Canadian Car Insurance - The Basics
While it is always necessary to be covered by auto insurance, there are several factors of Canadian car Insurance that differ from American insurance. The minimum and maximum coverage varies slightly, as well as how your auto is insured. The mandatory coverage varies by providence or territory.
First, the required minimum liability insurance for most of Canada is $200,000, while it is advisable to purchase more than the minimum. In Quebec, the minimum liability requirement is $50,000.
You must purchase your Canadian car insurance through a private auto insurer if insuring within the Northern territories. These territories include (but are not limited to): Yukon, Alberta, Ontario, New Brunswick, Newfoundland, Prince Edward Island, and Nova Scotia.
In British Columbia and Saskatchewan, you have the option to purchase car insurance via private insurer or a government agency. You will also have the option to add additional coverage to suit your needs.
In Quebec, the insurance procedure is similar to the above, with some notable exceptions. Here, Canadian car insurance is provided by both private insurers and the government agency, SAAQ (Société de l’assurance automobile du Québec. There is a mandatory coverage called Civil Liability, which can only be purchased through the private sector. The SAAQ provides residents of Quebec coverage for sustained bodily injury (when in an accident).
Canadian car insurance does not require you to purchase insurance for damages to your vehicle, but it is advisable to do so - especially if you are insuring a new car. The best option for this situation is to purchase Collision and Comprehensive coverage. Additionally, you will often be required to purchase this type of coverage if your vehicle is financed or leased.
Tips to Get the Most Out of Your Canadian Car Insurance:
Ask for discounts - Many insurance companies will offer a discount on your policy if the vehicle you are insuring already has safety features: anti-theft devices, alarm systems, Anti-lock brakes, child safety locks, and dual airbags. Additional discounts are given to British Columbia insurers who enroll in a collision avoidance course with Canadian insurance companies such as Canadian Direct.
Choose your car wisely - If purchasing a new vehicle, it is advisable check with your insurance company if your auto is "high risk" for vandalism and/or theft. These types of vehicles will have a higher premium. You can also check the safety record of your car and get additional tips by contacting the Insurance Bureau of Canada.