What is comprehensive auto insurance?
The name says it all: comprehensive auto insurance covers a wide range of issues that could affect your vehicle — everything except actual collisions, which is why you can’t purchase it without having third-party liability insurance first.
What’s covered by comprehensive auto insurance?
Comprehensive insurance covers a broad range of incidents that could lead to damage to your car including:
- Falling objects
- Natural disasters
- Civil disturbances like riots that lead to damage to your vehicle
- Fire damage
- Broken windows
- Animal damage
What’s not covered by comprehensive auto insurance?
Damage from collisions isn’t covered by comprehensive auto insurance. To cover this, you’ll need to purchase collision insurance. In addition, neither damage to another vehicle due to an accident or medical expenses and any lost income are covered by comprehensive auto insurance.
Is comprehensive car insurance mandatory?
Comprehensive car insurance isn’t mandatory but can be added to your policy, if desired.
Who should buy comprehensive car insurance?
The decision to buy this type of coverage depends on a number of factors. For example, if you live in an area with a high frequency of natural disasters, you may want to consider adding it to your auto insurance policy. However, the general recommendation is that if you can’t afford to replace your car if it gets damaged, you should purchase comprehensive insurance.
How do comprehensive auto insurance claims work?
All claims begin by reporting the accident to your broker. The Financial Services Commission of Ontario says that no matter who’s at fault, the accident should be reported to your broker, insurance agent or insurance company within seven days or as soon as possible. The reason being is that your insurance company may not have to honour your claim if you take too long to report the accident.
When you make your report you should have:
- The make, model, licence plate and registration of your vehicle.
- Details of the accident including the date, time and location of the accident.
- A description and timeline if possible of the accident.
- The damage to the vehicle and the cost if possible.
Don’t worry if you don’t have all the information when you call. Your insurance agent, broker or company will guide you through the process.
Providers of comprehensive car insurance by region.
British Columbia: The Insurance Corporation of British Columbia (ICBC) provides all car insurance.
Alberta: Private market.
Saskatchewan: Saskatchewan Government Insurance (SGI) provides all auto insurance.
Manitoba: Manitoba Public Insurance (MPI) provides all auto insurance.
Ontario: Private market.
Quebec: Semi-private market. You can purchase comprehensive insurance from private insurers.
The auto insurance in the province is no-fault so you are automatically covered by the Société de l’assurance automobile du Québec (SAAQ) for bodily injuries, regardless of who is responsible for the accident. This system was introduced to prevent tie-ups in the province’s civil court system.
However, the Automobile Insurance Act requires drives to purchase third-party liability insurance from private insurers to cover damage sustained from an accident.
Newfoundland and Labrador: Private market.
New Brunswick: Private market.
Prince Edward Island.: Private market.
Yukon: Private market.
Northwest Territories: Private market.
Nunavut: Private market.
Do comprehensive car insurance premiums differ by province?
Not all auto insurance policies are the same across the country. Several factors affect the cost of premiums for comprehensive auto insurance. Private markets may have more competition but that doesn’t mean lower rates because the other factors that affect your premiums include:
Location. Areas with a higher degree of natural disasters may have higher premiums. Think wind storms or gale-force winds on the east coast due to hurricanes or if your area is prone to flooding.
The number of claims in your area. If your area has a high number of claims, your premiums may be higher than in other regions.
Insurance fraud. If your location has a high number of insurance fraud incidents, you could end up paying more for your premiums even if you’re on the right side of the law.