In Newfoundland and Labrador, auto insurance is available from a wide array of private companies who compete with one another to allow consumers to shop around for a better rate. Newfoundland insurance rates fall among the lower rates in Canada, with the average driver paying $729 per year. By comparing car insurance rates, drivers can find cheaper car insurance and save on their auto insurance premiums.
Auto insurance reform in the province in 2004 helped to bring rates down for drivers by mandating a $2500 deductible on pain and suffering payments, along with other changes. Over time, however, rates have increased. The Provincial Government is currently reviewing the Auto Insurance Act and will be announcing changes in fall 2018.
As in all provinces, Newfoundland and Labrador drivers must carry a legally determined minimum insurance coverage in order to be on the road. These minimum limits ensure that all drivers are financially responsible in the event of an at-fault accident.
The current limits for auto insurance in Newfoundland are:
Newfoundland does not require drivers to carry Accident Benefits coverage, but most drivers choose to purchase this coverage, which includes medical payments, disability coverage, and death benefits coverage. In most provinces, this type of insurance is mandatory. Many Newfoundland drivers also choose to increase their liability coverage to limit financial exposure and risk.
Other optional coverage can also be purchased, including comprehensive and collision coverage to protect your vehicle in an at-fault accident or a non-accident scenario such as theft.
Newfoundland’s private insurance companies determine the rate for each driver based on a combination of factors. Among the top factors that go into determining your rate are your driving record including tickets or at-fault accidents, the value of the car you drive as well as the make and model, and your driving habits including the length of your daily commute.
The 2004 auto insurance reform prevents auto insurance companies from denying coverage or increasing rates solely on the basis of any of these factors:
In Newfoundland, the adjusters for the insurance companies involved in the claim will determine who is at fault. Each insurance company uses its own guidelines to come up with a fault determination.
Newfoundland is unusual in Canada in that it has no type of no-fault benefits. The insurance company for the at-fault driver is responsible for paying out on damages to the other driver’s vehicle as well as for injuries. Accident benefits are not a mandatory coverage in Newfoundland, but are available to drivers who choose to add them to their insurance policy.
The handling of claims is governed by insurance regulations; the 2004 reforms helped to reduce the cost of lawsuits, but drivers can still be sued for pain and suffering.
Newfoundland drivers must follow all of the rules of the road while behind the wheel, including the law requiring mandatory auto insurance. Drivers must prepare to present proof of insurance to law enforcement when pulled over or involved in an accident.
Drivers are required to stop when involved in an accident. A police report must be made if there are injuries or if the damage appears to be in excess of $1000.
Tickets in Newfoundland can affect your auto insurance rates. While insurance companies can each determine what tickets they will charge for and how much the rate increase will be, as a general rule major violations will be more costly than minor ones.
In 2017, the Provincial Government announced plans to launch a comprehensive review of the auto insurance system in Newfoundland and Labrador. Part of the review includes conducting an independent closed claims study and public consultations that will help the Provincial Government understand why auto insurance claims have been increasing in cost.
This independent study is being conducted by the Public Utilities Board (PUB). PUB will submit a report with findings and recommended actions going forward. The Provincial Government will use this report to make changes to the Automobile Insurance Act, expected to come into effect by fall 2018.
“Claims costs and insurance rates have increased steadily since the last review in 2005,” Honourable Perry Trimper, Minister of Service NL, said in a press release. “We have heard the concerns of consumers and stakeholders who are finding it difficult to deal with the rising cost of insurance, so we have asked the Public Utilities Board to undertake this independent review as a way to find solutions that will benefit consumers.”
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Newfoundland drivers can find multiple quotes and policies through brokers and agents, or by contacting the insurance company directly. Going direct is sometimes perceived to be the more economical option, but comparing rates typically provides you with a better range of rates and more savings.
Insurance companies in Newfoundland can determine their own rates for each driver, although they must do so in accordance with the insurance legislation put in place by the government to protect drivers. This is why you see such a wide range of quotes, and also why comparing car insurance quotes represents the best opportunity to save.