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How car insurance coverage works in Ottawa

Ottawa is the capital of Canada and the largest city in the nation with both English and French as co-official languages. The average annual car insurance premium in Ottawa is just shy of $1,600. Despite a huge increase in population, and consequently drivers, Ottawa is still relatively safe for driving. According to a 2013 report, Ottawa has the most educated population among Canadian cities. We know smart people shop for the best car insurance rates in just minutes and at Ratehub.ca, we can help you do that.

Ottawa car insurance, like all other cities in Ontario, is provided by private insurance companies. The basic and mandatory coverages for all Ottawa drivers include: No-Fault Insurance, Third-Party Liability Insurance, Accident Benefits, Direction Compensation-Property Damage (DCPD), and Uninsured Motorist. You can opt to pay for more coverage if you feel more comfortable.

Here is a complete overview of the available coverage options for Ottawa drivers:

Coverage Description
Public Insurance

Basic auto insurance coverage provided by the Provincial government. This generally includes liability, accident benefits and uninsured motorist coverage.

Available: No
Required: No

Private Insurance

Auto insurance policies created & sold by private insurance carriers. Though these carriers must still abide by Federal and Provincial regulations.

Available: Yes
Required: Yes

No-fault insurance

Having no-fault insurance doesn’t mean you can’t be found at fault. This coverage means you must first deal with your own insurance company for all claims, whether you’re at fault or not. But, Ontario will allow a no-fault driver to sue an at-fault driver for additional damages and costs that are not covered by their accident benefits.

Available: Yes
Required: Yes

Third-party Liability Insurance

Protects against damage caused by you while driving and includes injury and death to others and property damage. This is the only insurance coverage that is mandatory across Canada. Minimum coverage for Ontario is $200,000.

Available: Yes
Required: Yes

Accident Benefits

Covers your medical benefits if you’re injured in a crash, whether you’re at fault or not. The coverage includes your medical costs, while also paying for additional recovery costs, such as rehab, income replacement, and payment for and attendant care, if needed.

Available: Yes
Required: Yes

Direct Compensation-Property Damage (DCPD)

Covers damage to your vehicle and its contents, and for the loss of use of your vehicle when damaged – if another person was at fault. This coverage only applies if the crash occurs in a province where DCPD is mandatory, if two or more insured vehicles are involved, and if both insurers are licensed within that DCPD province.

Available: Yes
Required: Yes

Uninsured Motorist

Uninsured motorist coverage protects against injuries you and your family members sustain in a crash caused by an uninsured motorist. It can also cover your vehicle damages, if the uninsured driver is able to be identified.

Available: Yes
Required: Yes

Collision Insurance

Protects against damages sustained in a collision. This insurance covers you if your car is damaged in a crash – in both cases whether you crash into another other car or whether you crash into a stationary object.

Available: Yes
Required: No

Comprehensive Insurance

Protects against any losses a car owner may suffer, from events not related to driving. Such losses could include theft or damage from attempted theft; vandalism; environmental damage to a car from floods, fallen trees, and hail, etc.

Available: Yes
Required: No

Specified Perils

Covers your financial losses for damage caused specific perils – but only for perils chosen specifically for your policy. Available coverages are for theft; fire; damage from hail, lightning, wind, or flooding; earthquakes; explosions; riots; aircraft crash damage; and damage sustained during any transportation relocation.

Available: Yes
Required: No

All Perils

This combines the coverages you get with collision and comprehensive insurance. Additionally, all-perils also covers you if an employee, or someone who drives or services your car, steals it. It also covers you if someone you live with steals your vehicle.

Available: Yes
Required: No

Emergency roadside assistance

This service covers you for roadside callouts for emergencies such as dead batteries, towing, flat tires, keys locked in your car, empty gas tank, etcetera. Many insurance companies offer roadside assistance either included or in addition to other coverages.

Available: Yes
Required: No

*Table information sourced from http://www.ibc.ca (2017)

Factors that impact your Ottawa car insurance rates

Ottawa is home to the 5th largest metropolitan area population and is only served by two main highways - The Queensway (Highway 417) and Ottawa-Carleton Region Road 174 (formerly Highway 17). The city connects to Ontario’s busy 400 series highway network via the 416 Highway. Ottawa’s roads have some dedicated bike lanes and bus lanes so be sure you’re in one dedicated to cars. In the winter time, high snow banks can hinder your vision so it’s imperative to be on high alert when pulling out into an intersection. The ticket handed out the most often is for parking because even in private lots, you can receive a city-issued parking ticket. All these conditions are just some of the decision criteria that are factored into an insurance calculation for Ottawa drivers. Insurance companies also want to understand who you are as a driver, so they will look into your type of driver’s license and how long you’ve had it, your daily commute, as well as any at-fault collisions, traffic tickets or moving violations currently still on your record. Insurance calculations are complex, and no two companies use the same weighted criteria, but overall here are the factors that determine the rate you will receive from a Ottawa car insurer.

How to get cheap car insurance in Ottawa?

Shop and compare

Research which car insurance company provides the best value for you and your car. In Ontario, rates change four times a year, but lucky for you comparing rates with us is free.

Stay with your current insurer

Some auto insurance companies will give loyalty discounts to drivers who remain active with them for years. Especially if they add family members or multiple vehicles to their policy.

Bundle Your Policies

If you use the same insurance company for both your home and auto insurance, your insurer will often thank you with a discount on your premium.

Get a multi car discount

If you have multiple drivers and vehicles in the same household, by putting them all on one policy can save you money.

Increase your deductible

This is the portion you pay when settling a claim before your insurance provider will pay the rest. If you’re willing to double down on your deductible, it could save you money.

Ask about discounts

If you’re a member of an Ontario faction of CAA, a large corporation, union, or a school alumnus, it could help you get cheaper car insurance.

Pay premiums annually, instead of monthly

Paying monthly adds administrative costs to your insurer. If you can help them by paying one lump sum annually, they will thank you by lowering your premiums.

Maintain a good driving record

Be a safe driver, the insurance companies love it. Obey the rules of the road and drive according to road conditions, they look upon this fondly. If you, through these practices, can reduce your chances of an accident, you will pay less.

Install winter tires

You can save up to 5% simply by adding winter tires to your car. With winter driving conditions being so treacherous throughout Ontario it pays to be safe!

Keep track of your driving

There are telematics devices that collect driving data. With user-based insurance (UBI) you can earn your discounts if you’re not driving far or often. These devices even look at advanced stats like how carefully you brake and accelerate.

Take a course

Are you new to driving? A driver’s education course can save you money. Car insurance providers will think of you as a safe driver if you’ve received lessons by professionals.

Frequently Asked Questions about Ottawa auto insurance

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