The exodus is on. In a Post-COVID world, many employees, who are allowed to work from home, are questioning the need to be in a big city and seek out bigger homes and reconnect with nature.
MoneySense put out a financial guide, “Where to buy real estate,” which may help you narrow your list. It’s based on the average price of a home, how long it takes to buy given what you could make salary-wise, and how the houses are increasing in value (or not).
Edmonton and Calgary both make the list as prime places to buy a home. I thought it might be a cool idea to help you further by comparing car insurance, too. After all, it’s a significant annual expense, and there are big savings between cities.
For instance, Medicine Hat car insurance is, on average, about $900 per year. Whereas Edmonton car insurance is about $1,400. The average annual car insurance premium in Alberta is just over $1,300.
We’ll dive into why there is such gross disparity later. Now, let’s address our primary concern – how to get cheap auto insurance in Alberta.
Are you paying the best price for car insurance?
How to get cheap car insurance in Alberta
● Install winter tires
Installing winter tires can save you 3-5% off car insurance. While it’s not mandatory (like it is in Quebec), Alberta’s transportation authority recommends them during the winter months. Expect to pay around $800-$1200 to install the tires, which, sadly, no, the cost doesn’t directly justify the savings. If you can save 5% on a $1,300 annual premium, that’s only $65, so it’ll take you 12 years (or roughly the lifespan of the tires) to recoup your cost. But, let’s not forget that winter tires save you money on car insurance because you’ll be in fewer accidents, which is why you’re buying the tires in the first place.
● Install an anti-theft device
Alberta ranks high for stolen vehicles when compared to other provinces. There are many ways to protect your car from theft. For instance, don’t leave your keys in the ignition, close your windows and doors, and take your valuables with you (which can also help you avoid a broken window). Those are “active” anti-theft types that don’t result in a discount since you should be doing them anyway. An immobilizer, which comes standard on most new vehicles, should result in a discount. You can install one in an older car which will result in cheaper insurance. Make sure to get proper documentation from the installer as proof to your insurer.
● Bundle your insurance products together
Insurance companies make more money, the more stuff you insure with them. Getting both your home and auto insurance from one provider can save you up to 25%, depending on the provider. If you don’t own a home, you might want tenant’s insurance, which you can use to bundle. Hey, even if you have multiple vehicles, insuring them all with the same insurance company can save you money.
● Take a driver’s education course
A young driver with a lack of experience is seen as a high risk for most car insurance providers. By taking an accredited driver’s training program, you can reduce your car insurance.
● Raise your car insurance deductible
Car insurance deductibles are what you pay before your insurance provider releases any money to cover the costs associated with the claim. Increasing your deductible tells the insurance company that you’re betting on yourself to not make a claim for anything less than your stated amount. Often a deductible can be $500, increasing your deductible to $1-2,000 can save you money. Be sure you can afford the higher deductible before making the change, though.
● Drive less, get active
When getting a car insurance quote, the inevitable question comes up, “how many kilometres do you drive a year?” Insurance providers want to know this information because the more you’re on the road, the higher the chance of getting into an accident. Reduce your premium by taking public transit, walking or riding your bike to work, or even asking your employer to work from home more often. Be sure to inform your insurer of any changes to your commuting patterns so they can adjust accordingly. Being active might even help you save on life insurance.
● Pay premiums annually
Reducing administrative costs associated with monthly premiums is a good thing in the eyes of your insurer. If you can eliminate the risk of a late payment or non-payment, the happier they are and the less work they have to put in to get their money. Ask your insurance provider if you can pay your entire premium at the start of your contract. You might get cheaper car insurance in Alberta.
● Consider usage-based insurance
Depending on your insurance provider, they may offer telematics or usage-based insurance, which tracks your driving with an app. It measures how you drive (e.g. braking, speed, handling turns) and how far you drive. It can’t increase your premiums, but if you perform well, it can decrease your Alberta car insurance by 30%.
READ MORE: Is it time to consider usage-based insurance?
● Buy the right vehicle
A brand new car under lease is a sure-fire way to pay a lot for car insurance. To get cheap insurance in Alberta, consider a used car that you can buy for cash or at least self-finance through a HELOC. A leased car carries stipulations from the lender that you carry the max insurance coverage. A new car is likely to cost more to replace than a used one. The insurance bureau of Canada puts out two lists of use: The most stolen vehicles in Canada and the Canadian Loss Experience Auto Rating (CLEAR). CLEAR shows you how many collisions and claims are associated with any particular car, and yes, it affects your premium.
● Improve your driving
An Alberta traffic ticket will stay on your record for 3 years. If you can go without a conviction for 3 years in a row, you’ll watch your Alberta car insurance get cheaper.
● Shop around
The easiest way to get cheap car insurance in Alberta is to use our quoting engine. The quoter guides you through some simple questions and as a result, you’ll get quotes from multiple providers in minutes. Sure beats calling every insurance company and brokerage to answer the same questions over and over.
Factors that determine cheap insurance in Alberta
To understand car insurance costs is to know the many factors that go into car insurance pricing. Car insurance is based on several factors. They include your demographic, the car you buy, your driving history, credit score, and, as we’ve already discussed, your location. This is also true of home insurance in Alberta – the more thefts in an area, or the higher the accident rate in your postal code, will significantly increase your rate.
Young males tend to pay more than older females because a new driver tends to take more risks. The more expensive the car, the more it will cost to insure. Unless the cheaper car has a rate of collisions and theft.
The coverage you choose also has a significant impact on your premium. Collision and comprehensive car insurance are not mandatory but useful if you want to protect your car in case of an accident or if it’s stolen or a tree falls on it. You can opt-out of these coverages, which will reduce your premium, but obviously involves much more risk. You can also lower your third-party liability insurance to $200,000 – the Alberta minimum. Typically, third-party liability defaults to $1 million.
The bottom line
Alberta is a great place to live, and if you’re moving there, make sure to update your insurance. Not informing your provider of your new address is insurance fraud and can lead to a denial of a claim, among other repercussions.