Am I required to have automobile insurance?
Mandatory types of automobile insurance coverage
Nova Scotia drivers must have:
- third party liability coverage;
- accident benefits coverage; and
- uninsured and unidentified drivers coverage.
These three types of automobile insurance coverage are mandatory in Nova Scotia. They are found in sections A, B, and D, respectively, of your automobile insurance policy.
Third party liability coverage
Third party liability coverage, also called PLPD, insures you if you injure someone, cause someone's death, or damage someone else's property in a motor vehicle accident. You must have at least $500,000 of third party liability coverage, although it is common to have $1,000,000 of coverage. Third party liability coverage is found in section A of a standard automobile insurance policy.
Accident benefits, also called 'section B' or no-fault benefits, provide coverage if you and/or passengers are injured in a motor vehicle accident. They include medical and rehabilitation expenses, death and funeral benefits, and loss of income. Accident benefits are no-fault. This means you are generally entitled to accident benefits even if you caused the accident. There are some important limitations. For example, if you are convicted of impaired driving in connection with the accident, or if you were not licensed to drive, you would be denied accident benefits. However, any passenger injured would still be able to make a claim.
What accident benefits cover
Accident benefits cover:
- reasonable medical and rehabilitation expenses up to a maximum of $50,000 per person;
- funeral expenses up to $2,500, and some death benefits;
- loss of income, generally at the rate of $250 per week if you were working at the date of the accident.
The above accident benefit amounts apply to any crash that happened on or after April 1, 2012. Benefit amounts for a crash before April 1, 2012 are lower: maximum $25,000 per person medical and rehabilitation expenses; $1,000 funeral expenses; $140 per week loss of income.
Uninsured and unidentified driver insurance coverage
If an unidentified driver, or a driver without insurance, injures you or damages your vehicle you may make a claim under the uninsured and unidentified driver section of your own automobile insurance policy. This is section D of a standard automobile insurance policy.
Types of optional automobile insurance coverage
Collision and comprehensive coverage, or section C in a standard insurance policy, is optional. Collision insurance covers damage to your vehicle from an accident, even if you are at fault for the accident. Comprehensive insurance covers loss or damage to your vehicle if you hit an animal, or if your vehicle is stolen, vandalized, damaged in a fire.
Further, you may choose to get additional section B benefits coverage.
For more insurance information you may wish to contact:
- the Insurance Bureau of Canada's Information Centre at 1.844.227.5422 or visit its website at www.ibc.ca. The Insurance Bureau of Canada is the national trade association of private insurance companies;
- Nova Scotia's Office of the Superintendant of Insurance at 902.424.5613 or online at novascotia.ca/finance. The Office of the Superintendant of Insurance regulates Nova Scotia's insurance industry and enforces the Insurance Act
- General Insurance OmbudService at 1.877.225.0446 or visit its website at giocanada.org. The General Insurance OmbudService is an independent dispute resolution service that helps Canadian consumers resolve disputes or concerns with their home, auto or business insurers;
- the Financial Consumer Agency of Canada at 1-866-461-FCAC (3222) or visit its website at fcac-acfc.gc.ca. The Financial Consumer Agency of Canada is an independent body which provides consumer information on financial services and products, and also monitors and supervises federally incorporated or registered insurance companies.