If you are a driver in Canada, then you know you are required to insure any motor vehicle that you own that you will be driving on public roads. The auto insurance laws will vary according to what territory or province that you live in, so here is some basic information about auto insurance required by the various provincial governments in Canada.
The first thing that you will do when you buy automobile insurance in Canada is receive the “pink card”. This “pink card” is nationally recognized as the Canadian Inter-Province Motor Vehicle Liability Insurance Card. If you are coming to Canada from the United States, then this card will not be unfamiliar to you. This is the same kind of card that your American insurance company would have given you for your insured vehicle in the United States.
The Pink Card, also known as the Pink Slip in the United States, is an important document that you need to take care of. This document is honored as proof of insurance on your vehicle anywhere you travel within Canada. The Pink Card should be on you, or in your vehicle, any time that you are driving, and you are required to show this document to the police if requested to do so. Many people keep their Pink Card in their vehicle for this reason, to ensure it is there if they need it. However, it is advised you keep it in your wallet or your purse in the event that your vehicle gets stolen or broken into.
The provinces of Manitoba, British Columbia, and Saskatchewan mandate that you will not be able to register your vehicle until you show proof of vehicle insurance. These same provinces will provide you the basic required car insurance policy through a government insurer, but both government and private insurance companies will offer you enhancements if you are looking for additional coverage on a basic policy.
Quebec law mandates that all injury claims be covered through a government insurance program. In this province, property and vehicle damage claims, and bodily injuries that are caused by a collision claims will be handled by private insurance companies. Canadian legislation dictates that the provinces and territories that function under private insurance companies all meet a standard set of terms and conditions that is listed in the insurance policy. However, each government at the provincial and territorial level will set its own standards as well as its own minimum limits for the minimum liability coverage that drivers are required to purchase.
It is important to understand what you are covered for under your insurance policy in the event that you ever need your insurance or are in an accident. The provinces and territories of Canada legislate the minimum coverage for insurance policies; however there are still many choices of what limits you have on your policy coverage, what kind of deductibles you have, and what optional coverage you have purchased. It is important to know what you are covered for in the event that you need it.
In provinces that government insurers exist, these insurers are required to provide the basic mandatory policy coverage, and if this is the coverage you purchase, you will likely not receive a printed copy of your policy. Instead, your vehicle registration will act as proof of your insurance coverage where you have government provided insurance. If you have purchased additional coverage through a private carrier, you will be given an extension policy, as well as detailed documentation outlining your additional coverage.
In every province but Quebec and Manitoba, lawsuits resulting from economic loss that exceed no-fault benefits from your insurance company will be permitted. In Ontario, if you have suffered an injury deemed “very serious” you will be able to sue for loss of income and for other conditions such as medical, rehabilitation, and related costs. In the province of Saskatchewan, you may only sue for loss of gross income that exceeds a specified amount within this province.
Manitoba, Saskatchewan, and Quebec legislate that you will not be permitted to sue for pain and suffering caused by a motor collision. Ontario legislation will permit lawsuits for the injured person, but only in the event of permanent or serious impairment, disfigurement, psychological, physical, or mental functions impairment, or in the event that an individual is killed. Even so, an Ontario court will asses the damages of pain and suffering, and the insurance deductible will still apply.
The province of Quebec is different in other automobile insurance areas as well. Quebec insurance for bodily injury and property damage: bodily injury will be covered by a publicly administered plan whereas property damage will be covered through private insurers. In both Quebec and Ontario, the insurer will compensate for the loss of the use of the automobile and for the share of the damage that your vehicle encounters, only when it is legally found that another driver is at fault. This legislation then dictates that you will deal with your insurance carrier, and not the other party’s insurance carrier, and this process is known as direct compensation.
Accident benefits in Canada are mandatory in every province and territory with the exception of Newfoundland and Labrador. This coverage however, even if not mandatory, is a benefit because accidental benefits will ensure that both you and your passengers are compensated for injuries that are sustained in an accident, regardless of whose fault it is.
Most vehicle insurance in Canada has universal coverage, however, much of it will vary from province to province to territory. Standard insurance basics may stay the same, however provincial, or territorial laws and different variables may affect insurance across the nation. If you need specific insurance information on Canadian locations for your area, or for where you may be moving to, contact the Insurance Bureau of Canada.
We hope this information on Canadian Automobile insurance has helped you. The above information is correct according to Transport Canada and the Insurance Board of Canada as of January 2006. Ask us today for a car insurance quote in Canada!