You finally got your driver’s licence - what freedom! But road accidents can happen quickly. So it’s important to have the right insurance before you put the key in the ignition for the first time.
Your Licence Comes With Insurance
In Quebec, you must have a driver’s licence before you can drive. A large part of the cost of your licence and your licence plates is your contribution to the public insurance plan run by the Société de l’assurance automobile du Québec (SAAQ).
The public insurance plan covers injuries suffered in a car accident by drivers, passengers, pedestrians, cyclists and others.
This insurance covers you whether you were at fault for the accident.
Example: You hit a post while driving your parents’ car. You break your arm and miss a few days’ work. The SAAQ will pay you for lost wages, medical expenses that are not covered by another plan, and maybe even for the pain you suffered.
The plan run by the SAAQ doesn’t cover property damage in case of an accident. Examples of property damage are a broken car fender and damage to your neighbour’s fence. So it’s a good idea to have private insurance.
Driving Your Own Car
If you own a car, you must have liability insurance, often called “one-way insurance.” This insurance covers damage you cause to others. It also covers you when driving someone else’s car.
If you get caught driving without liability insurance, your licence can be suspended and you might have to pay a heavy fine.
You can also get insurance to cover you if your own car is damaged or stolen. This is often called “two-way insurance” and is optional.
Driving Your Parents’ Car
Your parents can include you in their insurance if you regularly drive their car. Your parents’ insurance will cover the damage in case of an accident. But if they don’t include you in their insurance, the insurance company can refuse to pay for all or part of the damage.
Driving a Friend’s Car
A driver’s licence gives you the right to drive a car. Your friend, as owner of a car, is responsible for the damage if you have an accident. But if your friend doesn’t have insurance, or your friend’s insurance doesn’t cover all the damage, you will be responsible. If you have insurance, it might cover the damage. But if you don’t have insurance, the accident might end up costing you a lot of money.
This article explains in a general way the law that applies in Quebec. This article is not a legal opinion or legal advice. To find out the specific rules for your situation, consult a lawyer or notary.