The world of Canadian car insurance there isn't an even playing field. Car insurance rates by province can vary wildly. That said, there are ways to make sure that you come away with the best deal possible.
Let's look at car insurance rates by province and what you can do to reduce your premiums.
Car insurance is a legal requirement. Before you can hit the road in any Canadian province, you need to make sure that it's in order. The cost of your premium is influenced by a number of factors, including your age, your vehicle, driving record and, your province.
As we'll see, some provinces have government-run insurance plans, but most of the provinces don't. This accounts for some of the differences in car insurance rates by province, but it's far from the only factor.
Private insurance looks at risk factors like age, gender and driving experience very closely. Government insurance plans are a little kinder. Every year, the Insurance Bureau of Canada provides a rundown of average car insurance costs in each province. Let's take a deeper look at each province and exactly what makes the difference.
How much is car insurance in Ontario? That's a question on the lips of the owners of its 8.7 million vehicles. And the answer is not good. Motorists in Ontario are paying on average the second-highest amount of all car owners in Canada.
The average car insurance cost is currently more than $1500 per year. There are many possible reasons for this. Ontario has the most drivers in the country, and it also has some of the most generous insurance laws by province. For example, Ontario gives you the right to sue for pain and suffering, and economic loss in excess of no-fault benefits.
Add to that rampant insurance fraud and more than its fair share of severe weather events. It's clear why the costs mount up for insurers, and that's reflected in higher premiums for the public.
In November 2020 sweeping reforms were announced to the car insurance sector in the Ontario budget. The goal is to increase competition, reduce fraud, and increase convenience for drivers. The impact of these reforms on the car insurance rates will be seen in due course.
If you call Alberta home, then make sure you budget big for car insurance. Currently, Alberta is in third place in the rankings of car insurance rates by province.
In the past, it had a great reputation for car insurance rates, but in recent times it has lost its advantage. This is likely due to changes in the provincial law. Previously, insurers could only increase rates by 5% per year. Now that law has been scrapped, rates are heading as high as the Rockies.
In the battle of car insurance rates by province, the 6.4 million motorists of Quebec sure have something to smile about. They are officially bottom of the rankings - that is, they have the lowest car insurance rates in the whole country.
How much is car insurance in Quebec? A very affordable $717 on average per year. Rates have also been rising at a slow rate for the last several years.
So what is it that makes Quebec such a favourable place for car insurance? Compared with Ontario, the law in Quebec is not as generous. It does not give motorists the right to sue for pain and suffering or economic loss in excess of no-fault benefits.
Also, the administration of insurance is somewhat different. In Quebec, insurance is part government-administered and part private. The public insurance element covers bodily injury following an accident.
Private plan insurance is third-party liability insurance covering property damage. Both forms are mandatory, and then there are additional insurances that you can add on at your discretion. There are limits on bodily injury claims which help to keep rates lower.
In Quebec, this system gives you the flexibility to shop around for the lowest rates depending on your requirements.
The residents of Prince Edward Island often rate it a good or excellent place to live. Just adding to its charm are its car insurance rates. In fact, they are the second-lowest in the whole country, at just $861 per year.
However, in line with the rest of the country, rates are steadily rising. That said, it has a lower population and lower accident rate than many other provinces. It also benefits from strong competition between private insurers. Rates are set to continue to be competitive into the future.
New Brunswick comes in strongly as the third least expensive place in Canada when comparing car insurance rates by province.
It's a bit of a hike on Prince Edward Island at $867 per year, but that's nearly 50% less than Ontario. Insurance reforms have kept premiums on the lower end of the scale and they reward safer drivers.
One way they do this is through a scheme unique to New Brunswick - the First Chance Discount.
This regulation rates inexperienced drivers (those with less than 6 years experience). It gives them the same status as drivers with 6 years of clear driving experience if they take an approved driver training course. If you don't take the course, you are still credited three years of clear driving experience.
It's a great incentive to keep your driving record clean. As long as you maintain that record, you can benefit from much lower premiums.
Currently, the average car insurance cost in Nova Scotia stands at $891 per year. That puts it a little higher than third-placed New Brunswick in the standings. It's a province that rewards safe drivers with lower premiums. That gives residents a powerful incentive to keep their eyes on the road when behind the wheel!
Average premiums here come in at $1,140, a big rise from next placed Nova Scotia.
In Manitoba, car insurance premiums are administered solely by the government. That means there's no choice in the insurance market. However, there is good news, as Manitoba agreed to reduce auto insurance rates by 8.8% from April 1, 2021.
Rates in Newfoundland and Labrador are high and getting higher, with the average car insurance cost coming in at $1,168 per year.
Drivers benefit from generous laws, such as the right to sue for pain and suffering. The problem is they're paying for it in their premiums. At least you can shop around for the best deal, as private insurers are the only options in this province.
It's not surprising that drivers in Canada's breadbasket put in some serious kilometres every year. They're also short of choice when it comes to auto insurance. The provincially run Saskatchewan Government Insurance is your one and only option. Currently, that will set you back around $1,235 a year.
Like Quebec, you must also take out third-party liability insurance. This must provide $200,000 of coverage by law. They don't use your age, gender or where you live to determine the cost of insurance. Only your driving record counts. This produces a fairer system but leads to higher costs all around.
At the very bottom of the rankings of the most expensive car insurance rates by province in Canada is...British Columbia. Sorry BC. That works out at an eye-watering $1,832 a year.
It's another government-administered province and if you don't like the rates, then don't get a car. It's as simple as that. There is limited competition between government and private insurers. You can shop around for certain types of non-compulsory cover.
The good news is that change has arrived. The Insurance Corporate of BC will be reducing premiums by an average of 20% from the spring of 2021. Next year, the rankings could look very different.
It's true, you can't change how your province administers car insurance. But there are usually a few things you can do to reduce your premiums.
Where possible, shop around. Don't just accept your renewal quote. Use a comparison service to help you get the best deal and be prepared to negotiate. Also, consider reducing your coverage. If you have a lower value vehicle, weigh up the benefit of paying certain additional premiums. Changing to a lower value vehicle can also lead to lower premiums.
None of us can change our age, but we can become better drivers. Make sure that you always pay attention, put that phone away. You can even take a defensive driving course to sharpen your skills - make sure you let your insurer know. Also, by improving your credit rating you can reduce your premiums in some cases.
Some insurers offer multi-car discounts, so it can make sense to combine insurance for all vehicles in the household onto one premium.
Car insurance rates by province in Canada sure present a mixed picture. Most of us love the place we live, so to get the best rate, consider what you can control. Keep sharpening your skills, only pay for what you actually need, and don't be afraid to shop around for the best deal.
That's where Insurdinary comes in. We know all about insurance in Canada - in every province, and for every Canadian. Our team is ready and waiting to help you get the right deal for you. Contact us today to get quotes and start saving money on your auto insurance.