Minimum liability for auto insurance by province

By HUB SmartCoverage Team on July 31st, 2017

For drivers in every single Canadian province, auto insurance is a mandatory expense. That reality is non-negotiable.


However, that doesn't mean drivers in every province are required to pay the exact same minimum amounts for their coverage. In that respect, provinces have a fair bit of autonomy (pun sort of intended).


One thing that every province insists on drivers paying for, though, is liability. Also referred to as third-party liability, the term essentially denotes coverage after an accident for damage resulting to someone other than the policy holder.


Because a faultless victim shouldn't be expected to pay for his or her own treatment and repairs—not to mention loss of income resulting from injury—liability typically represents the largest mandatory auto insurance expense that exists for drivers.


While most provinces have adopted relatively similar standards for this facet of auto insurance, there are some notable exceptions. Let's take a look at them.


The norm


Despite representing a mixed bag of auto insurance systems that includes both private and public models, these eight provinces have all adopted an identical benchmark of $200,000 for minimum liability coverage:


  • British Columbia
  • Alberta
  • Saskatchewan
  • Manitoba
  • Ontario
  • New Brunswick
  • Newfoundland
  • Prince Edward Island


Exception #1: Quebec


As you may have inferred from the omissions in the previous sub-sections, Quebec has a slightly different benchmark for minimum liability coverage. Before getting into what that is though, it's important to understand how Quebec's unique auto insurance model works.


In Quebec, drivers must purchase a minimum amount of civil liability insurance from the public corporation Société de l'assurance automobile Quebec (SAAQ). That mandatory benchmark is $50,000. Most drivers, however, also purchase additional coverage from private insurers for all the other things that auto insurance can entail.


Exception #2: Nova Scotia


Rather than follow the Quebec path of requiring less on mandatory liability coverage than the other provinces, Nova Scotia goes the other way and demands more. It's minimum is $500,000. According to the second edition of a government document called A Consumer's Auto Insurance Guide, though, most Nova Scotians carry at least $1,000,000 in liability

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