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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.

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:

Optional car insurance

Endorsements

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.

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:

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.

Front view of a car. Illustration.

See how our customers save big on auto insurance.

CustomerLocationVehicleLowest rateAverage rateSaved
Quote from November 25, 2022
Customer
Male, 25 years old
Location
calgary
Vehicle
2018 TOYOTA CAMRY SE 4DR
Lowest Rate
$302/mth
$3,623/yr
Average Rate
$520/mth
$6,240/yr
Saved
$218/mth
41.94%
Quote from November 25, 2022
Customer
Female, 28 years old
Location
calgary
Vehicle
2017 HYUNDAI ELANTRA GL 4DR
Lowest Rate
$210/mth
$2,521/yr
Average Rate
$351/mth
$4,213/yr
Saved
$141/mth
40.16%

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:

  1. Edmonton
  2. Rocky Mountain House
  3. Camrose
  4. St. Albert
  5. Calgary

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:

  1. Cochrane
  2. Parkland County
  3. Hinton
  4. Ponoka
  5. 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.

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Driving in Calgary

Most popular cars in Calgary

Calgary is one of Canada’s foremost up-and-coming cities. With a population of about 1.6 million people and a growing number of families in the area, the number of cars on the road has also increased. Here are the most popular car brands among Calgarians, based on data from LowestRates.ca:

Popular Brands

  1. Honda
  2. Ford
  3. Dodge
  4. Nissan
  5. BMW

Who shops for car insurance in Calgary?

According to our data, here's who's shopping for car insurance in Calgary.

Gender of our users

Male
65%
Female
35%

Average age

35

years old

Tickets and accidents

Have Tickets
21.68%
Have Had Accidents
18.04%

What can I do to get cheap car insurance in Calgary?

It's easy — if you know how. Here are some of the best ways to lower your auto insurance premiums:

Shop around

We'll show you the most competitive rates from all the top insurers. Now you can compare quotes all in one place.

Buy the right coverage

Avoiding extra frills in your policy and paying for only the coverage you need will lower your premiums.

Drive responsibly

Your driving record impacts your rate. Fewer infractions and fines equal cheaper insurance.

Pay on time

Prompt payments can save you money on late fees and lower your premiums. Insurers love a good customer.

Bundle up

Adding a house, motorcycle, RV, or other types of insurance policy to your car insurance plan can lower your rates.

Be safe, not sorry

Safety features like winter tires and alarm systems can help reduce your insurance premium.

Stick with one insurer

Most auto insurance companies give special discounts to customers who stay with them for a number of years.

Take a course

A defensive driving course makes you a better driver and can significantly reduce your car insurance premiums.

Keep driving

The math is clear: more experience on the road equals lower car insurance premiums. Young drivers almost universally pay higher rates for car insurance. While it’s difficult for new drivers to secure cheap car insurance rates, you may be able to lower your rates by maintaining good grades and attending driving school.

Look at location

Where you drive affects your premiums. Some areas are associated with higher rates of car accidents and theft.

Choose the right car

Cars with high crash-test scores, low theft ratings, and less powerful engines tend to have cheaper insurance rates.

Track your driving

With a usage-based car insurance policy, you can turn your low-risk driving habits into lower premiums.

Calgary car insurance for seniors

Adults between the ages of 50 and 70 can secure some of the lowest car insurance rates in Calgary. If you belong to this demographic, you probably have a long history of being insured and you might have even bundled your home insurance policy with the same provider of your auto insurance.

After age 70, though, you might see your rate begin to creep up. People in this age group are statistically more likely to need to file a claim and need longer to recover from an injury. If you do see your rates begin to climb, it may be time to shop around for new automobile insurance in Calgary.

 

Calgary car insurance for students

Car insurance for new drivers in Calgary is expensive. Young people pay, on average, the highest insurance premiums of any demographic (adults with driving convictions notwithstanding). For drivers who’ve been insured since age 14, rates start declining in the mid-twenties and typically persist until their thirtieth birthday.

It can be challenging for new drivers to find affordable car insurance in Calgary. However, there are some things you can trim the price of your car insurance rate

For new drivers in Calgary, a “cheap" car insurance rate will be relative. However, we’ve found that the demographic that finds the most savings on LowestRates.ca are young drivers — the more you’re expected to pay, the more dramatic the savings you can find when you compare Calgary car insurance quotes.

 

Calgary car insurance for new immigrants

If you’ve recently immigrated to Calgary, you can’t drive without having the proper licence and insurance. Ask your old insurance company to provide a reference to your new Calgary auto insurance company. This will go a long way to help you secure a lower car insurance rate and you’ll have a better chance at securing a lower car insurance rate because you have proof of your insurance and driving history.

 

Calgary car insurance for high-risk drivers.

Having several traffic convictions will put you in the high-risk category with most insurance companies. If you’ve ever had your licence revoked, you are pushed further into the high-risk category. This designation means that insurance companies assume that you will eventually file a claim.

Since insurance companies are betting that they will need to provide you financial assistance, they will charge you more. It’s very hard to find cheap auto insurance rates in Calgary as a high-risk driver. There are, however, insurance companies that cater to high-risk drivers. Failing that, you can purchase facility insurance, which is a pool that is funded by Canadian insurance companies to offer coverage to high-risk drivers.

Frequently asked questions about Calgary car insurance

 

Where do I get cheap car insurance quotes in Calgary?

There isn’t a car insurance company in Calgary that can guarantee cheap car insurance premiums to every driver that applies for a policy.

While there are a number of factors contributing to your car insurance rates that you can control, there are also some that are out of your control. For example, insurance companies set prices based on their loss ratios — the amount that they pay out annually in claims compared to the revenue they generate. These ratios will determine what rate they’re willing to offer you.

Since every insurance company underwrites risk differently, one of the fastest ways to find a cheap quote is to compare insurance companies.

Comparing car insurance quotes on LowestRates.ca can help you find a company whose tolerance for risk is a bit different than the one you’re currently working with. You may be surprised at the cheaper rates you find when you compare the market.

What are some tips for driving in Calgary?

  1. If you're driving in Calgary during the winter, buy snow tires.
  2. Drive cautiously at Deerfoot Trail and 16th Avenue. It's widely viewed as the most dangerous intersection in the entire city, rivalled only by the Deerfoot Trail and Glenmore Trail intersection.
  3. Stay up-to-date on the Glenmore Trail and Ogden Road S.E. Interchange Project. As of July 2016, an 18-month detour is routing drivers around the new Glenmore Trail roadway and interchange. Access to Ogden Road and to Barlow Trail is still available, but plan your travels accordingly.
  4. Put your cell phone down. Calgary traffic laws strictly prohibit texting and emailing while you're operating a motor vehicle.
Alexandra Bosanac

Alexandra Bosanac

About the Author

Alexandra Bosanac is the Core Content Manager for LowestRates.ca. Her reporting has appeared in Canadian Business, the Toronto Star, the National Post, and the CBC.

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