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Matt Hands, VP, Insurance and MoneySense
The Quebec government is stepping up to help public deal with the fallout from the issues within the province’s automobile insurance board - Société de l’Assurance Automobile du Québec (SAAQ).
Drivers are facing long lines and lengthy wait times for SAAQ services after a recent attempted rollout of their new online services site experienced significant delays. The new digital platform was supposed to be live by February 20, but is still not fully functional.
Due to the digital issues some services were unavailable to Quebec drivers, such as:
- Learner permit applications for novice drivers
- Certificates for winter tire exemptions issued by auto insurance board
The expectation is that the online issues will be resolved by April, but in the meantime the government is offering the following support measures:
- Extending the validity of drivers’ licences set to expire between March 9 and June 1. This means licence holders will have 90 additional days from their birthdate to make the payment.
- Extending vehicle registration certificates issued between March 9 and April 8. Those registrations will now be valid for 60 days, instead of 10.
- Extending the validity of international drivers’ licences until Aug. 29, so newcomers to Quebec don’t have to apply for a licence immediately.
- Hired 150 additional workers and prolonged operating hours at some SAAQ service outlets to alleviate the lines.
Remember it is a requirement for all drivers in Quebec to have insurance in order to legally drive a car.
Since 1978, Quebec car insurance has been a hybrid system. The two components of the mandated system are public (section A) and private (section B). To put it simply, the public, or government run coverage protects against bodily injury, whereas private insurers cover any property damage
Section A - public insurance
The public policy is administered by the Société de l'Assurance Automobile du Québec (SAAQ). SAAQ ensures all Quebec drivers are covered for injury or death resulting from a car crash regardless of who is at fault.
No-fault insurance in Québec is part of the basic plan. Any Quebecers who get into an accident in Quebec are covered by the plan, regardless of whether or not they are responsible for the accident. No Quebec driver, or company, can sue against the person responsible for the traffic accident.
However, if you plan on driving outside Quebec, call your insurance provider to adjust coverage accordingly. SAAQ will do their best to bring you back to Quebec to recover.
The public coverage receives contributions from the automobile insurance fund to compensate accident victims. The contributions are collected from licensing and vehicle registration payments.
Section B - private insurance (required coverage)
Private insurance companies in Quebec are responsible to enforce the following property damage coverages. Their full definitions are further down the page.
- Third-party liability - if you damage someone else's property
- Uninsured Motorist Protection - to cover you in case the other driver has no insurance
- Direct Compensation Property Damage - if you're not at-fault, the government can repair your car ($10,000 limit)
Optional car insurance in Quebec
You have the option to add to your Quebec auto insurance coverage to enhance your policy. The following are some common add-ons.
- Collision - protects your car if you're at fault in a collision
- Comprehensive - protects your car while it's parked from vandalism or inclement weather.
- All perils - Collision, comprehensive, and if a person known to you steals your car
- Specified perils - You can specify against a specific risk such as flood or lightning
Québec insurance endorsements
You can also modify your existing coverage using Quebec Endorsement Forms (QEF). Here are some popular options.
- QEF 5c - extends coverage for a leased vehicle, no longer than 30 days.
- QEF 16 - Suspension of coverage during vehicle storage
- QEF 17 - reinstatement of coverage after vehicle storage
- QEF 44 - Allows you to carry your existing coverage into other specified countries
You can find a list of all the forms at the Autorité des marchés financiers (AMF) , an organization responsible for financial regulation in the Canadian province of Québec
Even though drivers in Quebec pay the lowest for car insurance in Canada, it still makes sense to compare car insurance quotes to make sure you’re getting the best deal. More recently insurance rates in Quebec have started to rise after years of decline – up 2% per year since 2009.
The average premium in a specific region will increase as the claims in that region go up. Montreal car insurance makes up 15% of claims submitted by Quebec drivers, and, as a result, Montrealers pay some of the highest auto premiums in Quebec. At $426 annually, Bas St-Laurent takes the award for the lowest car insurance premium in la belle province.
The historical rate changes shown below are based on all the drivers insured each year by every company in Quebec. In order for an insurer to be approved for a rate change, as required by law, the proposed rates must be just and reasonable, not excessive, and not going to impair a company’s financial solvency. Insurers will submit their proposed changes to the government for approval along with supporting actuarial data.
Note: The premiums are for private passenger vehicles and includes coverage for material damage only.
Direct Compensation Property Damage (DCPD)
Emergency roadside assistance
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How to get cheap car insurance in Quebec
Shop and compare
Research which company provides cheap car insurance in Quebec, and also the best value for you and your vehicle. Rates may change up to four times a year, but lucky for you comparing car insurance quotes with us is free.
Stay with your current insurer
Some Quebec car 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.
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 a large corporation, union, or a school alumnus, it could help you get cheaper Quebec 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
You can save up to 3-5% simply by adding winter tires to your car.
Since July 1997, Quebec has used a graduated licensing system (GLS). 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 GLS, you can legally operate a car, a motorhome, a tool vehicle, a service vehicle, a moped/motorized scooter, a tractor, and a 3-wheel T-Rex or Slingshot. Let’s take a quick look at this phased approach:
Class 5 learner's licence (or level one) eligibility criteria:
Class 5 probationary licence (or level two) eligibility criteria:
Class 5 regular licence (or level three) eligibility criteria:
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Matt Hands, Business Director of Insurance
With 6+ years of experience at Ratehub.ca, Matt’s focus has been on growing its newest business unit, Insurance. He is a thought leader and a valuable resource to respected publications across Canada. read full bio
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