Interpreting Your Motor Vehicle Insurance Policy

Nova Scotia uses standard form motor vehicle insurance policies. Each policy generally has four sections: A, B, C, and D.


Section A is third party liability insurance. This covers you or anyone driving your vehicle with your permission for any liability for loss or damages that occur as a result. In Nova Scotia, an insured driver is required by s.125 (1) of the Insurance Act to carry a minimum of $500,000.00 in third party liability insurance. Many people carry between $1,000.000.00 – $2,000,000.00 in coverage, and the cost to increase these limits is usually quite reasonable. In the event you are found liable for a claim which exceeds your Section A policy limit, you will be  personally liable to pay any remaining balance after your insurer’s limit has been exhausted.


Section B is your accident benefits coverage. Benefits are paid regardless of who is at fault for the accident. To be eligible for Section B benefits, an injured person must provide the insurance company with notice of the accident within 30 days and file a proof of claim within 90 days.  Section B insurance covers things such as medical treatments, loss of employment income, and other expenses in certain circumstances. For example:

  • Section B will cover medical expenses up to $50,000.00 or for 4 years, whichever comes first.  
  • Section B will cover 80% of your net income loss up to a maximum of $250.00 per week if you were employed for 6 months out of the previous 12 months before the accident or are seasonally employed, and you are unable to perform the essential duties of your job for more than 7 days as a result, and your loss of income occurs within 30 days of the accident. After two years, you must be unable to do any job to continue receiving Section B loss of income benefits.
  • Section B will cover Housekeeping Expenses up to a maximum of $100.00 per week for 17 weeks if you are a principal unpaid housekeeper and are unable to perform the duties of a housekeeper.
  • Section B also provides limited death benefits as a result of the death of the head of the household, the spouse of the head of the household, or a dependant, as well as some funeral expenses.  


Section C is coverage for damage to your own vehicle. Section C insurance is not mandatory. The majority of policies require a deductible for any damages paid out under this section. Section C covers repairs to your vehicle or its actual cash value if the vehicle is rendered a total constructive loss. It may also provide coverage for fire or theft of the insured vehicle.


Section D is uninsured or unidentified driver coverage. If you suffer damages as a result of an unidentified or uninsured driver, and you have coverage on your own vehicle or are the spouse or dependant of someone in your household who has insurance, you can seek recovery through Section D. This is only available if you cannot bring a third-party claim. While the minimum amount of coverage required in Nova Scotia is $500,000.00, if you are injured in another jurisdiction, your insurer is not obligated to pay more than the minimum amount of coverage required in that jurisdiction. As an insured driver, you are not considered “at fault” for making a Section D claim.


In Nova Scotia, an insured driver also has the option of purchasing what is known as Standard Endorsement Form 44 [“SEF 44”] coverage, also known as a Family Protection Endorsement. If you or any member of your family are injured in a motor vehicle accident due to the fault of another driver and your damages are more than the other driver’s Section A coverage, your SEF 44 coverage will cover the difference up to your policy limit. Also, if you are injured by an unidentified or uninsured driver and your damages are more than the minimum Section D limits, your SEF 44 coverage will cover the difference. Usually, SEF 44 coverage is automatically added to your motor vehicle insurance policy if you carry more than the minimum required coverage of $500,000.00, but you should check with your broker to be sure.

Sampson McPhee has prepared this publication to provide legal information of a general nature. It is not intended to provide legal advice. If you have any questions or concerns one of our lawyers will be happy to assist you. You can reach us by calling 902 539 2425.