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How Does Car Insurance Work in Quebec?

Car insurance can seem like a jungle if you don’t happen to be an expert within the industry. But before purchasing insurance, you need to be aware of the fundamentals to ensure that you are covered in certain situations. It’s well worth analyzing and studying how car insurance works in Quebec and the fine print to guarantee such coverage.

Unlike the rest of Canada, Quebec residents are publicly insured by Societe de l’Assurance automobile du Quebec (SAAQ). However, uniquely all Quebecers are covered by this whether they have or don’t have a driver’s license. Meaning that everyone with residency based in Quebec has compensation if an injury occurs with a motorized vehicle.

Both the person responsible for the accident and the individual involved in the collision are covered. For example, if someone in a motorized vehicle (either a car or motorbike) crashes into a pedestrian walking in the street, both members included in the incident can receive monetary compensation. Because of this, neither the driver nor the pedestrian can sue one another for the accident.

This will only cover medical costs and will not cover any costs on the vehicle involved in the crash. This is why you need private insurance in addition to public insurance that is automatically applied to all Quebec residence. Private insurance is mandatory and must protect individuals involved in the crash (apart from the responsible person, this is a “Section B” insurance).

Public & Private Insurance Plans for Quebecers

As suggested above, you have two different insurance plans for people that live in Quebec. One is public and the other private.

The public insurance covered by Societe de l’Assurance automobile du Quebec (SAAQ) is automatically applied to an individual with a residency in Quebec; the other you’ll have to purchase through an insurance company.

Both are needed to protect medical bills, car damages, potential loss of work, etc.

Public Insurance (Automatically Applied to Quebecers)

You now know that people who have a residence in Quebec are insured by the Societe de l’Assurance automobile du Quebec (SAAQ). In simple terms, this insurance gives you compensation for injuries from an accident involving a vehicle. This also covers a residence if they’re outside of Quebec.

Under this plan, you and others cannot sue each other.

Private Insurance

You are needed to purchase additional insurance to covers potential costs of damages to your car and medical bills. To become a legal driver, you much opt-in for section A or section B car insurance:

  • Section A is mandatory and covers the cost of damage done to other people’s vehicles and medical bills.
  • Section B is optional and typically more expensive, and this will also cover your vehicle damage and medical bills as well as theirs.

Section A & B Coverage Explained

I’ve briefly mentioned both section A & B coverage, which can be purchased through a private insurance brokerage. Knowing about these is important, so I thought we would dive deeper into this topic.

Section A Coverage (Mandatory)

To become a legally covered driver on public roads, you must at least have section A coverage as a mandatory requirement. This covers medical bills that aren’t covered by SAAQ and any vehicle damage that needs to be repaired.

When selecting section A coverage, the minimum liability amount is $50,000 but can be increased to more than $1 million. All insurance companies recommend you opt-in for something much higher than $50,000 encase of serious accidents. It also provides coverage for your own personal vehicle if the accident wasn’t your fault.

Having section A insurance will provide you coverage with the following:

  • Material Damage – Damage caused by yourself to another motorist vehicle.
  • Physical Injuries – Injuries you’ve caused that aren’t covered by SAAQ.

If you cause an accident and only have section A coverage, you’re not personally covered, and the only person in the situation that will get compensation is the other motorist. You’ll have to pay for medical bills that SAAQ and vehicle costs don’t cover.

Section B Coverage (Optional)

On the other hand, section B coverage is optional and not needed to become a legal driver. People call this “two-way insurance,” and there’s a good reason for it.

Having section B coverage will insure both you and the other motorist no matter who’s fault the accident was. For example, if you hit someone else’s car and both cars need repairing. You’ll get compensation for your car and so will the other person.

Having section B insurance will provide you coverage with the following;

  • Material Damage – All vehicles, including yours that are involved in the crash, are covered with section B Insurance.
  • Physical Injuries – Injuries that occurred with you or others in the accident are covered.
  • Special Events – Your vehicle will also be covered by unordinary events such as explosions, earthquakes, hail and flooding.

If you cause an accident and have section B coverage, both you and the other drivers involved in the crash are covered. Meaning they’ll get medical bills and vehicle damages paid for without you having to pay a cent. However, this does depend on your liability amount, and this is why insurance companies advise you to opt-in for liability that is much higher than $50,000.

Conclusion

To summarize this article up, see below bullet points.

  • All Quebec resistance are insured by Societe de l’Assurance automobile du Quebec (SAAQ).
  • Section A or B insurance is a mandatory requirement to become a legal road user.
  • Section A is the most standard insurance package you can select and will only cover others in an accident that you caused.
  • Section B insurance is more premium and provides all coverage mentioned in section A, and it’ll also cover any medical or vehicle bills you encounter. This doesn’t matter if you caused the accident or not.
  • Section B insurance also covers your vehicle with any natural or special events that cause damage to your motorized vehicle, such as earthquakes, flooding, etc.
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