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Car insurance in Calgary
Car insurance protects drivers and their passengers against financial losses that occur from operating (and just generally) owning a vehicle.
A car insurance policy is a contract that defines benefits you are entitled to and outlines how much compensation you’ll receive in exchange for paying premiums to the insurance company.
Car insurance is mandatory in provinces and territories for people who own and operate a vehicle.
The experience of buying insurance is the same across the province: You can buy insurance from insurance agents, brokers, or rates comparison sites like LowestRates.ca.
Each province outlines the minimum insurance you need to carry.
You cannot drive a vehicle legally if it doesn’t have insurance. Failure to do this will result in fees and demerit points (if caught). It will also result in you having difficulty buying insurance in the future.
Public vs. private insurance
While the definition of insurance and what it entitles you to remains consistent throughout Canada, the way insurance is delivered varies by province.
Some provinces have public insurance, which is when you buy insurance from a Crown corporation (usually at the same time you register your car).
Other provinces, Alberta included, rely on private insurance companies to supply coverage.
No-fault vs. tort insurance
Not only are there differences in who provides insurance province by province, but also how that coverage is administered varies by region.
Filing a claim with an insurance company is when you ask an insurer to cover a financial loss.
There are two models for claims resolution in Canada: the no-fault and tort approaches.
Under a no-fault system, you cannot sue for damages, while under a pure tort system, you can sue for pain and suffering (these are not accounted for in insurance policies).
In Alberta, you can still sue for things that your insurance doesn’t cover, but there are limits on the amount you can be awarded. Also, your financial losses have to pass a threshold before in order to proceed with a lawsuit.
Car insurance regulation in Alberta
The Alberta government plays a hand in controlling the price of insurance.
Insurance companies need to run any rate changes by the AIRB first, which has final approval, along with a justification for the change. AIRB’s also maintains its grid rating system, which is unique to the province. The grid establishes a baseline rate for entry-level drivers.
Most drivers do not end up paying the grid rate; insurance companies’ rates are usually lower than what the regulator outlines. Grid-rated drivers are usually inexperienced drivers or have poor driving and insurance histories; they make up less than 10% of the driving population, according to the AIRB.
If you are a grid-rated driver, then each year without a claim against your third-party liability coverage lowers your rate by 5% on the grid, up to a maximum of a 60% reduction, which will put you at the base rase.
Each at-fault claim moves you up five steps on the grid, however.
The AIRB also gets final say on the criteria insurance companies can use to evaluate the risk a driver presents. Driver risk has a direct impact on how much a person pays for car insurance. For example, the Superintendent of Insurance of Alberta says that insurers can’t include a driver’s not at-fault claims to rate them. However, an at-fault claim on someone’s third party liability, collision, or all perils coverage can be used to determine someone’s rate.
Mandatory car insurance in Alberta
Standard car insurance policies in Alberta contain the following coverages:
Third party liability: Covers legal expenses if you are sued for damages related to an accident you caused. You must carry at least $200,000 of insurance but you can increase your benefit to up to $2 million.
Direct compensation property damage (DCPD): Repairs to your car in the aftermath of an accident are covered by this benefit if you are not at-fault for causing an accident. Your insurance company will provide compensation; you won’t have to deal with the insurance company of the at-fault driver.
Accident benefits: Compensation up to $50,000 for medical expenses that are not covered under Medicare. Also provides a benefit for funeral expenses and loss of income.
Optional car insurance
Collision: Provides compensation if you need to repair or replace your car after an accident you caused. Making a collision claim can increase your car insurance premium at renewal, unless you purchase accident forgiveness, which ensures your premiums won’t rise after your first at-fault accident.
Comprehensive: Compensation for when your car is damaged by something other than a collision with another vehicle. Insurable perils include hail damage, falling objects, vandalism, and theft. Making a claim under your comprehensive coverage won’t affect your premium.
All-perils: Combines collision and comprehensive coverage.
Specified perils: If you don’t want broad coverage, this coverage will protect you from specific events, like fire, hail, lightning, and theft. Think of it like a la carte insurance.
An insurance endorsement (also known as a ‘rider’) is a type of optional coverage, but it amends the terms of the standard policy (it overrides whatever the original policy says). Endorsements can be used to add or remove coverage. An endorsement can also be added at the time of purchase, mid-term, or at renewal. Here are some of the endorsements available to Alberta drivers.
Comprehensive Cover Limited Glass (SEF 13D): Reduces or removes coverage for glass repair from your base policy for a lower premium.
Loss of Use (SEF 20): Provides compensation for alternative transportation (taxis or public transit), up to a limit, when your car is undriveable due to an insured peril.
Legal Liability for Damage to Non-Owned Automobiles (SEF 27): The coverage you have against physical damage in your base policy is extended to rental cars.
Accident Rating Waiver (SEF 39): Ensures your premium won’t increase after your first at-fault accident.
Limited Waiver of Depreciation (SEF 43R): Prevents the insurer from factoring in your car’s depreciated value when calculating your claim settlement.
Family Protection (SEF 44): If you’re hit by an underinsured driver (or by a hit-and-run driver), it’s likely that the other driver’s insurance benefits will not be enough to cover your expenses. This endorsement will bridge the gap.
How much is the average car insurance premium in Calgary?
According to most recent data from the Insurance Bureau of Canada, the average premium in Alberta is $1,514 per year. However, the price you’re quoted could differ from the provincial average. Here’s why:
Young drivers pay the most for car insurance, which skews the average higher.
You can choose optional coverages like collision insurance. Adding coverageswill increase your premium.
Driving long distances daily will also increase your premium.
Car insurance companies weigh the risk presented by the entire insurance pool (i.e., all its customers), and they also consider the risks individuals present. It’s still possible to find a lower-than-average car insurance rate if you have a good insurance and driving history.
To get an accurate estimate for car insurance prices in Calgary, we recommend applying for quotes. Since insurance rates are individualized, our quoter asks for details about your car, your daily mileage, and your insurance history. As a result, our quoter provides a more reliable estimate than a basic Calgary car insurance calculator can. Doing a quote is a small investment: most people complete it in under three minutes.
Calgary car insurance rates by postal code
The postal code region of T3J pays the highest rates for car insurance in Calgary, according to LowestRates.ca data. The region encompasses the Martindale, Taradale, Falconridge, and Saddle Ridge areas.
There are a number of factors that determine your car insurance rates in Calgary. Here are some to consider:
Your mileage: How much you drive every day is another major contributor to what you’ll pay in auto insurance rates. Someone that drives 30-45 minutes to and from work each day will pay more in car insurance than someone who only uses their car to run errands.
Your postal code: Insurance companies determine your rates partially based on the postal code you live in. If your area generally has a higher concentration of claims, you may find yourself paying higher rates than people living in the next postal code over.
Your driving record: Your driving history is another factor that will weigh heavily on how much you pay for car insurance. Someone with an accident or multiple tickets on their record will pay more for insurance than someone with a clean record because they’ll be deemed higher risk.
Your age: Like it or not, the younger you are, the more you’ll pay for car insurance (until you’re about 30). This is because you’re considered a high-risk driver until you’ve built up a driving history that demonstrates the opposite. There isn’t much you can do about it, but at least you’re not alone. Young people across Calgary, and Canada, all face high auto insurance rates compared to the more experienced drivers they share the road with.
Your policy: How much you pay in auto insurance is impacted by how much auto insurance you buy. There are a number of different policies to choose from in Calgary, but everyone in Canada is required to have at least a basic level of car insurance. Keep reading to find out what your policy options are.
We can help you find cheap car insurance quotes in Calgary.
Behind Ontario and B.C., Alberta's auto insurance rates are the third most expensive in the country.
LowestRates.ca compares the car insurance market in Calgary so you can get the cheapest car insurance quotes from the top car insurance companies serving Alberta.
All it takes is a few minutes. Enter your postal code and some information about the vehicle you drive, and we’ll find you the cheapest available quote and connect you with a Calgary car insurance broker who will secure the new rate for you.
Compare Calgary auto insurance quotes, find the lowest one and hit the road. Just like that.
Calgary car insurance rates compared to other cities in Alberta
While Alberta drivers may not pay as much as drivers in Ontario and British Columbia, it doesn’t mean cheap auto insurance is easy to find. Calgary is in the top five most expensive cities in Alberta to purchase car insurance.
The most expensive cities to purchase car insurance in Alberta are:
- Rocky Mountain House
- St. Albert
While some Albertans pay higher fees for auto insurance, this isn’t the case for everyone. Take a look at the cheapest Alberta cities for car insurance:
- Parkland County
- Medicine Hat
While Calgary doesn’t currently rank near the top for the most expensive auto insurance rates in Canada, more people in Calgary used LowestRates.ca to compare car insurance quotes in 2019 than drivers from any other city in Calgary.
Where you live is an important factor in determining your car insurance rates, but Calgary drivers should keep in mind that it’s only one factor out of many. Keep reading to see what other factors can impact how much you pay for car insurance in Calgary.