Quebec Auto Insurance Requirements
Quebec’s combined public/private auto insurance is currently among the most affordable in Canada. The public portion is called Section A, civil liability coverage. This covers:
- vehicle damage resulting from a non-at fault collision
- damage caused to a third party’s property for which the insured driver is at fault
- damage and injury for accidents occurring outside Quebec
The province requires a minimum of $50,000 civil liability coverage, but most drivers opt for $1 million.
Section B coverage sells through private insurers. This section covers collision, comprehensive and all perils insurance. Coverage under this section isn’t mandatory, however most motorists add Section B coverage to spare themselves financial hardship after an accident. This section is subject to deductibles. Raising or lowering these lowers or raises the premium for the resulting policy. According to Quebec’s insurance commission, the most common deductible levels are:
- $250 to $1,000 for collision
- $100 to $250 for comprehensive
- $250 or $500 for all perils
In addition to these sections, private insurance companies offer a range of endorsements to further customize auto insurance coverage.
Quebec Auto Insurance Regulation
The Societe de l’assurance automobile Quebec is the provincial body that oversees and administers the public portion, or Section A, coverage. The public portion provides benefits to all Quebecers, drivers or not, in the event of an accident causing injury or death, anywhere in the world, regardless of who caused the accident.
The provincial plan may also cover tourists to Quebec, depending on responsibility for the accident. If a tourist is less than 100 percent responsible for an accident, then they may be entitled to compensation through the Quebec system. At fault accidents depend on the person’s personal insurance coverage.
Quebec’s system does not allow for suing after an accident in the province. This doesn’t extend to legal proceedings if a driver committed an offense as part of the accident, such as dangerous or impaired driving. Conviction and imprisonment may reduce the benefits that the offender receives. This applies only to accidents occurring in Quebec. While the provincial policy covers drivers worldwide, lawsuits arising from an accident are subject to local laws outside the province.
Auto Insurance Facts in Quebec
- Quebec was once one of the most expensive provinces for car insurance. Changes to the system made it the most affordable province by 2011.
- While public perception considers public insurance to be more affordable than private, this has only played out in Quebec. British Columbia, Saskatchewan and Manitoba — the other public insurance provinces — place in the highest half of provinces in terms of average premiums.
- If you’re not at fault in an accident, your deductibles for collision or comprehensive coverage are paid by the Section A public portion of your policy.
- Drivers having trouble obtaining insurance in Quebec don’t use the national Facility Association. The provincial Insurance Information Centre guarantees to find at least Quebec’s mandatory coverage for any driver who has been refused coverage by at least five insurers.
- Quebec has a simplified auto insurance policy form, which came into effect in 2014.
Minimum Required Auto Insurance Coverage in Quebec
Public insurance through the SAAQ covers all Quebec residents, whether they own a car or even have a driver’s license. Thus, a cyclist hit by a car doesn’t need to worry about the coverage of health-related expenses related to the accident, regardless of who was at fault. Public benefits are available to all, victims as well as those who cause accidents. However, no one can sue or be sued for an accident occurring in the province.
For car owners, a minimum amount of auto insurance must cover the owned vehicle. This is Section A of the province’s simplified auto insurance form. A minimum of $50,000 of civil liability cover is mandatory. This covers the driver’s responsibility for causing injuries or damage, while driving in Canada as well as the United States.
While Quebec’s insurance system prevents damages lawsuits stemming from accidents occurring in the province, a Quebec driver may still be sued for at fault collisions occurring in other places in Canada as well as anywhere in the US. A motorist can increase basic civil liability coverage for the entire term of their policy or to cover periods where they drive in other jurisdictions. Most Quebec drivers select $1 million in civil liability coverage.
Optional Available Auto Insurance Coverage in Quebec
Section B, containing collision, comprehensive as well as all perils provisions, is optional in terms of the province’s minimum on road standards. There’s no legal requirement to carry Section B coverage.
Motorists who finance their car purchase may find that their bank requires Section B coverage, however. To protect their loan investment, certain levels of insurance coverage frequently rate as conditions of financing. These conditions originate with the lending agency.
Endorsements — also called riders — add additional features to a driver’s auto insurance policy. Private insurers who supply Section B coverage sell endorsements. As such, the selection of endorsements varies between insurance providers. The most common endorsements in Quebec are:
- Change to loss payment, or Endorsement 43: This removes the effects of depreciation from insurance coverage. It’s most commonly called “replacement cost” coverage, so that a driver isn’t stuck with car payments exceeding the value of insurance after an accident.
- Non-owned vehicle, or Endorsement 27: When a driver rents or borrows a car, this endorsement extends the terms of their personal coverage to the non-owned vehicle they drive. It permits the driver to decline rental car company damage waivers as well as topping up coverage on a borrowed car insured for less than the driver expects.
- Short-term rental or Endorsement 20: This assures replacement of the cost of renting a car while a vehicle undergoes repairs or replacement.
Average Quebec Car Insurance Rates
|City||Estimated Average Rate*|
Best Rated Auto Insurers In Quebec
2016 Canadian Auto Insurance Satisfaction Study in Quebec
|Company||Ranking based on a 1000 point scale|
|Quebec Regional Average||786|
|Desjardins General Insurance||784|
Insurance Fraud Penalty in Quebec
Insurance companies combat fraudulent claims whenever possible to help keep overall insurance costs down. Reports indicate that fraudulent payments could occur in almost 6.5 percent of all claims in Quebec.
Fraud offences fall under federal law, divided in amounts above as well as below $5,000. Cases under $5,000 could result in imprisonment of up to two years. Cases above $5,000 carry a 14 year maximum sentence.
Typical auto insurance fraudulent activity includes;
- including previous damage in an insurance claim
- adding damage after an accident to increase a claim
- exaggerating or simulating personal injuries resulting an accident
- misrepresenting the value or condition of a stolen vehicle
- declaring loss or damage for a vehicle not stolen or damaged
- any misrepresentation of events or conditions around an insurable incident
- staged collisions or other pre-meditated event, such as burning a vehicle
- Deliberate misrepresentation of a vehicle’s use. This could include omitting regular drivers from a policy as well as using a personal vehicle for commercial purposes without informing the insurer.
Staged collisions are a rising issue in Canada. These include:
- collisions where all passengers of a vehicle know that the driver is planning a deliberate accident, or occupants “jump in” to a car after a collision occurs, simulating real accident victims.
- reported collisions where the involved vehicles didn’t actually collide, known as “paper fraud.”
- Predatory towing service operators who charge false fees or work in collusion with auto body centres practicing fraudulent billing and claims.
- Health care clinics and facilities that encourage the reporting of injuries or treatments that never happened.
Costs of insurance fraud stretch beyond simply the amounts paid in claims. Emergency services, police and ambulances called to fraudulent collisions, for example, not only incur costs for this accident response, they are also unavailable to respond to legitimate incidences. Likewise, those committing fraud who use emergency rooms and urgent care facilities to give the appearance of legitimate injuries tie up services for real patients and needlessly increase health care costs at the attending facility. The load for insurance fraud gets spread back to the law-abiding car insurance clients in the form of increased premiums.
The Insurance Bureau of Canada sponsors an anonymous tip hotline to support insurance fraud prevention in Quebec and all other provinces and territories in Canada. The 24/7 reporting service is reached at 1-877-IBC-TIPS, or 1-877-422-8477.
Impaired Driving Penalties in Quebec
As in all provinces in Canada, impaired driving is a serious offense in Quebec. The legal limit for blood alcohol arrest is 80 mg per 100 ml of blood, or 0.08, as commonly expressed. However, you can be arrested if your condition is impaired by alcohol or other substances, even if a 0.08 blood alcohol level is not obtained. Drivers refusing to obey the instructions of a police officer may also be detained.
First Offence Penalties
- 90-day license suspension effective immediately
- $1,000 minimum fine
- Suspended license upon conviction of 1 or 3 years
- Mandatory impaired driving program
- Possible ignition interlock device
Second and Subsequent Offence Penalties
- 90-day immediate license suspension
- no minimum fine amount
- car seizure and impounding for 90 days
- 30 to 120 days imprisonment, depending on conditions related to charges
- License suspended upon conviction from 3 to 5 years
- Mandatory impaired driving program
- Ignition interlock device for 2 years, 3 years or life
- Possible lifetime prohibition from driving or owning a vehicle.
Quebec has reciprocal agreements with Ontario, Maine and New York, sharing traffic offences committed by residents of each province or state. Thus a driver arrested for impaired driving in New York State cannot hide that charge for Quebec auto insurance purposes.
Distracted Driving Penalties in Quebec
Distracted driving laws, where mobile phones are concerned, are very clear. A driver cannot hold a cell phone while driving. The presumption of the law is that if you’re holding it, you’re using it. “Driving” means being behind the wheel while in a lane of traffic, even if you’re stopped at an intersection or due to traffic congestion. Even checking the time on a device is illegal use. It’s not only smartphones. The law applies to tablets and laptops as well.
Exceptions apply to drivers of emergency vehicles in the line of duty and to two-way radio type devices, where only one person speaks at a time.
Holding a device carries automatic penalties since there’s no need to prove the device is in use. Penalties incurred include a fine of $80 to $100 and 4 demerit points off the driver’s provincial license.
Quebec Roads & Driver Safety
- Since 1978, there’s been a decrease of almost 80 percent in road fatalities.
- In the same time frame, cars on the road increased almost 114 percent.
- There are nearly 82,000 kilometers of paved road in Quebec, as well as over 63,000 km of unpaved road. This accounts for about 14 percent of all the roads in Canada.
- Photo radar and red light cameras are used in the province. The program started at 15 locations in Montreal in 2009. Fines are the same as traditional traffic stops but no demerits deducted. Warning signs alert drivers to the presence of such devices to avoid perception as traps.
- Quebec started a mandatory driver training standard for new drivers, taking effect in 1983.
- Quebec dropped the no right turn on red law in 2003, but the City of Montreal retains it.
- While most provinces have keep right except to pass laws, those in Quebec are enforced. You cannot use left lanes except to pass, even if you’re the only car on the road.
- Any vehicle not driving the posted speed must activate four-way flashers.
Quebec Traffic Safety Plan
The province of Quebec is justifiably proud of its improvements to vehicle safety over the years, despite the drastic increase in the number of vehicles on its roads. Legislative measures are taken to continue road safety conditions include:
- Speeding: more severe penalties, particularly extreme speeds of 40 km/h or more over the limit. Penalties include license suspensions as well as vehicle impounding.
- Impaired Driving: increases in the lengths of suspensions as well as increased consequences for repeat offenders.
- Driver Licensing: mandatory driving courses for new drivers and expanded probationary licensing.
- Cell phone use: strict restrictions on distracted driving conditions. This also includes an awareness program warning of risks with hands-free use as well as continued education on distracted driving in general.