Car Insurance: Which is Best? 2022
Most Canadians have no shortage of choices when buying auto insurance. Drivers living in populated provinces with private insurance systems like Ontario and Alberta have dozens of companies to pick from.
This guide delves into auto insurance in Canada. What is required, how much it costs, who offers the best insurance and how the law changes between provinces.
What are the best car insurance companies in Canada?
It isn’t easy to choose the best car insurance because everyone’s situation is different. Personal preference, where you drive, how you drive, who you are and what vehicle you have all play a role in determining insurance rates and the best coverage options for you.
With that in mind, here is a list of Canada's most popular car insurance options to get you started:
Allstate: feature-rich auto insurance offerings
This insurance giant offers a wide range of auto insurance options beyond mandatory liability, accident benefits and DCPD. Add coverage for collision or upset, comprehensive, claim forgiveness, disappearing deductible, minor offence forgiveness, waiver of depreciation and more. Ride for Hire insurance is also available for people who drive for ride-shared services, which many providers do not offer.
Policyholders can save 5% for signing up for the DriveWise app and up to 30% for driving safely. Discounted insurance rates are also available for some good students, retirees and loyal policyholders, as well as features like park assist cameras, anti-theft devices and driver assistance systems.
Aviva: options for ride-sharing services
Aviva offers quality car insurance with lots of helpful endorsements. Options include transportation replacement, minor conviction protection, disappearing deductible and accident waiver. Notably, Aviva offers ride-sharing insurance for people who use their personal vehicles for paying passengers including Uber and Lyft. Not all insurers offer this, even as an option.
Discounts are available for retirees, for policyholders who stay claims-free and for bundling policies.
Want to save more? Enrolling and installing the Aviva Journey app instantly saves policyholders 10% on insurance premiums. The following year, safe drivers can see their premiums drop by as much as 20%.
Co-operators: car insurance through a co-operative
Co-operators is a Canadian-owned insurance co-operative, which means that they run their business differently from other providers. They offer services in challenging markets and build community partnerships because their model means that they are democratically controlled by members. The Co-operators offers the mandatory car insurance you would expect from a corporation throughout Canada with optional coverage add-ons including accident forgiveness, family protection, waiver of depreciation and more.
Desjardins: great insurance with unique endorsement options
Aside from the typical mandatory coverage and expected optional coverages, Desjardins has compelling options not offered by most insurers. The 5-year Replacement Option is a standout endorsement. Protect your investment for a full five years. In the event of a total loss, you can get a new replacement. In a partial loss, unrepairable parts are replaced with new ones.
Besides that, you can save up to 15% for bundling car and home insurance, driving an eco-friendly vehicle or going incident free for three years. Young drivers enjoy reasonable rates and can get a rebate if they’re caisse members.
Save 10% immediately and up to 25% after 6 months for signing up got Ajusto, Desjardin's driving telematics app.
Economical: excellent coverage even for high-risk drivers
Economical is a personal and car insurance leader. Policyholders enjoy 24-hour emergency service and customizable coverage. Insurance is available to protect against lawsuits, third-party liability, medical expenses, vehicle repairs, theft and lost wages. Economical makes its policies available through auto insurance brokers, so you can easily compare products and insurance rates until you find a great policy for your car, van, truck or SUV.
Finally, do you have a problematic driving record? Economical is a leading special risk provider.
Onlia: your all-online car insurance provider
Onlia makes car insurance easy. All online means that you don’t have to speak with a car insurance broker or an agent. Everything is easy to access through the website or mobile apps. Coverage is easy to customize so feel free to add Family Protection, increase third-party liability, automobile price guarantee, permission to carry paying passengers and more.
Onlia is a subsidiary of the Toronto-based Fairfax Financial Holdings Limited. It is underwritten by the Verassure Insurance Company.
Optimum: custom build your plan with many endorsements
Optimum car insurance is available through a network of car insurance brokers, which means expert advice and competitive pricing. Add the endorsements that make sense to you with customizable coverage. Liability coverage is available for up to $2 million. There are discounts for drivers over 40, retirees, students who drive occasionally and people who bundle multiple vehicles and/or home and auto insurance.
The Optimum Group is Canadian-owned and long ago expanded outside of Montreal and its native Quebec.
Promutuel: car insurance with a discount for you
Promutuel car insurance is comprehensive with many endorsements so you can customize it to fit your lifestyle. The well-designed mobile apps and website make it easy to access your insurance information and submit a claim wherever you are.
Many discounts are available for:
- Bundling car and home insurance (10%)
- Bundling multiple vehicles (cars, ATVs, snowmobiles, RVs)
- Going claim-free for 3 years (20%)
- Installing an anti-theft system (5%)
- Fulltime Students under 24
- Low mileage: under 12,000km per year (10%)
Promutuel is a Quebecois institution getting its start with farm insurance in 1852.
RBC: great emergency roadside assistance
RBC car insurance is a solid choice from Canada’s largest bank. Beyond basic mandatory coverage, policyholders can choose Family Protection, Waiver of Depreciation, accident forgiveness and more. One of its best add-ons is the Satellite Program which can give emergency roadside assistance if you ever need your vehicle towed, a flat tire fixed, or a battery jump. Run out of fuel, lock your keys inside or get your vehicle stuck? Don’t worry RBC can help with that too.
Sonnet: buy car insurance 100% online
Sonnet is an online Canadian car insurer. Get a car insurance quote in minutes without having to speak to an agent. If you ever need one though, don’t worry. Insurance agents are available by telephone, email or chat. If you’ve been in an accident you can make a claim 24/7 and benefit from a towing service through Sonnet. Endorsements include Accident Forgiveness, Ticket Forgiveness, Non-owned vehicles, and the Vroom bundle with roadside assistance, vehicle replacement without depreciation and a hit-and-run deductible.
Finish your studies? Sonnet has the Canadian University Alumni discount for policyholders who buy either car or home insurance.
TD: popular insurance from a Big 5 bank
TD Insurance is a popular option for auto insurance and as one of Canada’s largest insurers, it is a safe choice. Customize your coverage with options for accident forgiveness, a depreciation waiver and Grand Touring insurance if you drive across Canada or in the U.S. Finally, there are a few ways to save on your insurance rates. You can bundle car and home insurance, insure multiple vehicles or switch to an electric or hybrid. Finally, the TD MYAdvantage app lets safe drivers save up to 25% by analyzing how they drive.
What is car insurance?
Car insurance, or auto insurance, is a type of insurance policy that protects drivers and their passengers. It covers cars, SUVs, trucks and vans. The insurer assumes the risk in exchange for a monthly payment known as a premium. Driving is so commonplace that we rarely think about the potential consequences. In a collision, we risk serious bodily injury and have substantial financial and legal liability. Insurance steps in to compensate drivers for damaged property, medical bills and lost income should the worst happen.
How does car insurance work in Canada?
Each province operates car insurance a little differently (more on that below), so here we'll cover generalities.
There are a few different types of car insurance coverage. Here’s how each works:
|Insurance type||What it covers|
|Liability insurance||This covers injury to others and property damage.|
|Accident benefits||This covers drivers, passengers and pedestrians. Medical expenses and income replacement for missed work stemming from an injury|
|Uninsured auto insurance||Covers you if you’re hit by an uninsured driver or in a hit-and-run. In those cases the other driver’s insurance would be responsible, so with this option, your insurance compensates you if there isn’t another insurer to step in and make you whole.|
|DCPC insurance||Direct Compensation for Property Damage If your vehicle is damaged in an accident, your insurance pays for it regardless if you are deemed not at fault. This expedites repairs versus provinces without this system where drivers may have to claim damages from the insurer of the other driver. This system is new to Alberta in 2022 but already existed in many Canadian provinces. (it is required in many but not all provinces)|
|Insurance type||What it covers|
|Collision and Upset||Coverage for when a vehicle hits an object or other vehicle|
|Specified Perils||Insurance against risks, or perils, that are specifically bought. Examples include theft, vandalism and damage from flood, hail, wind and fire.|
|Comprehensive||Comprehensive car insurance covers all perils and collision insurance|
|All Perils||Collision and comprehensive|
Good to know
Insurance covers a principal driver(s) and you can list occasional and additional drivers to your policy. If the person borrowing your car is in an accident, it will be reported on your insurance record. So be sure to only let a trusted driver borrow your vehicle.
What is a premium in car insurance?
In car insurance, a premium refers to the amount a policyholder pays to their insurer. This works out to an average cost for car insurance of $60 to $150 per month depending on your province.
It may be much higher if you are a new driver, have a problematic driving record, own an expensive vehicle, or live and drive in areas that generate a lot of insurance claims.
This payment is often monthly. In some cases, you may be able to get a nice discount on your premiums for paying annually.
What is a deductible?
A deductible is an amount that a policyholder pays when making a claim. The insurance covers the remainder. Here is an example of how car insurance deductibles work:
Rachel lives in Calgary. She collides with a Tesla 3 while pulling her Ford F-150 out of a parking space. It’s not a serious accident and nobody is hurt, but there is damage to the Tesla’s passenger side door and to her bumper. She’s deemed at fault. Without insurance, she’d be out the $4,000 of bodywork the garage quotes to repair the vehicles. With insurance, she only needs to pay her $500 deductible for collision insurance.
Good to know
While a typical deductible could be $500, you may set it lower or higher. The lower the deductible the more your monthly rate will be. If you know that you can afford a $1,000 deductible in the event of a claim, you’ll save money each month by opting for the higher deductible.
How does car insurance differ between provinces?
In Canada, car insurance is regulated at a provincial or territorial level. This means that every place functions a little bit differently from one another. While much of the country operates on a mandatory private insurance model, a few provinces offer public auto insurance through public Crown corporations. You can often purchase additional private coverage in provinces with public coverage.
Here is how to provinces’ insurance requirements break down:
Provinces and territories with private auto insurance
- New Brunswick
- Newfoundland and Labrador
- Northwest Territories
- Nova Scotia
- Prince Edward Island
Provinces with public auto :
- British Columbia: through the Insurance Corporation of British Columbia (ICBC)
- Manitoba: through the Manitoba Public Insurance (MPI)
- Saskatchewan: through the Saskatchewan Government Insurance (SGI)
Hybrid car insurance
Finally, Quebec operates a hybrid model. The public SAAQ (Société de l'assurance automobile du Québec) covers personal injuries caused by a car collision. This is paid through taxes and annual driver's license fees. Drivers in Quebec are required to purchase a minimum $50,000 third-party insurance policy on the private market. This covers civil liability and property damage.
Is car insurance required in Canada?
Yes, you need insurance to drive a motor vehicle in Canada. When accidents happen, auto insurance is critical for covering drivers, passengers, pedestrians, victims and property damage.
Despite provincial differences, liability coverage and accident benefits coverage are universally required.
Thinking about driving without insurance? Don’t. Provincial penalties vary but getting caught without insurance exposes you to serious legal and financial trouble.
For example, under Ontario’s Compulsory Automobile Insurance Act you could be fined $5,000 to $25,000 the first time you're caught. If you get caught again the fine will be between $10,000 and $50,000 and you could lose your license for a year.
Even if you don’t get stopped by a police officer for a traffic violation or control, you’re still taking a big risk. If you get in an accident without insurance you may be personally liable for paying the substantial damages and resulting medical expenses. Even if you think car insurance is expensive, the cost of not having it can be even more.
How much insurance is required in Canada?
Depending on the province, Canadian drivers may be required to have the following types of insurance:
- Accident Benefits
- Third-party Liability
- Uninsured Automobile
- Direct Compensation for Property Damage
Drivers in almost all provinces must hold at least $200,000 in third-party liability insurance. The exceptions are Quebec and Nova Scotia, which require $50,000 and $500,000, respectively.
|Province||Public or Private||Mandatory min third-party liability||Mandatory Accident Benefits||DCPD required||Collision and comprehensive required|
*Enhanced accident benefits
Requires Personal Injury Protection Plan
|Newfoundland and Labrador||Private||$200,000|
|Prince Edward Island||Private||$200,000|
Good to know
While $200,000 sounds like a lot, it may not be. Vehicles and medical bills are expensive. We recommend purchasing more than the minimum. If you are at fault for an accident that causes $1 million in total damages and you only have the $200,000 minimum, you may be responsible for covering the rest!
How much does car insurance cost in Canada?
The province you live in makes a big difference in your car insurance rates. According to numbers published by the Insurance Bureau of Canada, provincial average rates range from a low of $717 in Quebec to a high of $1,832 in British Columbia per year. That works out to approximately $60 to $150 per year.
Use the map below to see how your province stacks up:
Average cost car insurance
region.avg per year
Keep in mind that the numbers above are only provincial averages. How much you pay for car insurance in Canada depends on many other factors.
Factors that affect your car insurance include:
- How much insurance you choose to buy
- The value of your vehicle
- The vehicle’s CLEAR rating
- Your driving history
- How much you drive
- Your age
- Whether you are male or female: male drivers are considered to have a higher risk profile.
- If you park in a garage or on the street
- Your province
Which province has the cheapest car insurance in Canada?
According to the IBC, the cheapest province to insure your car in Canada is Quebec, with an average annual car insurance premium of $717.
This is likely because of its hybrid insurance model that only required drivers to purchase third-party liability coverage. Whereas in most other provinces, the mandatory minimum is $200,000, Quebec requires $50,000. Rounding out the top three cheapest provinces are Prince Edward Island at $816 and New Brunswick at $867.
Which province has the most expensive car insurance in Canada?
The most expensive province to insure your vehicle is British Columbia, with an average car insurance premium of $1,832 per year.
British Columbia has the most expensive car insurance in Canada despite its public model, BC car insurance is a monopoly. Ontario and Alberta are next at $1,528 and $1,514, respectively.
How much car insurance should I buy?
That depends. When purchasing car insurance, don’t hesitate to ask your car insurance agent or broker.
It is a good idea to have at least $1 to $2 million in third-party liability coverage. Beyond that, you need to weigh your financial situation and ability to cover, or not, the costs of an accident. Ask yourself what would happen if your vehicle were unavailable.
If you have an expensive vehicle, you’ll almost certainly want collision and comprehensive damage insurance. The average price of a new car in Canada is close to $50,000 in 2022, and used car prices are at an all-time high, Replacing your ride after a collision isn’t a cheap proposition. A good comprehensive policy and a depreciation waiver can help to make you whole so that you get a replacement vehicle sooner.
On the other hand, collision and comprehensive may not be worth it for an old beater. If a vehicle isn’t worth much, you may prefer to save on insurance and set that extra money aside for your next vehicle purchase.
Other add-ons, or endorsements, may be worth considering too. Let's take a look at them next.
What additional coverage options are available on car insurance?
Besides the typical collision, comprehensive and specified perils coverage, your insurer may offer some other endorsements. These include:
- Accident Forgiveness: Your first at-fault accident won’t increase your premiums
- Depreciation waiver: Following an accident, you are reimbursed for the full purchase price of your vehicle instead of its depreciated value. Cars immediately depreciate when you drive them off the lot. Without this endorsement, you may not receive enough following an accident to replace your ride with a new one. A car dealership or financing company may also offer your gap insurance to cover this discrepancy.
- Family Protection: If you or your family members are in an accident with an under-insured driver or in a hit-and-run, this option covers the costs beyond their limit.
- Loss of vehicle use insurance: this option covers the cost of a rental car if your insured vehicle is being repaired following an accident
- Liability for damage to non-owned vehicles: this covers collision damage for a vehicle that you borrow or a rental car.
- Minor Conviction Protection: minor traffic violations like a speeding ticket aren’t factored into your
- Roadside Assistance: This covers services like towing, changing a tire, jumping a battery and winching if you run into an issue while driving.
How to get insurance for a car?
Auto insurance can be purchased directly through an insurer or a broker, but we think that the easy way is to buy car insurance online using the comparison tool at the top of this page.
An insurer will want to know the following when you ask for a car insurance quote:
- Where you drive. A driver in Edmonton won't pay the same as one in Toronto or in Ottawa.
- How much you drive
- About you and your driving record
- About other drivers who will regularly use the vehicle
- The vehicle itself
- What optional coverages and amounts you need or want
It is usually quick and easy to buy coverage so you should be covered in no time. Policies generally last for a year.
How to get cheaper car insurance? Our 14 top tips to save!
Driving is expensive. Vehicles, repairs, gas and insurance all add up quickly. Fortunately, you can save a lot on insurance every month with a little knowledge. Here are our top tips for getting the cheapest car insurance.
- Avoid traffic violations: A clean driving record means lower premiums. Increased car insurance rates might be the most painful part of a speeding ticket.
- Bundle insurance: Most providers will give you a discount if you buy both home insurance and car insurance policies with them or if your family has multiple vehicles insured.
- Call your insurer: An insurance provider can often help you balance coverage options and get a cheaper car insurance quote. You won’t know if you don’t ask.
- Compare: Different providers sometimes quote very different insurance rates. Get a few quotes before committing to a new insurance policy.
- Consider options - Only carrying the coverage and endorsements that you actually need can save you serious money.
- Discounts: Graduates of some universities and members of some professional associations are eligible for group discounts. Ask.
- Higher deductibles: Increase your deductibles to lower your rates. It will save you every month when you pay your bill even if it costs more if you make a claim. The cost savings quickly pay for themselves if you go claim free.
- Install an anti-theft system, backup camera or other safety features: Less likely to be stolen or be in a serious accident means less risk of a claim.
- Loyalty discounts: Some insurers will offer you discounts for staying with them for a few years or give you a perk like diminishing deductibles. For example, your deductible may decrease by $100 for every year you’ve held a policy
- Park inside: Leaving your vehicle in a garage protects it from hail, window and other weather damage and reduces the chances of it being stolen. Many insurers will share those savings with you by offering cheaper rates.
- Pay annually: If you can swing the larger bill, pay for a year of insurance at once. You may get a 5-7% discount off your insurance rates for your trouble.
- Review every year: Time to renew your car insurance? It’s worth setting aside some time to get insurance quotes. Another insurer may have a better deal. If not, when you renew you might decide that it’s the right time to drop an unused endorsement from your policy
- Take a class: Passing a driver training class can save you on premiums, especially if you are a new driver.
- Telematics apps: Many car insurance companies in Canada will give you a discount if you agree to install and use iPhone or Android app that tracks your driving habits. You can save big by following the speed limit, not using your phone while driving and avoiding sudden braking and quick acceleration.
Remember that cheap today might not be cheap tomorrow. When you’re in an accident and don’t have the coverage you need, the cheapest car insurance rate doesn’t matter. Shop wisely and weigh what coverage you need.
Does insurance on a leased car work differently?
Whether you lease a vehicle or own it, you’re required to have an auto insurance policy. For an insurer, it doesn’t make much of a difference if you lease, own or as financing a car, you’ll pay the same thing. They care about the car’s make, your location and your driving record.
Just remember that when you lease a car, the dealership technically owns the vehicle, not you. Because of this, they can require you to buy greater car insurance coverage than you might otherwise choose for yourself.
You may be required to list them as an additional interest on your insurance policy. And should you make a claim, the insurance company will settle the claim with the car dealership, not you.
How do I cancel car insurance?
Auto insurance policies vary, so you’ll need to check your specific policy to know for sure. Usually, you can cancel at any time, but by doing so before the expiration date you may incur a cancellation fee. You need to check your contract or contact your insurance broker or representative to be sure.
Good to know
Remember that you need auto insurance to operate a motor vehicle in Canada. If you are cancelling because you want to switch insurers, you should line up your new policy before you get rid of the old one. A gap without auto insurance may mean a higher price next time.
Does car insurance cover theft?
Unfortunately, auto insurance does not automatically cover theft in Canada. If you only have the required coverage types and your car goes missing one day your insurer won’t pay to replace it.
If you want to be covered for theft, vandalism, weather damage and more, you should opt for comprehensive coverage. Alternatively, if you’re concerned about theft where you live, but don’t want to pay for insurance against flood damage you could opt for a specified perils policy and purchase theft insurance.
Be aware that theft insurance is likely to reimburse you for what the vehicle is worth today, not what you paid for it. Theft insurance with a depreciation waiver plan can protect the full value of your vehicle.
What car is cheap on insurance?
Looking for the cheapest car to insure? Car insurance companies with the CLEAR (Canadian Loss Experience Automobile Rating) system ratings when setting car insurance premiums.
Generally speaking, sports cars and luxury vehicles are the most expensive to insure.
Insurers use historical data to weigh what vehicles are most and least likely to generate an insurance claim. Consumers can view this data themselves through the Insurance Bureau of Canada. It isn’t exclusively a car’s price tag that affects the cost of insurance. Expensive vehicles are sometimes less expensive to insure than their cheaper counterparts because safety features like side airbags or anti-theft systems mean fewer or smaller claims.
Vehicles rated in green are statistically less likely to generate a claim and are cheaper to insure. Red-rated cars and trucks are more expensive to insure because their owners historically make more claims. The cheapest car to insure for collision damage based on these ratings is a 2008 Saturn Solstice GXPSKY Redline Convertible. The most expensive is a 2018 BMW X6 4DR AWD.
How much is insurance for a new driver?
It is no secret that auto insurance for new drivers costs more. High-risk means high premiums. The auto insurance broker Surex gives a range of $3,000 to $7,000 for a driver under 25 in Ontario. That’s a hefty premium, but there are ways of bringing that sum down now and after your 25th birthday:
- Maintaining a clean driving record.
- Take a driving safety class. For example, the Ontario Ministry of Transportation keeps a list of government-approved driving schools. After your course, you could be eligible for as much as a 15 or 20% discount on your premiums.
- Get a full unrestricted driver's licence as soon as possible. In Ontario, this is the G License and is available at 18. In Alberta and British Columbia, it’s a Class 5 license. Names vary between provinces and territories.
- Students can also save by maintaining good grades.
What vehicles need insurance?
Cars aren’t the only motor vehicles that need insurance in Canada. Provincial guidelines vary and you may not need insurance for all engine sizes and usage, but vehicle insurance is available for the following:
- ATV insurance
- Boat insurance
- RV insurance
- Motorcycle insurance
- Scooter and moped insurance
- Snowmobile insurance
Keeping reading about car insurance
- RBC Auto Insurance Review 2022
- TD Auto Insurance Review 2022
- How Much is Insurance for a New Driver?
- Who Has the Best Car Insurance in Quebec for 2022?
- What is the Best Auto Insurance in Alberta for 2022?
- What is the Best Car Insurance in Ontario for 2022?
- [Blog] 4 Things You Need to Know about Extended Car Warranties
- Is Onlia Car Insurance Right for You?
- [Blog] Winter Driving Tips
- Car insurance - Typeform
- What are Canada's Top Extended Car Warranties?
- [Auto] Alberta remained the more negatively affected province by car thefts in 2021
- [Auto] The Atlantic provinces have the least car thefts in Canada
- [Auto] Car thefts have cost $542 million to insurers in 2021 in Canada and the 2018 Lexus RX was the most stolen model
- [Auto] One car was stolen every 48 minutes in 2021 in Ontario and the 2018 Lexus RX was the most stolen model
- [Road safety] Distracted driving is responsible for 41% of road fatalities in Saskatchewan
- [Road safety] Distracted driving is responsible for 32% of road fatalities in Manitoba
- [Road safety] Distracted driving is responsible for 25% of road fatalities in Alberta
- [Road safety] Distracted driving represents about 15% of road fatalities in Ontario
- [Road safety] $102.3 million : the cost of distracted driving for car insurers every year in Canada
- [Road safety] Distracted driving is responsible for 27% of road fatalities in BC
- Auto thefts in Canada (2021) : Alberta the most affected province, Honda the most stolen brand
- How to Cancel Car Insurance?
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- What are the best car insurance in Edmonton?
- Find the cheapest car insurance quotes in Nova Scotia
- What is the cheapest car insurance in Calgary?
- Find the cheapest car insurance quotes in New Brunswick
- Find the cheapest car insurance quotes in British Columbia