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1. System Type:

  1. No-Fault Insurance: In a no-fault system, regardless of who is at fault in an accident, each person involved deals with their own insurance company for claims. This can help speed up the claims process since each driver’s insurance company can pay out without having to determine who was at fault. In New Brunswick, this no-fault portion primarily relates to Accident Benefits, which cover things like medical expenses, rehabilitation costs, and some other out-of-pocket expenses.
  2. Tort-Based System: On the other side, New Brunswick allows for the tort system when it comes to property damage or if you want to sue for additional pain and suffering or economic losses that exceed the no-fault benefits. This means that if another driver is at fault for the accident, you have the right to sue them for certain damages.

All drivers in New Brunswick are required to have at least the minimum level of auto insurance, which covers third-party liability, accident benefits, uninsured automobile coverage, and direct compensation for property damage.

2. Coverage for Bodily Injury:

New Brunswick, bodily injury liability is covered under the mandatory third-party liability insurance that every driver must have. This coverage provides protection if you, as the at-fault driver, injure someone else in a car accident. It covers the costs associated with the other person’s injuries up to the limit of your policy, including medical expenses, loss of income, and other related expenses. It can also provide coverage if you are sued for additional damages.

The minimum required third-party liability limit in New Brunswick is $200,000. However, many drivers opt for higher limits (e.g., $1 million or $2 million) to ensure they have ample protection in the event of a serious accident.

In addition to third-party liability, New Brunswick drivers are also required to carry Accident Benefits coverage, which is a form of no-fault insurance. This means that regardless of who is at fault in an accident, this coverage provides benefits to pay for medical and rehabilitation expenses, death benefits, and loss of income. Accident Benefits coverage is for the driver, passengers, and pedestrians who might be injured in an accident.

3. Coverage for Property Damage:

In New Brunswick, coverage for property damage, as it pertains to auto insurance, is primarily dealt with through Direct Compensation for Property Damage (DCPD). Here’s a breakdown of how this works:

  1. Direct Compensation for Property Damage (DCPD): DCPD is a mandatory part of auto insurance in New Brunswick. Under DCPD, if another driver is at fault for an accident, you don’t need to go after the other driver’s insurance for the damages to your vehicle. Instead, you claim the damages from your own insurance company directly. This streamlines the claims process. For DCPD to apply, the accident must have occurred in New Brunswick, and both drivers must be insured by companies licensed in the province.

    The advantage of DCPD is that it often speeds up the claim process. Since you’re dealing with your own insurer, you don’t need to wait for the two insurance companies to determine fault and settle between them. The percentage of fault will still be determined according to the province’s fault determination rules, and this percentage will dictate how much of the repair/replacement cost your insurer will cover.

  2. Collision or Upset Coverage (Optional): While DCPD covers you when the other driver is at fault, collision coverage provides protection for damages to your vehicle when you are at fault or when fault can’t be determined. It’s an optional coverage but can be very valuable, especially if you have a newer vehicle. Collision coverage will typically cover repairs or the replacement of your vehicle up to its actual cash value.
  3. Comprehensive Coverage (Optional): This is another optional coverage that protects your vehicle from damages not resulting from a collision. This includes things like theft, vandalism, fire, natural disasters, and other non-collision-related events.

4. No-Fault System:

New Brunswick’s car insurance system incorporates elements of the no-fault system, particularly when it comes to Accident Benefits. However, it’s essential to understand the nuances and how the system operates within the province.

  1. Accident Benefits (No-Fault Coverage): Under the no-fault portion of New Brunswick’s insurance system, if you’re involved in an accident, regardless of who is at fault, you will claim certain benefits directly from your own insurance company. These Accident Benefits provide coverage for medical expenses, rehabilitation, funeral expenses, and other related costs. Because these claims are made irrespective of fault, it’s referred to as no-fault insurance.
  2. Direct Compensation for Property Damage (DCPD): DCPD is another component of New Brunswick’s insurance system that exhibits no-fault characteristics. If you’re involved in an accident with another vehicle, and the other driver is at fault, you won’t claim against their insurance for the damages to your car. Instead, you’ll claim the damages from your own insurance company directly. This feature is designed to speed up the claims process. However, it’s crucial to note that DCPD only applies if both drivers are insured by companies licensed in New Brunswick and the accident occurred within the province.
  3. Tort System Components: Even with the no-fault elements in place, New Brunswick still retains aspects of the tort system. This means that if you suffer injuries or damages that exceed the benefits provided by the no-fault coverage, you have the right to sue the at-fault party for additional compensation. This can include pain and suffering, additional medical expenses, and other economic losses.

In summary, New Brunswick employs a mixed system, combining elements of no-fault insurance (primarily through Accident Benefits and DCPD) and the traditional tort system. This hybrid approach aims to provide swift access to necessary benefits after an accident while still preserving the rights of individuals to seek additional compensation when warranted.

5. Premiums:

  1. Fredericton: As the capital city, Fredericton might have average premiums ranging from $800 to $1,200 annually.
  2. Moncton: As one of the major urban centers, Moncton could see rates between $820 to $1,220.
  3. Saint John: Another significant city, the rates might average from $810 to $1,210 annually.
  4. Dieppe: Being close to Moncton, it could have similar rates, around $815 to $1,215.
  5. Riverview: Also part of the Greater Moncton area, rates could range from $810 to $1,200.
  6. Edmundston: Located near the Quebec and U.S. borders, premiums might range from $780 to $1,180.
  7. Bathurst: In the northern part of the province, average rates could be around $760 to $1,160.
  8. Miramichi: This area might see average premiums between $750 to $1,150.
  9. Campbellton: Located in the northern part of NB, it might have rates around $770 to $1,170.
  10. Oromocto: Close to Fredericton, rates could be in the range of $790 to $1,190.

For the remaining cities and towns in New Brunswick, the average rates may generally vary between $720 to $1,120, with smaller towns and more rural areas likely being at the lower end of this spectrum:

  1. Quispamsis
  2. Rothesay
  3. Shediac
  4. Sackville
  5. Sussex
  6. Hampton
  7. Woodstock
  8. St. Stephen
  9. Grand Falls (Grand-Sault)
  10. Hartland
  11. Saint Andrews
  12. Bouctouche
  13. Dalhousie
  14. St. George
  15. Richibucto
  16. Perth-Andover
  17. Florenceville-Bristol
  18. Caraquet
  19. Tracadie-Sheila
  20. Saint-Léonard

6. Deductibles:

In New Brunswick, as with other regions, a deductible is the amount you pay out-of-pocket for a covered loss before your car insurance kicks in to cover the remaining costs. Deductibles apply to various types of auto insurance coverages. Here’s how they work in the context of New Brunswick car insurance:

  1. Collision or Upset Coverage:
    • If your vehicle is damaged due to a collision with another vehicle or object or from the car overturning, this coverage applies.
    • Deductibles for collision coverage typically range, with common amounts being $250, $500, $1,000, or sometimes higher. The choice of deductible can affect the premium amount: a higher deductible usually results in a lower premium and vice versa.
  2. Comprehensive Coverage:
    • This covers damage to your vehicle from non-collision events, such as theft, vandalism, fire, falling objects, and some natural disasters.
    • As with collision coverage, comprehensive insurance comes with a deductible, which typically ranges from $250 to $1,000 or more.
  3. All Perils:
    • Combining both Collision and Comprehensive coverages, All Perils typically has a single deductible applying to claims.
  4. Specified Perils:
    • Protecting against specific risks named in the policy, this coverage might have its deductible. It’s more limited than comprehensive coverage.
  5. Direct Compensation Property Damage (DCPD):
    • New Brunswick operates under the DCPD system. When another driver is at fault for an accident in the province, and both vehicles are insured with companies licensed in New Brunswick, you claim damages from your own insurer. Depending on the circumstances and policy terms, a deductible might be applied, although in many DCPD scenarios, if you’re not at fault, you won’t pay a deductible.

Choosing the right deductible depends on your financial situation and risk tolerance. While a higher deductible might reduce your premiums, you should ensure it’s an amount you can comfortably pay out-of-pocket in the event of a claim.

7. Mandatory Coverages:

insurance coverage

In New Brunswick, as in all Canadian provinces, drivers are required to have certain mandatory insurance coverages to ensure they can cover costs if they are responsible for an accident or if they get injured. Here’s a breakdown of the mandatory auto insurance coverages in New Brunswick:

  1. Third-Party Liability Coverage:
    • This coverage protects you if you’re found legally responsible for injuries or death to someone else or if you damage someone else’s property with your vehicle.
    • The minimum required limit for third-party liability coverage in New Brunswick is $200,000. However, many drivers choose to have limits above the minimum, such as $1 million or $2 million, to ensure more comprehensive protection.
  2. Accident Benefits:
    • This coverage provides compensation for medical and rehabilitation expenses, funeral expenses, and income replacement due to disability.
    • It’s available regardless of who was at fault in the accident.
  3. Uninsured and Unidentified Automobile Coverage:
    • This provides protection if you’re involved in an accident with an uninsured driver or if you’re the victim of a hit-and-run (an unidentified driver).
    • It ensures that you receive compensation for your injuries or property damage even if the other driver is not insured.
  4. Direct Compensation Property Damage (DCPD):
    • New Brunswick uses the DCPD system, which allows you to claim damages from your own insurer for property damage when another driver is at fault, provided certain conditions are met (like both drivers being insured with companies licensed in New Brunswick).
    • With DCPD, you deal directly with your insurer, regardless of who’s at fault. This often streamlines the claims process.

These are the basic mandatory coverages that every driver in New Brunswick must have. However, it’s important to note that while these coverages provide essential protections, they might not cover all costs or scenarios. For this reason, many drivers also choose to purchase additional optional coverages, such as collision and comprehensive coverage, to ensure more comprehensive protection.

8. Optional Coverages:

In addition to the mandatory coverages required in New Brunswick, drivers have the option to enhance their insurance protection by purchasing optional coverages. These additional coverages can offer broader protection for a range of scenarios. Here’s an overview of some common optional auto insurance coverages available in New Brunswick:

  1. Collision or Upset Coverage:
    • This coverage pays for damage to your vehicle caused by a collision with another vehicle, object, or if the car overturns.
    • Even if you’re at fault for the accident, this coverage ensures that the repair or replacement costs of your vehicle are covered (minus the deductible).
  2. Comprehensive Coverage:
    • Comprehensive insurance covers damage to your vehicle from non-collision related events. This includes things like theft, vandalism, fire, falling objects, explosions, and certain natural disasters.
    • It provides broad protection for many of the unpredictable events that might damage your vehicle.
  3. All Perils:
    • Combining both Collision and Comprehensive coverages, this offers protection against a wide range of risks. Typically, claims under this coverage come with a single deductible.
  4. Specified Perils:
    • This coverage protects your vehicle against specific risks that you choose to be covered for, such as fire or theft. It’s a more limited form of protection than comprehensive coverage.
  5. Loss of Use Coverage:
    • In the event of a covered claim that leaves your car undrivable, this coverage pays for alternate transportation costs, like rental vehicles or public transport fares.
  6. Waiver of Depreciation:
    • For new vehicles, this coverage ensures that if your car is written off in an accident within a specific timeframe from when it’s new (e.g., 24 or 36 months), you’ll receive the full purchase price of the car, not the depreciated value.
  7. Family Protection Endorsement (Underinsured Motorist Protection):
    • Provides additional coverage to you and eligible family members in the event of injury or death caused by an underinsured, uninsured, or unidentified driver.
    • It can raise the limits of your existing third-party liability coverage in these specific scenarios.
  8. Accident Forgiveness:
    • Some insurers offer this endorsement, which ensures that your first at-fault accident won’t result in an increased premium upon renewal.
  9. Rental Vehicle Coverage:
    • If you frequently rent vehicles, this coverage protects the rental vehicle similarly to how your own car is covered, potentially saving you from purchasing the rental company’s insurance.

9. Claims:

If you’re involved in an accident or face an incident that requires an insurance claim in New Brunswick, the process is relatively consistent with other provinces in Canada. Here’s a general overview of what to do and what you can expect when filing a car insurance claim in New Brunswick:

  1. Immediate Steps at the Scene:
    • Ensure safety first: Check for injuries, and if safe, move vehicles out of the flow of traffic.
    • Call the police if there are significant injuries, considerable property damage, or any sign of criminal activity (like drunk driving).
    • Collect information: Get names, contact details, insurance details, and license numbers from all involved drivers. Note details of the incident and take photos of damages, the scene, and any relevant road conditions or signs. Witness information can also be helpful.
  2. Report the Incident:
    • Inform your insurance company or broker as soon as possible. Even if you think you might not file a claim, it’s still a good idea to let them know about the incident.
    • If there were injuries or if the damages exceed a certain amount (as set by the province), you might also be required to report the accident to the local police or RCMP.
  3. The Role of the Claims Adjuster:
    • After you’ve reported the incident, your insurance company will assign a claims adjuster to your case.
    • The adjuster’s job is to evaluate the details, assess the damage, and determine how much compensation you’re entitled to based on your policy.
    • They will also determine fault based on the province’s fault determination rules.
  4. Direct Compensation Property Damage (DCPD):
    • New Brunswick uses the DCPD system, meaning if another driver is at fault and both drivers are insured by companies licensed in the province, you’ll claim damages from your own insurer.
    • This system often speeds up the claims process, as you’re dealing directly with your insurer.
  5. Deductibles:
    • Depending on the type of claim and your policy details, you might need to pay a deductible. This is an amount you agreed upon when setting up your policy and represents the portion of the claim you’re responsible for paying.
  6. Repair and Compensation:
    • Your insurer will guide you on repairing your vehicle. In some cases, they may recommend certain repair shops, but you generally have the right to choose where you want your car repaired.
    • If your car is deemed a “total loss” (cost of repair exceeds the car’s value), you’ll receive compensation based on your car’s actual cash value (unless you have a waiver of depreciation for a new car).
  7. Potential Premium Impact:
    • If you’re found to be at fault or partially at fault, the claim could impact your future insurance premiums.
  8. Know Your Rights:
    • You have the right to fair treatment, a timely response, and clear communication from your insurer. If you disagree with the settlement amount or the fault determination, most policies provide a process for dispute resolution.

10. Driver’s Licensing:

New Brunswick, like other Canadian provinces, utilizes a graduated driver licensing system designed to ensure new drivers gradually gain experience under lower-risk conditions. Here’s an outline of the driver’s licensing process in New Brunswick:

  1. Class 7 – Learner’s License (Level 1):
    • Eligibility starts at 16 years old, or 15 years and 9 months if enrolled in a driver training program.
    • A written knowledge test and vision test are required.
    • Once obtained, drivers must always be accompanied by a supervising driver in the front seat, who has a valid Class 5 license and at least 3 years of driving experience.
    • No driving is permitted between midnight and 5 a.m.
    • Zero blood alcohol level is mandatory.
    • The learner’s stage lasts a minimum of 12 months, but it can be reduced to 8 months if a recognized driver training course is completed.
  2. Class 7 – Newly Licensed Driver’s License (Level 2):
    • After completing the requirements of Level 1 and passing a road test, drivers move to Level 2.
    • No accompanying driver is required, but there are still restrictions.
    • Only three passengers are allowed, with no more than one in the front seat.
    • Driving between midnight and 5 a.m. is not permitted unless accompanied by a supervising driver with at least 3 years of experience.
    • Zero blood alcohol level is mandatory.
    • Drivers must remain at this level for a minimum of 12 months.
  3. Class 5 – Full License:
    • After completing Level 2, drivers can apply for a full Class 5 license.
    • All restrictions from the previous levels are lifted.
    • A road test is required.
  4. Other License Classes:
    • New Brunswick also offers other licenses for specific vehicle types and purposes. These include Class 1 (tractor-trailers), Class 2 (buses), Class 3 (trucks), Class 4 (taxis, ambulances), Class 6 (motorcycles), and more.
  5. Driver Training:
    • While not mandatory, many new drivers opt to participate in a recognized driver training program. Completing such a program can reduce the time spent in the graduated licensing stages and may offer benefits like potential insurance discounts.
  6. License Renewal and Demerit Points:
    • Licenses in New Brunswick require periodic renewal. The province also uses a demerit point system, where accumulating too many points due to traffic violations can lead to penalties or license suspension.

About the Author: Valerie D. Hahn

Valerie is an insurance editor, journalist, and business professional at RateLab. She has more than 15 years of experience in personal financial products. She strives to educate readers and ensure that they are properly protected.

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