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What is the Difference Between Public and Private Car Insurance in Quebec?

To the point Do you want to know the difference between public and private car insurance in Quebec? Find out the details in this post.

Several car insurance plans are available in Canada and are mandatory or optional, depending on the province.

However, car insurance in Quebec is compulsory. The law on car insurance in Quebec, which went into effect on March 1, 1978, distinguishes between two types of coverage: bodily injury and property damage.

Is Car Insurance Mandatory in Quebec?

Quebec has two types of car insurance that are mandatory:

  • Public car insurance: The Société automobile d’assurance du Québec (SAAQ) administers this public insurance plan and are in charge of the public car insurance plan in Québec. The insurance coverage was designed to pay for bodily injury resulting from an accident and covers everyone.
  • Private car insurance: This is mandatory third-party liability insurance.

Public Insurance That's Provided by The Quebec Automobile Insurance Company

This public insurance plan is also known as accident benefits and protects all Quebecers injured in road accidents, whether in Quebec or abroad. It is not required to hold a driver’s license to be covered by this insurance; as long as you are a Quebecer and are involved in an accident, you are insured.

This insurance is unique because it covers all Quebecers, regardless of whether they are at fault for the accident. As a result, no legal action can be taken against the person who caused the accident. To lodge a compensation claim with the SAAQ, you have three years from the date of the accident, the start of injury, or death.

The SAAQ public plan does not cover some accidents:

  • during a competition, an accident occurs
  • an accident involving an “off-road” vehicle, such as a snowmobile

Mandatory Private Car Insurance: Third-Party Liability

Private car insurance is compulsory and is most often known as third-party liability insurance. This coverage must be purchased through a private insurer, as it’s not automatic. Third-party liability coverage is used to compensate people for property damage you may have caused, with a minimum of $50,000 is required.

Many insurers recommend you increase the coverage to $2 million. However, the $50,000 minimum sometimes gets exceeded, mainly if the accident occurs in the United States.

You will receive the following coverage with liability insurance:

  • Damage to your property if you are not at fault
  • Damage to other people’s property, such as their house or fences
  • Bodily injury caused to persons outside of Quebec that the SAAQ does not cover

If you aren’t at fault in a traffic accident outside of Québec, you have legal recourse against the at-fault driver if such action is permitted by the jurisdiction laws where the accident occurred. It would be best to inform the SAAQ of your plans before starting legal procedures, as it has a right of recourse that it may choose to execute.

  • If you are transporting people or goods: You must have private insurance coverage with a minimum value of $1 million.
  • If you are transporting dangerous substances: You must have private insurance coverage with a minimum value of $2 million.
  • If you own an off-road vehicle like an ATV or a snowmobile: You must have private insurance coverage with a minimum value of $500,000.

It’s important to note that you must always carry your private insurance certificate, driver’s license, and registration certificate when driving on the road.

And don’t forget to compare car insurance with our tool to find the perfect car insurance according to your needs.

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Jean-Maximilien Voisine
Jean-Maximilien is an expert in Canada and France about Loyalty programs, Credit cards and Travel. He is the Founding President of Milesopedia.

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