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Nova Scotia isn't an island, but the spirit of the Atlantic is alive and well in this picturesque Maritime province. Drivers in Nova Scotia get the best of many worlds: they can cruise along the stunning Atlantic coast or carve through the bustling streets of downtown Halifax. They also pay some of the cheapest auto insurance premiums in the country, thanks to the government's 2003 car insurance reforms.

Despite these cost-cutting measures, Nova Scotians can always save more money on their auto insurance. With, Nova Scotia drivers can compare insurers and rates online to find the best policy available. But before you get started, get informed. Learn about the ins and outs of auto insurance in your province and keep the information below in mind while you shop around.

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What you need to know about auto insurance in Nova Scotia.

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Who sets auto insurance rates in Nova Scotia?

In Nova Scotia, auto insurance rates are set by individual insurers and then reviewed and approved by The Office of the Superintendent of Insurance, the organization that enforces the Insurance Act.

The Nova Scotia Insurance Review Board also regulates auto insurance, monitoring rates across the province. If an insurer wants to increase its rates or change its rules, it must apply to the Board. It's the NSIRB's job to protect the public's interest at all times and to ensure that auto insurance rates in the province are fair and reasonable.

What factors determine auto insurance rates in Nova Scotia?

Nova Scotia insurers use a variety of factors to set auto insurance rates:

  • Gender
  • Where you live
  • Deductible amount
  • Value of your vehicle
  • How you use your vehicle
  • How far you drive each day
  • Who else is driving the vehicle
  • The type of coverage you chose
  • Driving record and accident claim history of all drivers
  • Type of vehicle, including theft rating for that vehicle type

As of November 2014, Nova Scotia insurers stopped using age and marital status to determine drivers' risk classifications. Removing gender as a rating factor was reviewed, but ultimately denied in the 2011 reforms.

How do Nova Scotia auto insurance rates compare to other provinces?

Nova Scotia auto insurance premiums are the 4th lowest in the country, behind New Brunswick, Prince Edward Island, and Quebec.

Average auto insurance rates by province

ProvinceAverage Rates
British Columbia$1,832
Newfoundland & Labrador$1,168
Northwest Territories$978*
Nova Scotia$891
New Brunswick$867
Prince Edward Island$816

Source: Insurance Bureau of Canada, 2020, "BC - Better Auto Insurance."

*Source: Insurance Bureau of Canada, 2017

Why are insurance rates so low in Nova Scotia?

Auto insurance rates in Nova Scotia are among the lowest in the country, thanks, largely, to the government reforms from 2003. These auto insurance reforms have helped reduce rates by 27% across the province. The average policy in 2003 was $1,069, compared to an average of $783 in 2015. The reforms gave drivers a wider range of auto insurance choices and now there are more than 60 private insurance companies they can choose from.

How can I get cheap auto insurance in Nova Scotia?

There are many ways to get cheap car insurance in Nova Scotia:

  • Always pay your premiums on time.
  • Choose a vehicle with more safety and security features.
  • Maintain a good driving history.
  • Obey the rules of the road and avoid speeding tickets.
  • Shop around for your policy. can help you find the policy that fits your needs.
  • Inform your insurer of any changes to your policy. Changes can sometimes drop your premium.
  • Understand and choose the right type of insurance coverage — only choose the coverage you need.
  • Take advantage of your insurer's discounts — drivers can get discounts by taking a safety course, and group rates are available through many companies, universities, and professional associations.
  • Opt for a higher deductible. You'll get a lower premium if you agree to contribute more toward the cost of a claim.
  • Know about the vehicle you're buying. Your premium will be higher if you buy a car with a high theft rating.

Is auto insurance required in Nova Scotia?

Yes. The law requires you to carry insurance on your vehicle.

What is the minimum requirement for auto insurance in Nova Scotia?

Nova Scotia residents are required to carry $500,000 in third-party liability insurance on their vehicles. Without the minimum amount of coverage, you can't register your automobile.

You also need uninsured and unidentified insurance, which protects you if you're involved in an accident with an uninsured driver or a driver that can't be identified.

What kind of auto insurance system does Nova Scotia have?

Nova Scotia has a no-fault system: drivers deal with their own insurance companies, regardless of who's at fault.

In addition to vehicle repairs and property damage, what else will my auto insurance policy cover?

If you're in an automobile accident in Nova Scotia, regardless of who's at fault, your coverage provides supplementary benefits:

  • Medical payments: up to $50,000/person.
  • Funeral expense benefits: up to $2,500.
  • Disability income benefits: 80% of gross weekly income; 104 weeks partial disability; lifetime if totally disabled; maximum $250/week; unpaid housekeeper, if completely disabled, $100/week for maximum of 52 weeks.
  • Death benefits: death of head of household $25,000, plus $1,000 to each dependent survivor after first; death of spouse/partner $25,000; death of dependant $5,000.

What are the penalties for driving without insurance in Nova Scotia?

If you're convicted of driving without insurance in Nova Scotia, you'll have to pay a $1000 fine or spend 45 days in jail. That's for your first offence. The fine increases to $2000 or 90 days in jail for a second, and $5000 or 120 days for a third.

And that's not all. Once you're convicted of driving without the minimum auto insurance coverage, you'll also be identified as high risk, and you'll likely face higher auto insurance rates in the future.

What is the minimum legal driving age in Nova Scotia?

You can begin the licensing process when you turn 16.

To earn your learner's licence in Nova Scotia, you have to pass a road theory test and an eye vision test. You can then drive as long as you're accompanied by someone with a fully valid driver's licence. You must stay in this licence level for a minimum of 6 months, or 3 months if you complete a recognized driver education or training program. Drivers with this licence level must maintain a blood alcohol level of 0.

How do I get a newly licensed driver's licence in Nova Scotia?

To get your newly licensed driver's licence, you must pass a road test and a knowledge test. Then you have to drive with this licence for at least 2 years. And there are a couple driving restrictions: you must maintain a BAC of 0, and you can't drive between 12:00 AM and 5:00 AM. If you need to drive during these hours for employment purposes, you can apply for an exemption. Also, drivers with this licence can only have one passenger in the front seat and rear passengers are limited to the number of seat belts. If you're driving between 12:00 AM and 5:00 AM, you can't have any passengers.

How do I get a full licence in Nova Scotia?

After you hold the Class 5N licence for 24 consecutive months with no suspensions, you're eligible to take a driver training program approved by Service Nova Scotia and Municipal Relations. Once you successfully complete this program, you'll be granted your full Nova Scotia driver's licence.

Is usage-based insurance available in Nova Scotia?

Yes. Nova Scotia rolled out usage-based insurance (UBI) policies in early 2016, making it the second province in Atlantic Canada to leverage telematics technology. Now you can get a UBI quote and start lowering your car insurance with responsible driving habits.

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