident benefits/bodily injury coverage. Some provinces may require additional coverage. The insurance may be provided by public or private insurers or, in Quebec, by a combination of both.

Mandatory insurance

  • Liability insurance covers losses (such as injury or death) that your vehicle causes to other people or damage to their property. It does not cover the cost of repairs to your own vehicle.
  • Accident benefits/bodily injury insurance covers the cost of your own medical expenses and loss of income when you are in an accident.

Optional insurance

  • Collision insurance covers the cost of repairing or replacing your vehicle if you hit another vehicle or object.
  • Comprehensive insurance covers the cost of repairing or replacing your vehicle due to other types of damage or loss, such as vandalism, fire or theft. Comprehensive insurance does not cover loss or damage to your vehicle if you hit another vehicle or object in a collision.

Most auto insurance policies do not cover the loss of personal possessions, such as golf clubs, clothing or personal electronics, stolen from your vehicle. These losses are usually covered by your home or tenant insurance. Check your home insurance policy to find out if it covers the theft of personal items from your vehicle.

Vehicle insurance in your province or territory

The provinces and territories have a mix of public and private insurance systems.

  • Alberta, New Brunswick, Newfoundland and Labrador, Northwest Territories, Nova Scotia, Nunavut, Ontario, Prince Edward Island and Yukon have purely private auto insurance systems.
  • British Columbia, Manitoba and Saskatchewan have hybrid auto insurance systems, in which residents must purchase the mandatory basic insurance through the provincial government insurer, but can choose to buy additional insurance from private insurers.
  • In Quebec, residents have two auto insurance policies: one from the government insurer, which insures against injuries to people resulting from the operation of motor vehicles; and one from a private insurer, which insures against damage to property.

For more information about vehicle insurance in your province or territory, visit the Car Insurance Where You Live section of the Insurance Bureau of Canada's website. You can also search online for "vehicle insurance in your province or territory."

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