New Brunswick Auto Insurance Requirements
It is mandatory to have active car insurance coverage if you wish to drive in New Brunswick. The good news is that the price range of car insurance in New Brunswick is one of the lowest in the country. This may be due to the reforms by the province in 2003 to cut down on the rising costs of car insurance that was exorbitant to many drivers. The provincial government had to address the need for cheaper car insurance rates and propose changes. As a result, there are about 65 car insurers to choose from and the rates are also comparatively lower.
There is a no-fault insurance system followed in New Brunswick. The insurance regulators in this province have approved usage-based insurance. This allows drivers to benefit by opting for this insurance to save on premiums. The sale of insurance is legally allowed only through a licensed seller. These insurance agents are required to be licensed with the Financial and Consumer Services Commission or FCNB.
New Brunswick Auto Insurance Regulations
The price for car insurance is set up by individual insurance companies in the market. The Superintendent of Financial Services at the federal level then reviews and approves these rates. The provincial Superintendent’s office and the New Brunswick Insurance Board or NBIB also has to ensure that the car insurance rates set are reasonable and fair. The following three regulators are responsible for regulating the car insurance industry in New Brunswick.
- The New Brunswick Insurance Board
- The Superintendent’s Office
- (OSFI) or the office of Superintendent of Financial Institutions at Federal Level
As car insurance is mandatory as per law, the high-risk category auto consumers are offered coverage by the Facility Association. The insurers in the New Brunswick insurance industry fund the Facility Association to provide coverage to those who had been declined by the regular market due to different reasons.
New Brunswick Car Insurance Facts
The car insurance industry in New Brunswick is very competitive. When any insurer decides to raise their rates by less than 3% they do not have to apply for an automatic hearing for review and approval. When deciding on how to calculate car insurance premiums the following criteria are looked at for the driver and vehicle profile.
- Discounts: Any discounts due to the bundling of policies or driver education programs.
- Payment history: A consistent on-time payment history will benefit the insured.
- Driving record: A clean driving record will help to get a good insurance rate.
- How frequently you drive your car: The average annual mileage driven on the car and the purpose will matter while calculating rates.
- The vehicle profile: The value, age, make, model, accident history of the car are all vital to consider the insurance premium rates.
- Insurance coverage lapses: Any gaps in insurance coverage may lead to a higher rate.
- Location: The postal codes of the commute for work or school will also be looked at check the risk factors. The rates for the city may be higher than for rural villages.
- Total driving experience: The total number of years of driving experience with a New Brunswick license would also count towards premium rates.
Licensing Program in New Brunswick
The graduated licensing program can be attempted by anyone over the age of 16 years with the consent of the parents. It is mandatory for all new drivers to complete this program. This program has 2 levels that can be completed in 24 months or less. After the successful completion of both levels, the driver gets the full license in New Brunswick with no restrictions.
This is the first level in licensing that allows the new driver to learn driving by operating a motor vehicle. There are some restrictions for a learner when driving after 12 midnight till 5 in the morning. It is also required that a class 5 licensed driver can accompany the learner. This driver must have at least three or more years of experience and is required to sit in the front seat and no other passengers may be allowed in that car. The level 1 learner has to have 0 BAC in order to be allowed to drive.
After 12 months of successfully driving with a level 1 license, the driver may take the road test for level 2 licensing. This time frame could be cut down to 8 months if the driver completed a training program. When driving with level 2 license the driver has some restrictions too during 12 midnight and 5 am. The driver must be always accompanied by an experienced driver and the only exception would be if you are driving to work or school. The number of passengers allowed in the car would be a total of three and BAC should be maintained at 0.
After successfully completing level 2 for 12 months the learner gets a full driver license without any restrictions to drive in New Brunswick.
Minimum Required Auto Insurance Coverage in New Brunswick
In order to drive in New Brunswick, it is a legal requirement to get car insurance. There is a deductible payable for $250 for claiming damage to the vehicle. The following are the standard coverage level required for car insurance.
Third Party Liability Insurance
The minimum level of coverage that a driver in New Brunswick must have for third party liability is for $200,000. This coverage would protect the driver or owner of the vehicle in case there is a collision and that causes property damage or bodily injury. This limit may be increased as per your requirement.
Direct Compensation – Property Damage (DC-PD)
New Brunswick as a no-fault based insurance system. So in the event of a collision, any damages to the car or its contents and any loss of use of that car or the contents would be covered by DC-PD coverage. This cover would be up to the extent to which another party was at fault. So the victim can deal with their insurance company and file a claim. The conditions related to the location of the accident and number of vehicles in the collision must be met for DC-PD coverage to be applied.
This cover provides support for rehabilitation and medical expenses, death and funeral benefits and loss of income due to death or injury in car accident. Here also no fault insurance system applies and the victim can file a claim with their insurer and does not matter who was at fault for the collision.
Uninsured and Unidentified Insurance
This is the last mandatory coverage required for car insurance policy in New Brunswick. This will protect the insured in the event of a collision by an uninsured party. This coverage will also apply to a hit and run collision where the car or the driver was unidentified. Any damages caused to the car can also be claimed under this coverage when the car could be identified and the driver had no insurance.
Optional Available Auto Insurance Coverage in New Brunswick
Apart from the mandatory coverage mentioned above, a car owner may also purchase additional coverage for more security. The following optional coverage is available that could increase the level of protection.
Collision / Upset Insurance
This coverage helps to claim for losses due to a collision with another object, rolls over or collides with another vehicle. While claiming under this coverage, there would be deductible to be paid.
This coverage can be used to claim for any sudden risks such as theft, fire, vandalism, missiles etc. All perils would have deductible applied except for damages due to fire or theft. Any theft of personal items such as clothes, electrical items etc. from the vehicle may not be covered. It may be a good idea to check for coverage under home insurance.
When you buy a vehicle through a car dealer they may sell you Gap insurance. This coverage would help to pay for the difference in the actual value of the vehicle and the remaining loan amount if your car gets totaled. You may also check with your existing car insurance company to compare the quotes as they may give you a better rate than the car dealer.
Insurance Penalty in New Brunswick
It is mandatory to drive with active insurance in New Brunswick. If you are caught driving without insurance that may invite penalties and or jail time. Your driver license may also get suspended. In case you are involved in a collision while driving without insurance, any claim made against you will be covered by the special funds in New Brunswick. These funds are managed and administered by the insurance industry and the government. Since you had no insurance you are at fault and have to repay the fund. In the mean time your license may be suspended.
Impaired Driving Penalties in New Brunswick
It is illegal for anyone over the age of 21 to drive under impaired conditions due to alcohol. In case you have BAC more than 0 and are aged 21 while driving then the following may take apply.
- Suspension of driver license for 1 year with immediate effect
- Fine payable for minimum $172
- Enrolment in auto control driver education program would be mandatory
- The entire graduated licensing program spanning up to 24 months may have to be redone.
If caught with BAC between .05 and .08 then there would be a 7 days license suspension with immediate effect. In case you are pulled over by police for driving with more than .08 BAC then you may face a 90 days license suspension with immediate effect.
Penalties imposed if you get convicted in impaired driving are as follows
- 1st offence: Driving will be prohibited for one year. The minimum fine payable would be for $1,150 fine. It will also be required to enroll in the Auto Control driver’s education program
- 2nd offence: The driving will be prohibited for 3 years. There would imprisonment for minimum 30 days and enrollment in the Auto Control Plus driver’s education program would be mandatory.
- 3rd or more than 3 offences: The driver will be prohibited from driving for 5 years. There would be imprisonment for 90 days and enrolment for the Auto Control Plus driver’s education program would be mandatory.
In case the driver kills or injures someone while driving under impaired conditions then that would be a serious offence and invite more penalties. The minimum punishment for killing someone by driving under the influence of alcohol is 3 years imprisonment.
Distracted Driving Penalties in New Brunswick
New Brunswick strictly prohibits any sort of distract driving to ensure better road safety. In 2010 there were amendments to this effect made to the Motor Vehicle Act to ban usage of hand held cell phone and or other devices during driving. There was a public education and awareness campaign conducted before this law was effective in 2011. The drivers who violate this law may end up paying a fine of $172.50 and lose 3 points from their driver license.
The legislation banned the manipulation or handling of the following devices when driving.
- Devices for texting
- Hand held cell phones. The only exception would be when the phone is operated by hands-free manner.
- Entertainment devices which are portable
- Adjusting or manual programming of GPS system
New Brunswick Roads & Driver Safety
The province of New Brunswick has a dedicated Safety Services department to ensure road safety for all road users through many programs. There are various services for the safety of pedestrians, motorcyclists, drivers and heavy vehicle operators. The numerous projects underway for road structure improvement adhere to WATCM. The Work Area Traffic Control Manual has given a set of guidelines for effective controlling of traffic movement during provincial road work. It is important that any road construction work performed within the right of way of the provincial roads obey the guidelines as set out in the WATCM.
New Brunswick Traffic Safety Plan
The province of New Brunswick has a separate department for transportation and infrastructure. They are responsible for managing, repairing and monitoring road safety plans. There is access to cameras installed on highways to the public by the Gateway Operations on Route 1. And the cameras set up by Brun-Way Highways Operations Inc on Route 2-TCH and 95. These cameras assist in knowing weather conditions while driving and is a tool used by the information system on road weather. Also dialing 511 would help being prepared to drive in harsh weather conditions.