Motor Vehicle Accidents

How Car Insurance is Different Between Canadian Provinces and Why it Matters to Your Claim

Jacob Cathro
Content Writer

What is the Difference Between a Public and Private Insurance Marketplace?

In Canada, some provinces have public automobile insurance, and some have private automobile insurance marketplaces. However, insurance is regulated by government agencies in all provinces.

A public insurance marketplace is one where the government issues the basic levels of car insurance required by law.

In some provinces using a public marketplace, extra coverage is also available through a competitive market. This is called a hybrid marketplace. For example, in Quebec, the mandatory insurance that the government provides can also be purchased in the private market.  

In private marketplaces, all types of insurance are available from many insurance companies who compete within a generally open market.  

public and private insurance systems in canada provinces

What is the Minimum Required Automobile Insurance?

Insurance is legally required in Canada when using a vehicle on public roadways. This is because a vehicle can easily cause harm to another person or their property.  

Governments in Canada believe that all drivers carrying a basic level of automobile insurance is in the public good. This way, drivers will be able to pay for damages that they may cause to other people or their property while driving.

This basic coverage is generally called Third Party Liability (TPL) coverage. Third Part Liability coverage generally includes both Bodily Injury and Property Damage coverage. The specific limits of TPL coverage needed vary by province. In Alberta for example, the smallest limits for TPL coverage are $200,000.

Some provinces also include Accident Benefits (AB) coverage in the legally required minimum. Accident Benefits covers the insured person for basic medical and other expenses they need to recover after an accident.

What Other Coverages are Available?  

You can also buy collision or comprehensive coverage for physical damage to your vehicle. This covers you when you may be at fault, or when another drive is not at fault for an accident.  

Collision coverage covers repairs to your vehicle for situations where you are at-fault. It may also include coverage to rent a vehicle while yours is being repaired after an accident.  

Comprehensive coverage typically covers other things like:  

  • Theft of your vehicle  
  • Damage caused by hitting an animal  
  • Hail or other weather damage  

How you get paid for an injury or property damage from a no-fault accident depends on what Province you live in, or where the accident happened.  

Some provinces—like Alberta—have a system for reimbursing you for damage to your vehicle called Direct Compensation for Property Damage (DCPD). If you are not at-fault for a collision, DCPD ensures that your own insurance company covers your vehicle damages, loss of use, and any contents that were damaged. This saves you the trouble of having to go after the at-fault driver's insurance company for your vehicle repair costs.

Even under DCPD systems, you still need to buy collision coverage to have repairs completed when you are the one at-fault.

How do I Get Compensated for Personal Injuries That Aren’t My Fault?  

For bodily injury, some provinces follow a tort-based system, and others follow a no-fault system.  

  • Tort law allows the injured party to sue the party that allegedly caused their injury in court.  
  • No-fault systems mean that you are paid directly by your insurance company for all injuries that you sustained, even if the accident was your fault.  

A key part of no-fault systems is that you are often not allowed to get paid for pain and suffering unless your injury is "serious" enough. This criteria is defined by your particular province.

Whether your province uses tort law or a no-fault system, you are still entitled to receive accident benefits.  

To learn more about what your bodily injury claim might be worth, try Painworth for free today!

no-fault and tort-based insurance systems in canada

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