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Vehicle Ownership

The decision to purchase a vehicle is a big financial commitment. The cost of owning a vehicle does not end when the sticker price is paid. You also need to consider regular maintenance such as oil changes, repairs, registration, insurance, inspections, fuel, parking, and other related costs.

Read our Guide Buying a Vehicle in New Brunswick to learn more about leasing, financing, and what to do if you’re in an accident.

Download our Vehicle Buying Workbook (PDF) to record comparisons of prices, features and other important considerations to help your vehicle purchase decision.

A new vehicle

If you decide to buy a new vehicle, shop around, ask questions and test drive before making your purchase decision. Dealerships may offer a different combination of price and options package on the same make and model. Be sure to ask about the manufacturer’s warranty and make sure you have a clear understanding of what is (and is not) covered and for how long. Carefully review details of any extended service contract the dealership may offer you and always get those details in writing. Do not sign any contract or make a deposit on the vehicle until you are completely satisfied and you understand the deal. Don’t let yourself be pressured into a purchase you are not satisfied with or that you can’t afford.

When you purchase a vehicle from a dealer in New Brunswick, you are protected by certain rights under the Consumer Product Warranty and Liability Act (CPWALA). CPWALA provides consumers with protection and a means to seek compensation when goods are found to be defective or fall short of reasonable expectations. This applies to new and used consumer goods sold by a dealer. A dealer is someone who specializes in the type of product being sold. You can’t sign away your protections under CPWALA by signing a waiver or disclaimer. This legislation does not apply to private sales between individuals.

A used vehicle

When buying a used vehicle you have the option of purchasing through a dealer or a private seller. Regardless of where you purchase the vehicle, always have an independent mechanic inspect the vehicle and make sure you take if for a test drive. You may be able to get a great deal when buying a used car—but you have to be prepared to do your homework to avoid problems and disputes down the road.

When buying a used vehicle through a private sale, you do not have the protection or the rights afforded under the Consumer Product Warranty and Liability Act, there is no guaranteed “30-Day Return” period, and once you drive the car away, it is yours and you become responsible for all costs and repairs associated with the car. You should always check to see if any remaining manufacture’s warranties are transferable. If the car breaks down after you purchase it, although you may be able to open a civil case, you have no recourse under the Consumer Product Warranty and Liability Act. This is why it’s so important to do your homework and ask questions before you hand over any money.


Automobile Insurance is mandatory in New Brunswick. All vehicles registered and driven in the province must have certain mandatory minimum levels of insurance coverage to protect the public.

Third Party Liability Insurance covers you as a vehicle owner and as a driver if you injure someone or damage someone else’s property with your car. In New Brunswick, the minimum coverage required is $200,000. Purchasing additional insurance above this minimum can offer you greater protection. The cost of increasing your Third Party Liability coverage is usually not significant.

You can also purchase additional protection by adding endorsements to your policy. One of the most common endorsements in the SEF 44 Family Protection Endorsement. The SEF 44 Family Protection Endorsement provides additional coverage if you or a family member are injured by another driver who does not have enough insurance to pay the injury claim. Under the SEF 44 you can claim the difference between the other driver’s coverage and the amount of the injury claim, up to the coverage that you have, on your own policy. The SEF 44 Family Protection Endorsement also applies if the other motorist is not insured.

You can also purchase optional insurance that covers loss or damage to your vehicle. This includes Comprehensive, Collision, Specific Perils or All Perils. These are not mandatory, but can help protect you if your vehicle is damaged due to a collision or upset, fire, theft, vandalism, windstorm, etc. Loss or damage to vehicles can be subject to deductibles, exclusions and limits. Don’t assume you are protected—check your policy.

Before making any decisions on additional coverages, you should speak to a licensed insurance representative. Search our Insurance Licence Database to check if the person you are working with is licensed.

Tips to Protect Yourself when Buying a Vehicle

To help protect yourself and avoid surprises down the road, always do your homework and check the vehicle information before you buy. Here are some resources that can help you stay safe as you plan for your vehicle purchase:

  • Review Your Financial Situation: Be sure that you are able to make your car payments as well as cover costs of vehicle ownership such as insurance, registration, and maintenance. Our Budget Workbook can help you organize your finances and make sure there is room for a new vehicle.
  • Service New Brunswick: Contact Service New Brunswick to learn more about a vehicle’s registration record. The registration record of a vehicle will include information about any significant damages or repairs. Depending on the registration status, you may not be able to have the vehicle licensed, registered, or insured. If the vehicle you’re thinking about purchasing has been modified for enhanced performance, it is a good idea to check with Service New Brunswick and your insurance provider to be sure that it can be registered and insured before you buy.
  • Insurance Bureau of Canada: Be sure the vehicle hasn’t been damaged so badly in a flood that it is deemed non-repairable. Use the Insurance Bureau of Canada’s VIN Verify Service to check.
  • Vehicle History: You can also check the vehicle history (for a fee) from companies such as CARFAX and CarProof.