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Matt Hands, Business Director, Insurance
To operate a vehicle in Canada, you must have a valid car insurance policy in place at all times. In each province, car insurance policy requirements vary depending on whether it's a public or private insurance system.
However, you need to have a minimum amount of third-party liability insurance to protect yourself financially if you injure someone or damage their car/property. Every province also requires accident benefits protection, which provides you and anyone injured with coverage for any medical/rehabilitation costs resulting from an accident.
The majority of Canadians choose to customize their policy beyond the provincial mandatory minimum car insurance coverage requirements. For example, you can add collision and comprehensive coverage to your policy and/or increase your third-party liability coverage beyond the minimum.
Before finalizing your policy, make sure to review all coverage options available to you within your province.
Review your car insurance every year
Car insurance companies change prices all the time. Set an annual reminder to compare car insurance before you renew to ensure the best price.
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You might think that car insurance quotes for the same driver or car would be similar across all providers. However, every auto insurance company has its own costs to cover, based on data from their existing customers and claims.
An insurance rate calculation has many subtle complexities, and multiple factors contribute to your final rate. Based on the information you provide in your driving profile, a car insurance company will categorize your risk potential and calculate a personalized rate.
Unfortunately, some factors are out of your control, but there are still a few for which you are 100% in the driver’s seat. Therefore, being in the know could save you money on your auto insurance policy. Here are seven factors that auto insurance companies will consider before offering you a personal car insurance quote.
Where you live
Type of insurance coverage
Factors companies can't use in your car insurance quote calculation
Employment history, bankruptcy, your housing situation, or your net worth are not factors. Neither is your credit score, depending on your province. And the car colour? That's a myth.
Auto insurance is mandatory in every province and territory. However, there are differences depending on where you live, and car insurance rates vary wildly as a result.
Throughout most of Canada, you buy car insurance through the private market, but in BC, Manitoba, and Saskatchewan, public insurance is available through the Provincial government. Quebec has its own unique regulations where the public entity covers injury or death, and private insurance covers property damage.
Most provinces operate under a no-fault insurance system. No-fault means you only ever deal with your own insurance company, not that you can't be found at fault. British Columbia will adapt to no-fault in May of 2021, Alberta is currently debating its merits. In Saskatchewan, the default is no-fault, but you can opt for tort coverage which allows a driver to sue for damages.
Below, we break down all the mandatory coverages and available optional car insurance coverage for your consideration.
Direct compensation property damage (select provinces)
Emergency roadside assistance
Average annual insurance rates in Canada
|Province||Average annual insurance premium|
|Prince Edward Island||$816|
Below is the chart for the average car insurance cost in Canada. Your car insurance rate will vary depending on the multitude of factors, but at least this gives you an average and what you can expect to pay.
*source: Insurance Bureau of Canada: They calculate the average premium in each province by adding up the total premiums and dividing them by the number of personal vehicles per province.
Are you getting the best price for your auto insurance?
Shop around and compare
Auto insurance rates vary greatly between companies – you need to research which insurer will offer the best coverage specific to you.
You may get discounts if you bundle insurance plans together, for example, by having your auto and home insurance bundled together with the same auto insurance carrier.
Increase your deductible
The deductible is what you pay when something happens to your car, before the insurance company pays the rest. Increasing your deductible can lower your annual premiums.
Ask about discounts
Many insurers offer discounts to members of professional organizations or affiliation groups – so it pays to ask about discount relationships.
Pay premiums annually, instead of monthly
If you pay your premiums up front for the year – or even per half-year – you will usually end up paying less than if you paid monthly.
Maintain a good driving record
At-fault collisions and driving convictions stay on your insurance record for years and make your rates go way up – if you drive safely, sensibly, and obey the road rules over a long period, you’ll pay the lowest rates.
Track your driving
With usage-based insurance (UBI) you can earn discounts for driving well. Tracking your own driving online, you can earn discounts by not driving far or often, and on advanced stats like how carefully you brake and accelerate.
Take a course
Accredited driving courses will not only make you a safer driver, but can also result in discounts from many insurance companies.
Why are my car insurance quotes so high?
How do I find the cheapest auto insurance rates?
Is auto insurance different between provinces?
What do I need to get car insurance in Canada?
Who has the cheapest car insurance?
Is car insurance in Canada mandatory?
Matt started his professional career at CARPROOF where he honed his marketing and analytical skills for over 3 years. Matt then took his wealth of experience to Ratehub.ca’s Toronto offices, working with insurance providers, agents, and brokers to grow and expand the Insurance business unit. He is a thought leader in the community and a valuable insurance resource to respected publications like the Globe & Mail, Toronto Star, Huffington Post, Yahoo News, and 680 news radio in Toronto.read linkedin bio
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