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How car insurance coverage works in Nova Scotia

Nova Scotia car insurance is mandatory and provided by private insurance companies and brokerages. If a high-risk driver can’t access car insurance, they would turn to the Facility Association. The Facility Association is funded by insurance companies in NS and operates as the insurer of last resort. Nova Scotia’s mandatory coverage includes $200,000 in third-party liability insurance, which protects a driver in the event they cause injury or death to a third party. Accident benefits and uninsured automobile coverage are also mandatory. It’s recommended you speak to your private insurer about additional coverage options, such as collision and comprehensive.

Here is an overview of the available car insurance coverages in Nova Scotia:

Coverage Description
Public Insurance

Basic auto insurance coverage provided by the Provincial government. This generally includes liability, accident benefits and uninsured motorist coverage.

Available: No
Required: No

Private Insurance

Auto insurance policies created & sold by private insurance carriers. Though these carriers must still abide by Federal and Provincial regulations.

Available: Yes
Required: Yes

No-fault insurance

Having no-fault insurance doesn’t mean you can’t be found at fault. This coverage means you must first deal with your own insurance company for all claims, whether you’re at fault or not. But, Nova Scotia will allow a no-fault driver to sue an at-fault driver for additional damages and costs that are not covered by their accident benefits.

Available: Yes
Required: Yes

Third-party Liability Insurance

Protects against damage caused by you while driving, and includes injury and death to others and property damage. This is the only insurance coverage that is mandatory across Canada. Minimum coverage for Nova Scotia is $500,000.

Available: Yes
Required: Yes

Accident Benefits

Covers your medical benefits if you’re injured in a crash, whether you’re at fault or not. The coverage includes your medical costs, while also paying for additional recovery costs, such as rehab, income replacement, and payment for and attendant care, if needed.

Available: Yes
Required: Yes

Direct Compensation-Property Damage (DCPD)

Covers damage to your vehicle and its contents, and for the loss of use of your vehicle when damaged – if another person was at fault. This coverage only applies if the crash occurs in a province where DCPD is mandatory, if two or more insured vehicles are involved, and if both insurers are licensed within that DCPD province.

Available: Yes
Required: Yes

Uninsured Motorist

Uninsured motorist coverage protects against injuries you and your family members sustain in a crash caused by an uninsured motorist. It can also cover your vehicle damages, if the uninsured driver is able to be identified.

Available: Yes
Required: Yes

Collision Insurance

Protects against damages sustained in a collision. This insurance covers you if your car is damaged in a crash – in both cases whether you crash into another other car or whether you crash into a stationary object.

Available: Yes
Required: No

Comprehensive Insurance

Protects against any losses a car owner may suffer, from events not related to driving. Such losses could include theft or damage from attempted theft; vandalism; environmental damage to a car from floods, fallen trees, and hail, etc.

Available: Yes
Required: No

Specified Perils

Covers your financial losses for damage caused specific perils – but only for perils chosen specifically for your policy. Available coverages are for theft; fire; damage from hail, lightning, wind, or flooding; earthquakes; explosions; riots; aircraft crash damage; and damage sustained during any transportation relocation.

Available: Yes
Required: No

All Perils

This combines the coverages you get with collision and comprehensive insurance. Additionally, all-perils also covers you if an employee, or someone who drives or services your car, steals it. It also covers you if someone you live with steals your vehicle.

Available: Yes
Required: No

Emergency roadside assistance

This service covers you for roadside callouts for emergencies such as dead batteries, towing, flat tires, keys locked in your car, empty gas tank, etcetera. Many insurance companies offer roadside assistance either included or in addition to other coverages.

Available: Yes
Required: No

*Table information sourced from (2017)

Historical Nova Scotia auto insurance rates

The car insurance rates are approved by the Nova Scotia Insurance Board (NSIB). NSIB ensures all Nova Scotia drivers’ auto insurance rates are fair and reasonable. Even though drivers in Nova Scotia pay some of the lowest car insurance rates in Canada, it still makes sense to compare car insurance quotes to make sure you’re getting the best deal. Informed consumers help to keep rates competitive and as a citizen of Nova Scotia, it is encouraged to compare, consult, and select your coverage by getting auto insurance quotes. Competition often leads to both better rates and service from auto insurers. Reforms in car insurance have led to Nova Scotia’s “First Chance Discount”, offering new drivers’ credit for three years of driving experience and increasing to six if the new driver successfully completed a driver education course. This action alone led to significant reductions in car insurance premiums.

Factors that impact your Nova Scotia car insurance rates

To find the best car insurance rate in Nova Scotia, it pays to shop around. Yes, an insurance application is pretty standard. It asks the same questions to determine your rate, but you’ll find that insurance rates can vary between providers. The variance is due to a few factors like who the insurance provider presently insures, the number of active claims on their current financial statements, and their overall tolerance for risk. There are several other factors out of your control that can have a negative impact on an insurance rate calculation. Historically, the frequency of claims decreases with age for both men and women, so older, more experienced drivers are often rewarded with cheaper premiums. The average premium in a given area is the result of claims frequency and the average cost per claim.

Here are 7 factors that determine your car insurance premium.

How to get cheap car insurance in Nova Scotia?

Shop and compare

The government of Nova Scotia wants you to shop around because it helps all Nova Scotia citizens pay less for car insurance. At, we generate car insurance quotes using our car insurance calculator from Canada’s top providers all from one easy-to-use form. Research which car insurance company provides the best value for you and your car. In Nova Scotia, rates change often, but lucky for you shopping for rates with us is free.

Stay with your current insurer

Some auto insurance companies will give loyalty discounts to drivers who remain active with them for years. Especially if they add family members or multiple vehicles to their policy.

Bundle Your Policies

If you use the same insurance company for both your home and auto insurance needs, your insurer will often thank you with a dip in premiums.

Get a multi car discount

If you have multiple drivers and vehicles in the same household, by putting them all on one policy can save you money. The model of car you drive, its safety rating, its price, the amount of times it gets stolen – all affect your automobile premium. Nova Scotia uses the CLEAR table, a national project looking at all vehicles and the number of claims incurred with each. You can use it to pick the car with the cheapest auto insurance rate

Research your vehicle

The model of car you drive, its safety rating, its price, the amount of times it gets stolen – all affect your automobile premium. Nova Scotia uses the CLEAR table, a national project looking at all vehicles and the number of claims incurred with each. You can use it to pick the car with the cheapest auto insurance rate

Increase your deductible

Your deductible is the portion you pay when settling a claim before your insurer will pay the rest. If you’re willing to double your deductible, it could save you money.

Ask about discounts

If you’re a member of CAA-Atlantic, a large corporation, union, or a member of your school alumni, you could get cheaper car insurance

Pay premiums annually, instead of monthly

Paying monthly adds administrative costs to your insurer, so if you’re able to pay in full annually you can lower your premiums.

Maintain a good driving record

If you’re a safe driver, obey the rules of the road and drive according to road conditions you can reduce your chances of an accident. Car crashes stay on your insurance record for up to ten years and can result in higher premiums.

Install winter tires and an anti-theft device

You can save up to 5% simply by adding winter tires to your car. With winter driving conditions being so treacherous throughout Nova Scotia it pays to be safe! Adding an anti-theft device could also save money.

Keep track of your driving

You can even install a telematics device to collect driving data. With user-based insurance (UBI) you can earn discounts based on not driving far or often, and on advanced stats like how carefully you brake and accelerate.

Take a course

If you’re new to driving, a driver’s education course will save money. Your car insurance provider will think of you as a safer driver if you’ve been trained by professionals.

How to get an Nova Scotia driver's licence

Nova Scotia uses a graduated license program (GLP). This system requires each driver to progress through a 3-step educational program in order to be considered a fully licenced driver. Once you’ve successfully completed the program, you can legally operate a car as a class 5 driver throughout the province of Nova Scotia and beyond. To drive a truck, bus, ambulance or taxi requires a different license class.

Let’s take a quick look at graduated license program approach:

Class 7 learner's licence (or level one) eligibility criteria:

  • You need to be at least 16 years of age

  • Have the consent of your parents, or legal guardian, if you are under 18

  • Present three official pieces of ID (one with photo) from this list

  • Pass a written test about the rules of the road

  • Pass a vision test

  • Pass a road test

  • Pay the associated written test fees

  • Must be accompanied by an eligible Class 5 licenced driver

  • Can’t consume alcohol and drive

  • Can't drive between midnight and 5am

Class 7 learner's licence (or level two) eligibility criteria:

  • Successfully hold level one for 12 months (or 8 months with a driver’s education course)

  • Book and pass your level two road test

  • Pay an administrative fee for the road test

  • You can drive between midnight and 5 a.m. if accompanied by an experienced driver

  • Can’t consume alcohol and drive

  • No more than 3 passengers

Class 5 regular licence (or full license) eligibility criteria:

  • Hold level 1 license for 12 months

  • Hold level 2 license for 12 months

Frequently Asked Questions about Nova Scotia auto insurance

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