Insurance is a contract between you and your insurer. This contract protects you against financial losses from specific risks. Different kinds of insurance cover different kinds of losses. When you pay an insurance premium, your money is placed into a pool of money along with other consumers. That pool is then used to reimburse the claims of the few who have the misfortune to have an insurance claim.
In Nova Scotia, private non-government insurance companies provide insurance. They use brokers, agents, and service representatives to sell their insurance policies. They offer different types of insurance, coverage and services, at different prices (rates). Generally insurance companies set rates based on their own business objectives. However, the Province regulates auto insurance rates.
There are many insurance products available. With the exception of auto insurance, the government does not mandate the purchase of insurance. Insurance purchases should be based your specific situation. Shop around to different insurance companies to find the best service and policy for you.
Insurance is a complex product. Insurance jargon can be confusing. Refer to our Insurance Terms page for commonly used insurance terms and their meanings.
To assist small business and non-profit organizations in assessing their insurance needs, we have prepared two easy-to-read guides.
In Nova Scotia, every automobile used on public roadways must be insured. You must have coverage for third party liability, accident benefits, and accidents caused by uninsured and unidentified motorists. You also have the option to purchase additional insurance coverage that would cover loss and damage to your car.
How much you pay for auto insurance will be based on many factors including your gender, driving record, accident claims, where you live and how much you drive. The cost is also based on the specific coverages and deductibles you choose for your policy. If you buy optional coverages, you will pay more.
For more information on auto insurance, see:
Consumer's Auto Insurance Guide (pdf), Large Font Version (pdf) – A detailed guide on how auto insurance works, buying auto insurance, insurance policies, and making a claim.
Legislation Highlights for Consumers (pdf) - Describes rules brought in 2003 covering the minor injury cap, improving fairness and accessibility to insurance.
Role of Government
The Province, through the Office of the Superintendent of Insurance (link: Supt of Insurance page), performs two roles:
- It regulates the insurance industry, and
- It offers assistance to consumers on insurance matters
Anyone involved in the business of selling insurance, such as insurance agents, agencies, adjusters and insurers must be licensed. Licensing ensures that individuals are knowledgeable about the types of insurance they sell.
The Office of the Superintendent of Insurance enforces the Insurance Act. The Act contains provisions designed to protect consumers. Insurance companies must follow certain rules set out in the Act. Insurance companies are also required to pay insurance premiums taxes.
The Nova Scotia Insurance Review Board is a separate board that regulates automobile insurance, and monitors rates and availability of other types of insurance. Insurance companies must apply to the Board to increase auto insurance rates or change its’ rules. The Board reviews applications and issues rulings.
The Superintendent’s Office responds to general enquiries from consumers about insurance. The Superintendent has the power to investigate complaints from consumers about the actions of an insurance agent, broker or adjuster.
Enquiries and ComplaintsIf you have a general question on insurance, you can contact the Superintendent’s Office. The Office can answer questions on: auto, property, commercial, life, accident, sickness and travel insurance.
If you have an enquiry about a specific insurance issue, or a complaint about the actions of an insurance company, agent, broker, or adjuster, first speak to the insurance company. The company should have an Ombudsman to help you.
If you are not satisfied with the company response, you can contact the Superintendent’s Office. We do not settle insurance claims. We can provide assistance in dealing with your enquiry or complaint. To help us respond to your enquiry or complaint quickly, please complete the Enquiry and Complaint Form. Be sure to include all relevant documents.
You also have the option of taking your enquiry or complaint to one of the Ombuds services at: