Introduction to automobile insurance
Here's where you get the inside track on both the basic automobile insurance coverage as well as the optional extras. Since it's regulated by the government, automobile insurance is standard in the industry. But we go beyond the basic coverage. We offer options designed to enhance your automobile and accident coverage. One of the nice things about automobile insurance, is that you can mix and match. That is, you can customise your policy to ensure you've got the specific protection you need, without paying for extra insurance you may not require.
Even better - recreational automobiles such as motorcycles, sport bikes, motor homes, trailers, snowmobiles and ATVs can also be insured under your automobile policy.
Provincial automobile insurance law (except Québec)
The law requires that you insure your automobile for $200,000 Third Party Liability Coverage ($500,000 in Nova Scotia) and Basic Accident Benefits Coverage. When you buy your automobile insurance you'll receive a Motor Vehicle Liability Insurance Card - your "pink card". This is proof that you have the required automobile insurance coverage.
Your insurance is valid anywhere in Canada and the United States. It's a good idea to carry your "pink card" with you at all times. You must produce it if a police officer requests it. You'll also need to produce your "pink card" for the Ministry of Transportation. You'll need to do this when you first register your automobile, and each year when you renew your licence plate.
If you decide to drive into Mexico, your automobile policy won't cover you or your automobile. You must arrange for insurance coverage separately when, and where, you enter the country.
How much insurance is enough?
You must have a minimum of $200,000 in Third Party Liability coverage. This is to cover injuries to any other person, or their property, when you're the at-fault driver in an accident.
But If you are involved in a serious automobile accident, $200,000 will not go very far to cover the damages. It's common to have $1,000,000 or more of liability coverage. Remember- you're responsible for any shortfall in coverage.
You must also buy accident benefits coverage (except in Québec) to protect you if you're unable to work due to an accident. This covers medical expenses over and above provincial health plans, and provides income benefits.
It's not required by law to purchase automobile insurance to cover damages to your automobile. But if you have a newer automobile, you'll want to protect your financial investment and consider purchasing collision and/or comprehensive coverage.
If you're leasing or financing your automobile, the leasing company or bank will require that you insure your automobile for collision and comprehensive coverage. They will not release the funds to purchase the automobile until you commit to that coverage.
Paying an automobile insurance deductible
When you make a claim, a small portion of the claim is always paid by you first, then your insurance company pays the rest. The portion you pay is called your deductible. The amount of your deductible affects the price of your insurance policy. The higher your deductible, the less the cost of your insurance premium.