Car Insurance in Quebec

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How does car insurance work in Quebec?

Quebec is unique because it’s the only province that uses both public and private car insurance systems at the same time. The public side relates to personal injury, while the private side covers property damage.

Public portion of Quebec auto insurance coverage:

All Québecers are covered by the province’s public auto insurance plan. It provides compensation in the event of injury or death resulting from a motor accident.

The public portion:

  • Is included in your annual drivers licence fees
  • Is provided by the Société de l’assurance automobile du Québec (SAAQ)
  • Covers bodily injury sustained in an automobile accident
  • Covers injuries sustained from accidents in Québec or anywhere else in the world

The public plan includes “no fault coverage.” This means that everyone involved is covered for injury or death, regardless of who was at fault. You can’t be sued as a result of a collision in Quebec.

Private portion of auto insurance coverage:

Public insurance does not replace private insurance in Quebec. Drivers need public AND private insurance!

The private portion:

  • Must be purchased from a private insurance company
  • Includes mandatory civil liability and property damage coverage
  • Includes additional (optional) car insurance coverage

Frequently asked questions about car insurance in Quebec

Can you drive without insurance in Quebec?

No, you need valid car insurance to legally drive in Quebec. It’s the law across Canada. In addition, Quebec drivers must have a valid driver’s licence (Class 5 licence is required to drive a passenger vehicle), and a copy of the vehicle registration.

What car insurance is mandatory in Quebec?

By law you need both public and private car insurance in Quebec. As a driver in Quebec, you must have public auto insurance plan issued by the SAAQ. This covers minimum limits for bodily injury, including:

  • Income replacement following an accident
  • Compensation for permanent impairment
  • Compensation for private care expenses
  • Medication and medical supplies
  • Personal home assistance
  • Death benefits if you have lost a loved one

In addition, Quebec’s drivers must purchase a minimum of $50,000 in civil liability coverage from a private insurer. This covers:

  • Repairs to your vehicle following a no-fault collision in Quebec
  • Legal liability for property damage and bodily injury if you are involved in a collision outside of Quebec
  • Property damage caused to a third party, if you are found at fault for a collision in Quebec

While $50,000 is the mandatory minimum required by law, most drivers increase their civil liability limit to $1 or even $2 million.

What types of optional auto insurance are available in Quebec?

You are not legally required to purchase insurance coverage for repairs to your own vehicle, but coverage is available and recommended most of the time. The most common optional auto insurance coverages in Quebec are:

  • Collision: Covers repairs to your vehicle following a collision
  • Comprehensive: Covers damage to your vehicle caused by non-collision events such as hail, theft, or vandalism
  • All perils: combines collision and comprehensive coverage

How much is car insurance in Quebec?

According to the latest stats from the Insurance Bureau of Canada, the average car insurance premium in Quebec is $717 per year, or $59.75 per month. Drivers in Montreal and other dense urban areas face the highest premiums in the province, while rural Quebec has the cheapest rates.

Is car insurance cheap in Quebec?

Quebec has the cheapest car insurance rates in Canada, averaging $717 per year. To put this in perspective, drivers in Ontario pay an average of $1,505 per year, while drivers in B.C. average $1,832, according to the Insurance Bureau of Canada’s 2019 report.

How does no fault car insurance work in Quebec?

Under Quebec’s public insurance model, all Quebecers involved in motor accidents are covered for bodily injury, regardless of who is at fault for the accident. You will receive compensation from SAAQ and not the other driver. This is called no fault insurance. As a result, you cannot sue the person responsible for an accident in which you were involved.

Who regulates insurance in Quebec?

In Quebec, car insurance companies must join the Groupement des assureurs automobiles (GAA). This organization regulates pricing. They use two tools to determine fair rates in the province:

The Automobile Statistical Plan analyses last year’s premiums and claims to calculate how much insurers should charge for coverage. If the cost of claims outweighed the total written premiums, individual rates are likely to increase the following year.

The Fichier central des sinistres automobiles is essentially a record of accidents and claims for each driver in Quebec. It is managed by the GAA, but private insurers can access it to evaluate an individual driver’s risk before quoting a premium.

What other factors influence car insurance premiums in Quebec?

Quebec’s car insurance companies base your premiums on a number of different factors, including:

  • How often you drive: From an insurance perspective, the more your drive, the more likely you are to be involved in a collision. Insurers will request your annual kilometres driven before providing a car insurance quote.
  • Your driving history: A driving infraction on your record, especially if it leads to demerit points, will cause your annual premiums to increase.
  • The make and model of your car: Some cars cost more to repair, or are notoriously popular with car thieves. As a result, insurance companies charge higher premiums.
  • Where you live: Drivers who live in rural Quebec, where there are typically fewer cars on the roads, pay less than drivers who live in the provinces urban centres like Montreal, Quebec City, Laval and Gatineau.

Do I need winter tires in Quebec?

Yes, cars registered in Quebec are legally required to install winter tires from December to mid-March, every year. If you get caught driving without winter tires during this winter period, you will face a fine of $200-$300.

How can I get cheap car insurance in Quebec?

Follow these tips for maximum savings:

Practice defensive driving and don’t speed. A clean driving record is the easiest way to get the cheapest rates.

Increase your deductible, the amount you are able to pay in the event of a claim, in exchange for a lower premium.

Bundle insurance policies. Many insurance companies offer a discount if you purchase both your auto and home insurance with them.

Facts and statistics about Quebec auto insurance

Average auto insurance premiums by province
On average, Quebec drivers pay the lowest car insurance premiums in Canada.

Province Average Annual Premium Annual Monthly Premium
British Columbia $                                 1,832.00 $                                    152.67
Ontario $                                 1,505.00 $                                    125.42
Alberta $                                 1,316.00 $                                    109.67
Newfoundland and Labrador $                                 1,168.00 $                                      97.33
Saskatchewan $                                 1,235.00 $                                    102.92
Manitoba $                                 1,080.00 $                                      90.00
Nova Scotia $                                    891.00 $                                      74.25
New Brunswick $                                    867.00 $                                      72.25
Prince Edward Island $                                    816.00 $                                      68.00
Quebec $                                    717.00 $                                      59.75

Historical average premiums in Quebec

While Quebec’s average premiums have been creeping up in recent years, they have remained remarkably stable over the last decade.

Year Average premium Changes (year over year)
2008 $707 Unavailable
2009 $715 1.13%
2010 $720 0.70%
2011 $712 -1.11%
2012 $712 0.00%
2013 $716 0.56%
2014 $717 0.14%
2015 $716 -0.14%
2016 $661 -7.68%
2017 $685 3.63%
2018 $717 4.67%

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