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Driving is inherently risky. Even if you’re a careful driver, you can never rule out the possibility you’ll be involved in an accident. That’s why you need to be prepared for the off-chance you cause an accident that results in property damage or injuries. Third-party liability insurance prevents you from paying for the damage out-of-pocket and is the only type of car insurance that’s mandatory across Canada.

Your third-party liability car insurance questions, answered.

What does third-party liability car insurance cover?

Third-party liability insurance kicks in if you’re found responsible for damage to a person’s property, injuries, or death. To get even more granular, third-party liability insurance covers:

  • The cost of repairs to any vehicles damaged in an accident for which you’re determined to be at fault.
  • Any repairs to property you damaged during the accident.
  • Any associated medical costs because of the accident.
  • Lawsuits and legal fees.
  • Damages to any injured parties as a result of legal judgements against you.
  • You cause death during an accident and are sued by the family.

If you own a car, the law states you must purchase third-party liability insurance. This is the minimum amount of insurance you’re allowed to have if you own a vehicle in Canada.

What else is covered under third-party liability auto insurance?

You may think you’ll only need to use your third-party liability insurance if you’re involved in a car accident — but it actually offers coverage in many other scenarios, including if you:

  • Knock over a pole or part of your neighbour’s fence while reversing.
  • Hit a cyclist or pedestrian and you get sued for damages including medical fees.
  • Lose control of your car in bad weather, hit something and damage property.
  • Get sued by a passenger in your car.

How much third-party liability auto insurance do I need?

The minimum recommended amount is $200,000 but you may want to consider buying a larger policy if you know you’re at a greater risk for damage and injury, and especially if any of the following apply to you:

  • You carpool and frequently drive with others in the vehicle.
  • You drive your vehicle for work.
  • You drive in the United States frequently.
  • You drive in a higher risk location (more traffic, cars, higher accident rates).

Damages to property and person, plus repair costs, medical and legal fees will add up and are can end up costing way more than $200,000.

In other words, if you only have coverage for $200,000 and you’re sued for $1-million, you’ll have to pay the remaining $800,000 out of pocket.

Insurance experts recommend buying a policy worth $500,000 to $1-million.

How much do third-party liability car insurance premiums cost?

The cost of premiums depends on the make and model of your car, the province you live in, and the cash value of your auto insurance policy. Apply for a quote to see how much you could pay.

Where can I buy third-party auto insurance in my province?

Third-party liability auto insurance is mandatory for drivers in Canada. In some provinces, third-party liability car insurance is available by the government, while in others it’s provided by private insurance companies.

British Columbia

In British Columbia, most registered vehicles must be covered by the Insurance Corporation of British Columbia (ICBC), which was formed by the NDP in 1973 as a non-profit provincial crown corporation.

The coverage provided by ICBC is the basic level of coverage with $200,000 in third-party liability insurance.

Non-mandatory additional coverages — like fire, theft, and collision coverage — are available from private insurers. If you own a vehicle that is valued at more than $150,000, ICBC won’t provide coverage.

Private auto insurance providers in British Columbia:

  • Intact Insurance
  • Reliance Insurance
  • Belair Direct
  • Desjardins Insurance

Saskatchewan

Saskatchewan uses a system similar to B.C.’s.

When you register a vehicle with Saskatchewan’s driver licensing and vehicle registration, you pay a flat fee and that provides a basic insurance package on your plates. Insurance is provided by Saskatchewan Government Insurance (SGI).

Third-party liability insurance in Saskatchewan covers damages to your vehicle caused by another vehicle, property or injury to persons, but the benefit is quite small: less than $1,000.

Drivers are recommended to buy extra coverage from private insurers.

Private auto insurance providers in Saskatchewan:

  • Aviva
  • AGI Insurance
  • The Co-operators

Manitoba

Manitoba offers basic third-party liability insurance with coverage up to $200,000 via Manitoba Public Insurance.

Alberta

Unlike B.C., Saskatchewan and Manitoba, Alberta drivers purchase their insurance from private providers.

Private auto insurance providers in Alberta:

  • Aviva Insurance
  • Wawanesa Mutual Insurance
  • Desjardins Insurance
  • Security National Insurance Company
  • TD Insurance

Ontario

If you’re a licensed Ontario driver, you have to buy third-party liability auto insurance from private insurance companies.

Private auto insurance providers in Ontario:

  • The Co-operators
  • Belair Direct
  • Travelers
  • RBC Insurance
  • Desjardins
  • Aviva
  • TD Insurance

Quebec

Quebec has public auto insurance that covers Quebecers both in and out of the province. Tourists in the province are also covered to an extent. Injuries are covered by the public plan via the Régime d’assurance automobile du Québec (SAAQ) as no-fault but you may choose to buy additional coverage from private insurers for other forms of damage.

Private auto insurance providers in Quebec:

  • The Co-operators
  • Desjardins
  • TD Insurance
  • La Capitale
  • Intact Insurance

Atlantic Canada

Drivers in the Atlantic provinces purchase auto insurance from private insurance companies. The minimum benefit drivers must have is $200,000, but they can choose to buy more.

Insurers in Atlantic Canada:

  • The Co-operators
  • RBC Insurance
  • Aviva
  • Intact Insurance

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