Auto Insurance: Mandatory If You Drive
Auto insurance is required by law everywhere in Canada. It covers the owner and driver of a vehicle, as well as any passengers, pedestrians, and property involved in a vehicle accident.
Here in Quebec, residents who are hurt in an accident are covered through the public insurance plan administered by Société d’assurance automobile du Québec (SAAQ), whether the accident occurs in Quebec or elsewhere. “An insurance amount is included when people pay for their drivers’ license,” says Ms. Phémius.
Vehicle damage and civil liability are covered by private insurers. The mandatory minimum for civil liability insurance is $50,000, but drivers can choose to increase that amount. “We recommend one to two million dollars in civil liability insurance,” says Caroline Phémius. That way, if you hurt someone else or are driving in the United States or another part of Canada, you’ll be better protected.”
Different Province, Different Rules
The rules that govern auto insurance are different in each province. Ontario, for example, doesn’t have public auto insurance; physical injuries and property damage are both covered by private insurance companies. In British Columbia, on the other hand, both types of damage are covered by a public insurance corporation.
Home Insurance: Always a Good Idea
Even though for renters it isn’t required by law, some landlords require their tenants to carry home insurance. It’s a highly recommended form of coverage. For owners, anyone with a mortgage is usually required by their creditor to take out home insurance.
“In addition to protecting your goods and property, home insurance covers civil liability in case you’re held responsible for any involuntary damage or injury to anyone else. An example would be an accidental fire in your kitchen that causes significant damage to your neighbour’s apartment or even the whole building, or a guest who’s injured in your home,” explains Caroline Phémius. “If your front steps weren’t properly cleared of snow and someone were to slip and break their arm, they could take you to court. In that case, your insurer would handle your defence and pay the legal fees.
What can be covered by home insurance? Fire, theft, and vandalism, for starters, but also damage caused by high winds, hail, lightning, an explosion, or smoke, as well as leaky or overflowing water or sewage lines.
You can add additional riders to your insurance contract if you need extra coverage. “For someone living in a basement suite or on the ground floor, a rider that covers sewer backups can be a very good idea,” says Caroline Phémius. “There are also riders for water damage that occurs above ground, either through the roof or the windows.”