Auto Insurance 101: Quebec
Woman sitting in car driver's seat

Canada has a few ways of providing auto insurance. In some provinces, it’s sold through private insurers. In others, it’s available from crown corporations. Quebec has a unique system. Here, government and private insurers supply auto insurance.

Did you know? A crown corporation is a business owned by federal or provincial governments. They’re structured to be like private companies. Many industries have a crown corporation such as transit and postal services.

We’ve got the lowdown on Quebec’s auto insurance and how you’re covered. Whether you’re a Quebec resident, or just visiting.

What’s the backstory?

Since 1978, Quebec has had a “dual” insurance system. The government and private insurers supply separate coverage that’s required to be insured. The SAAQ (Société d’assurance automobile du Québec) is the crown corporation that offers insurance in Quebec.

I’m insured in Quebec. How am I covered?

Here’s the coverage provided by the SAAQ and private insurers:

Government (SAAQ)

Mandatory coverage:

Bodily injury: You’re covered for injuries after an auto accident, no matter who’s at-fault. In some cases, non-residents are covered if the accident happened in Quebec.

In special situations, the SAAQ covers physical damage. An example is if a hit and run caused damage to your property. The SAAQ may pay up to $10,000 in claims, plus interest and legal fees.

Optional coverage:

The SAAQ only provides mandatory coverage.

Did you know? The SAAQ will cover you worldwide. Imagine you’ve had a car accident on vacation. Worst case could be a lengthy hospital stay or being stuck in a difficult situation. Not a fun thought. The good news is the SAAQ will do everything it can to bring you back to Quebec (if your health allows it).

Private insurers

Mandatory coverage:

Civil Liability: Financial coverage for damage to someone’s property due to an accident. Quebec requires at least $50,000 civil liability coverage, though it’s wise to increase this to at least $1million. Costs can easily add up.

Bodily injury to others is covered in cases the SAAQ doesn’t cover.

Optional coverage:

Loss of or Damage to the Insured Automobile: You’re covered for damage to your own vehicle. There are different amounts of coverage:

  • All Perils
  • Collision or Upset
  • Comprehensive
  • Specified Perils

Want to know more? Check out the details of perils coverage.

Did you know? Most private insurers offer extra bodily injury coverage. It’s worth looking into. You’d be able to claim more, on top of the SAAQ limits. Check the limits to see if the extra protection merits a little more premium.

What’s the claims process like?

Quebec auto insurers use the “Direct Compensation Agreement”. You always claim through your own insurer for damage to your vehicle. To figure the claim payout, Quebec uses the “Driver’s Fault Chart”. This determines the amount each driver was at-fault. Civil Liability covers you for the percent you aren’t at-fault. If you’re at-fault and have Collision or All Perils, you’re covered for the rest. You’ll likely pay a deductible though.

Anything else I should know as a Quebec resident?

Quebec banned lawsuits for bodily injury caused by an auto accident.

  • You can’t sue if an accident is in Quebec and you’re covered by the SAAQ.
  • If the accident is outside of Quebec, you can sue the third party for damages beyond SAAQ limits.
  • A third party could sue if you’re in an accident outside of Quebec. Civil Liability will protect you.

Just visiting Quebec? Here’s how you’re covered if you’re in an accident.

There are two scenarios:

  • Travelling in a Quebec registered vehicle. You’re entitled to SAAQ payments.
  • Not travelling in a Quebec registered vehicle. You’re entitled to the percentage you’re not at-fault for the accident. (E.g. if you were 25% at-fault, you’d be entitled to 75% of the claim).

Are you insured in Alberta, Manitoba or Ontario?

Your own insurer will provide the same claim payment instead of the SAAQ, regardless of fault.

Coverage your car’s always wanted at a competitive price.