What is “compulsory insurance”? What is “two-way” insurance? And what should you do if you can’t get insurance?
All Quebecers are insured by the public insurance plan administered by a government agency called the Société de l’Assurance Automobile du Québec (SAAQ or Licensing Office). The plan covers all Québec residents, whether or not they have a driver’s license.
Reading: How does quebec car insurance work
The plan provides compensation (money) for injuries from accidents involving a highway vehicle. For example, a pedestrian or bicyclist hit by a car could receive compensation from SAAQ. The plan provides compensation to Quebecers for accidents in Quebec and in other parts of the world.
In addition, the plan covers people even if they are responsible for the accident.
Under this plan, you can’t sue anyone for your injuries, but no one can sue you either.
however, the saaq does not cover other types of damage, such as damage to your car or someone else’s. that’s why you also need private insurance from an insurance company.
in quebec, all insurance companies offer the same type of private insurance using the “quebec policy form”.
There are two sections to the policy form. Section A covers civil liability (explained below). each care owner should have an insurance section. Section B covers damage to your own car. you can decide whether or not to accept coverage under section b.
section a: required
in quebec, all car owners must have at least $50,000 in personal injury and damage liability insurance (in canada and the united states). this is also called “public liability” insurance.
This type of insurance is sometimes called “one way insurance” and covers these types of damage you cause to other people or your property:
- Property damage you cause with your car (e.g. pulling into your parking space, damaging your neighbor’s fence)
- injuries you cause that are not covered by saaq or another public plan
- damage to your car in the event of a collision with another car or if your car rolls over, even if you are at fault
- damage caused without collision, for example, by fire, hail, flood, vandalism or theft
- comprehensive insurance, which covers damage to your car except for anything not specifically covered by the policy, such as rust
- specific events mentioned in your policy, such as an explosion or an earthquake
- You have made several claims over the years,
- fall behind on your payments, or
- You have a criminal record.
This type of insurance also covers damage to your own car due to a collision with another car that was not your fault. If you caused the collision, you will only be covered if you have optional section b insurance (explained below).
If you don’t have this type of insurance and the police pull you over, you can be ticketed and your driver’s license temporarily taken away.
civil liability insurance applies in canada and the united states.
section b: optional
This is often called “two-way insurance”. this type of insurance is optional. (you can decide to get it or not).
Depending on what you choose, this type of insurance may cover damage to your car due to a collision you cause. it can also cover the theft of your car, among other things.
these are the types of optional protection offered in section b:
If you want insurance for other types of damage, you can purchase additional insurance from your insurance company. This additional insurance is officially called an “endorsement,” but is more commonly known as a “rider.” It is optional, but you have to pay more for it.
premiums and deductibles
The amount you pay for your insurance is called the “premium.” Your insurance premium is based on your personal situation, such as your age, gender, driving record, type of car, where you live and use your car, what you use it for, etc.
Some insurance companies also look at your credit information (your bill payment history).
Depending on the type of insurance you choose, you may also need to pay a “deductible.” A deductible is the amount your insurance doesn’t pay when you file a claim. you have to absorb this amount.
important! You do not have to pay the deductible if the accident is not your fault. You will be compensated under your civil liability insurance (section a of your policy).
Generally, the higher the deductible, the lower the monthly premiums.
find auto insurance
You can compare auto insurance prices when your policy is up for renewal. check with other insurance companies to find out if they offer a better price or better coverage. compare the differences in premiums, deductibles, and coverage so you can make an informed decision.
renew or cancel your insurance policy
When your policy ends, it automatically renews under the same conditions, unless your insurer sends you written notice. Your insurer must send you the notice at least 30 days before your policy ends. this end date is also called the expiration date.
In addition, you can cancel your policy at any time by sending written notice to your insurer. you don’t need to give an explanation. if you already paid your premiums, the insurer will reimburse you.
The insurer can also cancel your policy in the first 60 days. the insurer must send you written notice and the cancellation is effective 15 days after you receive the notice. the insurer cannot cancel your policy after the first 60 days unless you have not paid your premiums or have become a greater risk to the insurer. In this situation, the insurer must send you a written notice and your policy will be canceled 30 days after you receive the notice.
If you have a disagreement with your insurer, you can file a complaint with a government agency called the autorité des marchés financiers (amf).
if you can’t get insurance
you might have trouble getting insurance if
All car owners should have liability insurance for damage they cause to other people. What if you can’t find an insurer willing to insure you?
the insurance information center can help. You must follow a procedure called “insurance access”. guarantees you to find the minimum coverage required by law. there is no charge for the service, but you have to pay for the insurance.
Important! You must complete certain steps before the Insurance Information Center can assist you.
To qualify for help, you must have been turned down by at least five insurers. be sure to keep a record of your calls to prove this. Write down the names of the insurance people you talk to. keep company names and phone numbers, too.