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How car insurance works in Edmonton

Car insurance protects the driver of a car, its passengers, and bystanders from financial losses caused by car accidents. Car insurance is the same in Edmonton as it is in other Alberta cities. A car needs to be insured before you can drive it in Alberta. Car insurance is also tied to the vehicle, meaning that if you replace your current vehicle with another one, you’ll have to update your policy to reflect that you have a new car that has its own risk profile.

The cost of your premium is influenced by the make and model of the car, as well as your driving and insurance histories.

The province has outlined the minimum amount of insurance (medical, physical damage, and liability insurance) you need to buy, but you can increase your coverage with optional coverages. (We’ll dive further into this in the section below.) Driving without the minimum coverage will result in large fines and difficulty buying insurance in the future.

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.

Private vs. public car insurance insurance

In some provinces, drivers acquire insurance from a government corporation. This is the case in B.C., Manitoba, and Saskatchewan. Elsewhere, drivers buy insurance from private companies (think big brands like Aviva or Intact Insurance). Private companies provide car insurance in Alberta.

Edmonton's car insurance system

In addition to who provides car insurance, how car insurance claims are settled is also different in Alberta. There are two main approaches in Canada: the no-fault approach and the tort approach.

Under a no-fault system, you only deal with your own insurance company, never a third party’s. Your insurance company will do that on your behalf. Your insurer pays for damage to your property as well as your medical care. 

In a pure no-fault system, you cannot sue for damages in excess of your policy. If you expect that your bills will be high following an accident, you need to buy extra insurance in advance to bridge the gap.

Under a tort system, you can sue the other driver’s insurance company for compensation for medical expenses for amounts that far exceed your policy’s limit. You can also sue for things like pain and suffering (not an option in a pure no-fault system).

Alberta has a hybrid system for resolving claims, meaning it has elements of a tort system and a no-fault one.

An example of a no-fault benefit included in Alberta’s mandatory coverage is direct compensation property damage (DCPD), which was introduced in 2022.

DCPD ensures that your insurance company pays to repair your car if you were not responsible for the accident.

An example of a tort benefit that Albertans can access is that drivers can sue for pain and suffering and for economic losses that exceed their policy’s limit.

Price controls for auto insurance in Edmonton

The Alberta government has a hand in controlling the price of auto insurance.

This is done through the Alberta Insurance Rate Board (AIRB). Before an insurer can change their prices, they have to submit it to the AIRB for review. The insurer must also provide justification for the change.

The AIRB also has a say over the criteria an insurer can use to rate customers, which determine how much a person will pay and even whether they will be accepted as a customer at all.

Each insurer differs in their underwriting standards, but broadly speaking, companies assign different ratings to drivers based on their insurance and licensing histories, driving record, address, and vehicle type.

The AIRB grid rating system is another feature unique to Alberta’s auto insurance regulatory regime.

The grid establishes a baseline rate that can be offered to entry-level drivers as well as the maximum amount an insurance company can charge for basic coverage. Insurers must compare the rate they want to charge against the grid and choose the lesser amount.

Insurers usually only defer to the grid rate when they are dealing with inexperienced drivers (less than eight years of experience). Grid-rated drivers make up less than 10% of the driving population.

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, or entry level premium. Each at-fault claim moves you up five steps on the grid, however.

Mandatory car insurance coverage for Edmonton drivers

A standard Alberta auto insurance policy includes the following coverage:

Optional car insurance coverage for Edmonton drivers

For an additional cost, you can enhance a standard policy by adding these optional coverages for. These coverages can be added at the time of purchase, mid-term, or at renewal.

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 does car insurance cost in Edmonton, on average?

As of early 2020, the average car insurance quote in Edmonton was about 85% higher than the Alberta average of $1,316. Edmonton has the highest average car insurance rate of all the major cities in Alberta.

Edmonton car insurance rates by postal code

The Edmonton postal code with the highest average car insurance premium is the T6T region.

The neighbourhoods of Laurel, Silver Berry, Wild Rose, Larkspur, and Maple are contained within this postal code.

Its boundaries are Whitemud Drive NW to the north, 34th, and 32nd Streets NW to the east, 15th Avenue NW to the south, and 17th Street and Anthony Henday Drive to the east.

Residents in the T6T postal code pay on average 13% more than the Edmonton average, which is already the highest in the province.

The Edmonton postal code with the lowest average car insurance premium is the T6C region.

The neighbourhood of Bonnie Doon, Strathearn, Holyrood, Idylwylde, and Cloverdale are contained within the postal code.

Its boundaries are 98 Ave. NW in the north, in the east it follows the path of Mill Creek and continues on to 97 St. NE, rejoining with Mill Creek again in the south, and is closed off in the west by 75th St. NW.

Residents in the T6C postal code pay about 18% less than the Edmonton average for car insurance.

Factors that determine car insurance rates in Edmonton

The way insurance companies price car insurance premiums is incredibly complex. Before giving you an estimate, Edmonton car insurance providers will look at several factors:

Your age: Young drivers pay the highest car insurance rates. It’s the same thing in every province. Insurance prices tend to drop off after age 25 and continue to fall through to age 30. This is why cheap car insurance for new drivers in Edmonton, along with other Canadian cities, can be hard to find (Learn more about shopping for car insurance for students in Edmonton.)

This isn’t the only way your age can impact your car insurance. Adults between the ages of 50 and 70 get some of the lowest car insurance rates in Toronto. If you belong to this demographic, you probably have a long history of being insured and you might even have 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 because people in your age group are more statistically more likely to need to file a claim and need longer to recover from an injury. Therefore, car insurance rates for seniors in Edmonton, and other Canadian cities, can also be more expensive.

Your driving history: Insurers like to see a lot of driving experience (typically eight years or so). They reward long-time drivers who are conviction and claims-free with lower rates. This factor also makes it harder for new drivers in Edmonton who need car insurance to find affordable rates. In addition, if you’ve been deemed a high-risk driver and you need car insurance in Edmonton, your driving history may become an obstacle to obtaining a cheaper rate. Click here to learn more about high-risk car insurance quotes for Edmonton drivers

Your driving history: Insurers like to see a lot of driving experience (typically eight years or so). They reward long-time drivers who are conviction and claims-free with lower rates. This factor also makes it harder for new drivers in Edmonton who need car insurance to find affordable rates. In addition, if you’ve been deemed a high-risk driver and you need car insurance in Edmonton, your driving history may become an obstacle to obtaining a cheaper rate. Click here to learn more about high-risk car insurance quotes for Edmonton drivers

Your postal code: Insurance companies also rely on postal code regions to price auto insurance. Some postal code regions pay more in insurance than others because customers within that region are more likely to file a claim. That includes situations such as theft, vandalism, and collisions.

Your mileage: Insurance companies will ask you how many kilometers you drive each day. The longer your commute, the more time you spend on the road, which increases the probability that you’ll be involved in an accident.

Your car: Insurance companies have figured out a way to judge which car model is more likely to be involved in a collision, regardless of driver behaviour.

We can help you find cheap car insurance quotes in Edmonton.

Edmonton drivers pay some of the highest prices for car insurance compared to other large Alberta cities.

Luckily, you can find a cheaper rate. Comparing the auto insurance quotes from multiple insurance companies will help you find savings.

Just enter your postal code and hit the pink button at the top of the screen to get started.

Not ready to compare car insurance quotes yet? Read on to learn more about shopping for cheap auto insurance quotes in Edmonton.

Front view of a car. Illustration.

See how our customers save big on auto insurance.

CustomerLocationVehicleLowest rateAverage rateSaved
Quote from December 03, 2022
Customer
Male, 25 years old
Location
edmonton
Vehicle
2017 HONDA CIVIC EX 4DR
Lowest Rate
$227/mth
$2,723/yr
Average Rate
$420/mth
$5,045/yr
Saved
$194/mth
46.03%
Quote from December 03, 2022
Customer
Male, 26 years old
Location
edmonton
Vehicle
2021 MAZDA CX-5 GX 4DR AWD
Lowest Rate
$210/mth
$2,525/yr
Average Rate
$407/mth
$4,879/yr
Saved
$196/mth
48.25%

How Edmonton car insurance premiums compare to other cities in Alberta

We’ve ranked the top six cities with the highest car insurance rates in Alberta and benchmarked the average price in those other cities with Edmonton’s to see how they compare. The result? Edmonton beats out all other Alberta cities — and not in a good way.

  1. Edmonton
  2. Calgary (5% lower)
  3. Fort McMurray (15% lower)
  4. Red Deer (23% lower)
  5. Lethbridge (23% lower)
  6. Airdrie (26% lower)

Drivers in Edmonton pay 85% more than the average cost of the auto insurance premium in Alberta, which is $1,316 according to the Insurance Bureau of Canada.

We don't know exactly why automobile insurance in Edmonton is so much higher than the provincial average. However, we see that a high percentage of our Edmonton users have tickets and accidents on their driving record: 22% and 20% respectively. The main driver of rising prices are claims.

The more frequently an insurance company pays out claims to policyholders within the same region, the more car insurance premiums will go up for all the drivers in that area.

And in general, larger cities also tend to have higher auto insurance premiums. With just under a million people, Edmonton has a population that’s comparable to Calgary, the province’s largest city. Plus, there are slightly more cars than people in Edmonton: 981,361 registered vehicles and only 972,223 residents. It works out to a ratio of 1:1.

Numbers like that support the insurance industry’s view that collisions, theft, and vandalism are all more likely in major cities. Car insurance prices for Edmonton drivers are also going to rise even more.

Auto insurance in Edmonton is also priced according to the Automobile Insurance Rate Board (AIRB) grid, which enforces caps on the maximum amounts that auto insurance companies can charge drivers for basic auto insurance policies. Insurers must charge either their own rate or the grid rate for basic coverage — whichever is lower.

Insurance companies can apply to the Board to raise rates, and in the past, they couldn’t apply for more than a 5% increase. In 2020, that cap was lifted and auto insurance providers promptly raised premiums by as much as 12% on average.

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How comparing auto insurance quotes in Edmonton works. Hint: it’s free!

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Focus on

Driving in Edmonton

Most popular cars in Edmonton

When it comes to cars, Edmonton drivers’ preferences cover a wide range of auto brands. According to LowestRates.ca data, here are the top five brands preferred by drivers in Edmonton:

Popular Brands

  1. Toyota
  2. Honda
  3. Ford
  4. Dodge
  5. Mazda

Who shops for auto insurance quotes in Edmonton?

Based on our data, here's who's shopping for car insurance quotes in Edmonton.

Gender of our users

Male
63%
Female
37%

Average Age

34

years old

Tickets & Accidents

Have Tickets
22%
Have Had Accidents
20%

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

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 equals 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 type 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.

Edmonton car insurance for seniors

Adults between the ages of 50 and 70 are able to secure some of the lowest car insurance rates in Edmonton. 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.

 

Edmonton car insurance for students

Car insurance for new drivers in Edmonton 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.

For new drivers in Edmonton, 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 Edmonton car insurance quotes.

 

Edmonton car insurance for new immigrants

If you’ve recently immigrated to Edmonton, you can’t drive without having the proper licence and insurance. Ask your old insurance company to provide a reference to your new Edmonton 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.

 

Edmonton 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 Edmonton 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 Edmonton car insurance

 

Which Edmonton insurance providers does LowestRates.ca work with?

We quote over 50+ car insurance providers. We’re continually adding new providers to our online marketplace to ensure out site reflects the Canadian auto insurance market. Providers we’ve worked with include:

Learn more about insurance companies providing coverage in Canada.

What else impacts car insurance premiums in Edmonton?

There are more factors that affect car insurance premiums beyond the criteria used to evaluate individual drivers. These are some of the external forces shaping the insurance market, according to Alberta’s car insurance regulator, the Automobile Insurance Rate Board (AIRB).

Traffic and congestion: There are more cars than people in Edmonton: 981,361 registered vehicles and 972,223 residents. Major cities with higher levels of traffic and congestion tend to have higher rates of collisions. Insurance companies take this into account when calculating your rate.

Regulation: In 2022, Alberta added direct compensation for property damage coverage (DCPD) to standard auto insurance policies. DCPD ensures that drivers who are not at fault for causing an accident receive compensation to repair or replace their damaged vehicles. Since Alberta has a limited tort auto insurance system, drivers can sue for damages in excess of a policy’s limit. DCPD is expected to curb litigation. The desired outcome of this regulatory change is reduced legal costs for insurance companies, the savings from which can then be passed to customers. By its own estimates, the Insurance Bureau of Canada says 42% of drivers in Alberta can expect to see a rate decrease as a result, 15% will see no change, and 34% could see their premiums increase.1

Availability of insurance: It can be difficult to comprehend, but it’s possible for there to be a shortage of insurance. How can insurance — an intangible good — ever be in short supply? Unprofitable market conditions make it possible. If insurance companies have more expenses than revenue (a measure that’s tracked by something called a ‘combined ratio’), then insurers will try to make up for the loss by raising rates or denying coverage, or sometimes both. Between 2017 and 2019/2020, Alberta instituted a cap on how much insurance companies could raise rates: they could only raise them to a maximum of 5%. However, the cost of doing business for insurance companies was simultaneously increasing. Because they couldn’t raise premiums, some insurance companies stopped accepting new customers, making it harder for people to get insurance and the insurance landscape less competitive.

Technology: Cars are being fitted with increasingly sophisticated technologies. These cars offer great accident protection but cost more to repair than the purely mechanical ones of yesteryear.

Climate change: Severe weather conditions are driving up the price of coverage property and casualty insurance (an industry term that refers to both home and auto insurance). Comprehensive and all-perils auto insurance provides compensation if your car is damaged by weather events like windstorms, falling objects, hail, and fire — all of which are a fact of life in Alberta. In fact, Alberta has borne the brunt of our warming climate: six of the 10 largest storms in recent Canadian history have occurred in the prairie province.

The Insurance Bureau of Canada catalogued the most severe storms and what they cost insurance companies in claims:

  • 2013 Alberta floods: $3.5 billion loss
  • 2020 Fort McMurray flood: $2.3 billion loss
  • 2021 Calgary hailstorm: $2 billion loss
  • 2011 Slave Lake fire and windstorm: $1.8 billion
  • 2012 Calgary rainstorm: $1.5 billion

Because severe summer weather is now expected insurance companies need to ensure their coffers will be full enough to pay out future claims by, you guessed it, raising premiums.

Inflation: In June 2022, inflation in Canada reached a 38-year high of 8.1%.2 Inflation drives up the cost of all goods and services, insurance included. The increased cost of labour and parts (especially semiconductors) have added to insurers’s operating expenses. Ongoing supply chain issues induced by the pandemic are expected to continue into 2023.

Distracted driving: Since at least 2017, Edmonton has held the title of Alberta city with the most distracted drivers. Alberta’s distracted driving legislation includes not only electronic devices but also eating, reading, writing, grooming, and drinking while driving. According to Transportation Alberta, 4,306 Edmonton drivers were convicted for distracted driving between April 2020 and March 2021. There were just over 13,000 convictions province wide. That means Edmonton accounts for 33% of all convictions. The penalty for distracted driving in Alberta is a $300 fine and three demerit points. As for your insurance rates, a study by LowestRates.ca found that a single distracted driving conviction increased annual premiums of Alberta drivers by as much as 24%. With two convictions, premiums increased by an additional 10%.

Vehicle theft: Vehicle theft is on the rise across Canada. A shortage of new cars due to pandemic-induced supply issues is believed to be one of the main drivers of this trend. In Alberta, Ford F-150 pick-up trucks were the most targeted by thieves. In fact, in a span of two days in February 2022, more than a dozen F-150s were stolen from parking lots, dealerships, and residences. The Equite Association, an organization that raises awareness about insurance fraud, advises that parking your car in a private garage is one of the most effective ways to prevent theft. Storing your fob key in a Faraday box is another good idea. These boxes block electromagnetic fields and prevent thieves from mimicking your key’s unique code thereby allowing them to enter and start your car wirelessly.

Fraud: Fraud is a persistent problem for auto insurance companies and results, unfortunately, in price increases for the entire insurance pool. Examples of frauds include staged collisions, car-jackings, and vehicle thefts.

Jessica Vomiero

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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