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Auto insurance: What Differences Are There Between France and Quebec?

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The French community in Quebec has been growing steadily for the past ten years, to the point of almost doubling in volume since 2005. Among all the formalities to be expected, many people wonder how car insurance works once they get there. What are the levels of coverage? Are there any minimum deductible amounts? How much insurance is compulsory? To answer these questions, find out the main differences between car insurance in France and in Quebec.

Compulsory and optional insurance

In Quebec, there is a mixed automobile insurance plan. In fact, the procedures are not quite the same as those for buying car insurance in France.

On the one hand, there is the SAAQ – the public insurance plan - which covers bodily injury. You are automatically covered by this insurance as soon as you pay for your driver's permit (see below for more information on this subject).

On the other hand, there is private insurance for property damage, that is to say damage to your car or to other vehicles. In Quebec, it is mandatory to insure your vehicle, at least for civil liability, and for a minimum amount of $50,000.

In France, only "civil liability" coverage is required to drive. It covers all damages caused to third parties, by you and/or with your vehicle.

Other coverages can be taken out optionally depending on the use or possible risks such as breakage, theft or weather events such as hail.

Photo: D.Boshouwers

Steps to obtain a vehicle registration document

In Canada, each province issues its own license plate with a specific design. On this plate, you will find the name of the province and a series of numbers and letters.

Unlike France, where motorists pay only once for their registration (within a month of purchasing the vehicle), Canadians must pay for their registration once a year to keep driving legally.

In France, the car registration remains, in principle, valid "for life", or at least as long as you do not move or change vehicles.

Finally, to apply for a car registration card as a Canadian or Quebec resident, you will automatically have to go to an SAAQ point of service. If you purchase your vehicle from a dealership, the dealership can either do the documentation on site or provide you with a temporary registration certificate to be sent to the SAAQ.

In France, the process is done online only, without the possibility of going to a physical location. Motorists must submit their application on the ANTS government platform.

You now know the main differences between car insurance in France and Quebec. In order to best anticipate your procedures, remember to gather all the documents related to your vehicle and your driver's license. In Quebec, you will be asked to present your French driving record when you insure your vehicle.