What is the Best Car Insurance in Alberta for 2023?

James Rodriguez James Rodriguez updated on 2023-01-30

Car insurance rates are on the rise in Alberta. Did you know that the average car insurance premium in Alberta increased by 26% between 2017 and 2022?

This alarming stat from the Alberta Automobile Insurance Rate Board reinforces the importance of comparing to get the best insurance rates.

This guide takes a dive into how car insurance works in Alberta, what coverage is required and how you can save when it is time to renew your policy. Let's dive in!

How does car insurance work in Alberta?

Alberta requires drivers to hold a minimum mandatory car insurance. Auto insurance is purchased entirely on the private market but is regulated by the Alberta Automobile Insurance Rate Board (AIRB). The AIRB regulates car insurance rates and enforces the All Comers Rule, which requires insurers to offer mandatory coverage to all drivers in Alberta.

Good to know

Anyone can buy basic car insurance even if they have a less-than-perfect driving record.

Car insurance policies break down into the mandatory, optional and endorsement categories. Let's take a look at how each type works further below.

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What is the mandatory car insurance coverage in Alberta?

Mandatory coverage primarily covers medical needs and a driver’s liability if they collide with another vehicle, pedestrian or property:

Mandatory car insurance in AlbertaWhat it covers
Liability insurance
  • Injury to others and property damage
Accident benefits
  • Medical expenses for drivers, passengers and pedestrians
  • Income replacement for missed work after an automobile accident
DCPC insurance
  • Claims go through your own decision without waiting for other the driver's insurance
Mandatory car insurance in Alberta

In Alberta, the minimum mandatory car insurance amount is $200,000 in third-party liability coverage and accident benefits. As of 2022, policyholders must also have Direct Compensation for Property Damage (DPCD) coverage. This is true for both private and commercial vehicles. Most drivers choose to buy more than the minimum required coverage. It's a smart thing to do. Collisions are expensive and additional insurance is relatively cheap.

Did you know that Alberta leads Canada in car thefts? The AIRB reports that for every 250 vehicles, one is stolen each year in the province. Protect yourself with comprehensive coverage or a specified peril theft insurance option.

Good to know

DCPC, or Direct Compensation for Property Damage, coverage was only made mandatory in the province on January 1st, 2022. Because it is so new, it may not yet be familiar to all Albertan drivers. It’s already the law of the land in many other provinces. Coverage doesn’t change, just who pays for it. Following an accident, one works with their own insurer rather than the other driver’s company. Essentially it makes claims easier for policyholders.

What are the optional car insurance coverages in Alberta?

Car insurance companies also offer optional coverage. These common options offer greater protection for a driver’s own vehicle and finances:

Optional car insurance in AlbertaWhat it covers
Collision or upsetA policyholder's vehicle hits an object or another vehicle
Specified perilsSpecifically selected risks or perils like theft, vandalism and types of weather damage (flood, hail, wind, fire, etc)
ComprehensiveComprehensive car insurance covers all perils and collision or upset insurance.
Optional car insurance in Alberta.

Finally, endorsements are additional optional coverages. Options depend from company to company. They add to your monthly bill but add some interesting protection. Endorsements are add-ons like:

  • Accident forgiveness: your premiums won't raise after your first at-fault accident.
  • Waiver of depreciation: a reimbursement for the price you paid for a vehicle, not its depreciated price.
  • Family protection: this covers additional costs if you're in a hit-and-run or collision with an under-insured vehicle.
  • Loss of vehicle use coverage: pays for a rental vehicle if your car is temporarily unavailable following a claim.
  • Rate increase protection: your rates won't go up if you commit a minor traffic violation.
  • Comprehensive Cover Limited Glass: get a reduced premium for waving some coverage to your car’s windshield.

Optional coverage and endorsement are right for many drivers, but not everyone. It depends on one’s financial situation, risk tolerance and the vehicle's value. A car insurance broker or agent can help you balance the additional protection of endorsements and a comfortable insurance premium.

Watch out!

Thinking about skipping car insurance? It isn’t worth it. Getting caught without car insurance means a minimum fine of $2,875 the very first time. Fines and penalties escalate from there to potential jail time for not paying the fine and losing your driver's license.

What are the cheapest car insurance companies in Alberta?

No single insurer in Alberta can claim to offer the cheapest car insurance. The province has 45 different insurers! Providers determine insurance rates by looking at a driver’s driving history, profile, their vehicle’s make and the AIRB’s Grid Rate system. This means that there is a maximum price you can pay for mandatory coverage. AIRB does not set a minimum price.

Expert advice

The best way to get cheap car insurance in Alberta is by comparing offers. Don't buy car insurance after getting a single quote. Ask for three different car insurance quotes to figure out what is a fair price for you and your vehicle.

Not sure where to get started? Here are Alberta's top car insurers by market share:

Car insurance companies in AlbertaPercentage of Alberta's market
TD Insurance Group18%
Wawanesa Mutual Insurance Company15%
Desjardins General Insurance Group9%
The Co-operators Insurance Group8%
Aviva Canada Inc. Insurance Group7%
Allstate Canada Insurance Group5%
Alberta Motor Association Insurance Company4%
The Economical Insurance Group4%
Travelers Insurance Group2%
Alberta: largest auto insurers

How to get car insurance quotes in Alberta?

There are many options for car insurance companies in Alberta. Drivers in Alberta can get a quote through car insurance brokers, agents or directly from an insurer. When you request a car insurance quote, you will need:

  • The vehicle’s make and model
  • Your VIN (vehicle identification number)
  • Your Social Insurance Number
  • Driver’s license
  • Your previous insurance (if any)

Good to know

Insurers may ask you who else will drive the vehicle, where you’ll regularly drive and how much. They will look at your driving record. Demerit points, speeding tickets, previous accidents and insurance gaps will mean higher quotes.

When purchasing insurance it is important to compare because companies sometimes give very different rates. You should consider if you want to add collision or upset and comprehensive coverage in addition to the mandatory insurance. Beyond that, there are many endorsements to enhance your car insurance policy. If you have a new vehicle you might like a waiver of depreciation which reimburses you for the purchase value of your new vehicle if it is declared a total loss in the first 24 months you have it.

Try our comparing tool to get an online quote and the best car insurance rates in Alberta:

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Can you get temporary car insurance in Alberta?

A temporary car insurance is a solution for drivers who need insurance for less than the classic one-year car insurance contract. This type of policy can last for days, weeks, or even a few months, and is most often needed for Canadians wanting to go on a trip.

  • However, Alberta does not offer car insurance for any less than six months long contracts.

How much is car insurance in Alberta?

The average car insurance premium in Alberta was $1,514 in 2020. That works out to $126 per month. It is less than Ontario's car insurance or British Columbia's, but still higher than in many provinces, particularly, Quebec's car insurance.

A few factors drive up the average cost of car insurance in Alberta. The most notable of these are:

  • Significantly increased claims for catastrophic loss due to severe weather. Climate change means more significant weather events and more damage to vehicles.
  • A doubling of the average claim for bodily injury from $40,720 in 2011 to 77,983 in 2020. This was caused by increased legal representation and larger claims settlements.
  • More expensive vehicles. As vehicle prices rise, and as they incorporate more expensive-to-replace safety features and technology, they cost more to replace when something does go wrong.

Alberta’s AIRB sets the maximum car insurance rates using its grid rate calculator:

gridstep 1
Alberta calculates car insurance rates using this tool

Good to know

You can check AIRB's Grid Rate calculator yourself. Check what your maximum coverage should cost.

Insurance premiums in Alberta are calculated according to the following six factors:

  • The amount of third-party liability coverage (up to $2 million)
  • Your location
  • How long you have had your driver’s license
  • At-fault claims in the previous 6 years
  • Driving convictions
  • License suspensions or cancellations in the previous 15 years

Let's see how this works in practice:

Keep in mind

Maria just moved to Calgary and is getting car insurance in Alberta for the first time. She wants $2 million in third-party liability coverage, has taken driver training and has had a driver's license since 2006. She has no convictions, at-fault claims or license suspensions on her record. She scores a -15 on the Grid Step calculator capping her insurance premium at $1,067.

Here’s a second example:

Keep in mind

Lindsay is also new to Alberta and moves to Edmonton. She also wants $2 million in third-party liability coverage but hasn’t taken a driving training course. She first received her license in 2012. Unfortunately, she’s had two minor convictions in the past 3 years for speeding. She is a -10 in the grid step but has a 25% surcharge for those speeding incidents. Her maximum monthly premium is $1,834.

Want some more information? This PDF can help you get started:

How to get cheaper car insurance in Alberta?

Want to lower your car insurance premiums in Alberta? Here are a few ways to do it:

  • Ask about discounts: Most insurers offer cheaper rates for being a university alumnus or working for a specific company.
  • Choose a higher deductible: While a $500 deductible sounds better than one that's $1,000, it is not always the case. You can come out ahead with the higher deductible. Monthly premium savings quickly make up the difference.
  • Park in a garage: Parking inside puts your car at less risk for theft and weather damage.
  • Install approved security features: Reducing your risk can help lower your premiums.
  • Maintain a good driving record: Demerit points, convictions and at-fault claims will drive up your insurance premiums for years.
  • Install a telematics app: Downloading your insurer's phone app can save you 10% immediately and more down the line. It records how hard you brake and accelerate and how fast your drive to determine premiums.
  • Pay in full: Earn a discount by paying annually instead of the classic car insurance monthly payments.
  • Bundle home and auto insurance: Add a car and home insurance bundle or multiple vehicles under the same household to save.

Finally, the most important thing that you can do to get cheaper car insurance is to compare rates from multiple insurers. Get started today.

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New car insurance: what is the grace perimod in Alberta?

An car insurance grace period is the amount of time you have between the subscrition of your car insurance and your first payment without risking cancellation for failure to pay. This grace period varies a lot from one Canadian region to another.

  • The province of Alberta has a 14-day grace period for car insurance.

How much is car insurance for a new driver in Alberta?

Unfortunately, new and young drivers in Alberta pay more. Overall they are riskier to cover than drivers with a long and clean driving record.

A driver who just received their class 5 Alberta driver’s license and is purchasing insurance for the first time scores a zero on the Grid system. Here are the maximums that they could expect to pay. Over time they may move up the grid if they commit infractions or move down for years of safe driving and see their rates fall.

These are the prices for mandatory coverage. With optional coverage and endorsements, the average cost would be higher:

AreaCompleted Driver TrainingGrid ScoreMax Premium
($200,000 third-party liability coverage)
Max Premium
($2 million third-party liability coverage)
Calgary 0$2,080$2,667
Calgary -2$1,872$2,400
Edmonton 0$2,080$2,667
Edmonton -2$1,872$2,400
Rest of Alberta 0$1,486$1,905
Rest of Alberta -2$1,337$1,715
North of Alberta 0$1,412$1,810
North of Alberta -2$1,271$1,629
Car insurance for a new driver in Alberta: how much?

Expert advice

Did you know that taking a registered driving course in will drop your 2 points on the AIRB grid? It's a great way to save.

It's easy to find a recognized driving course near you using the PDF below whether you're in Red Deer, Lethbridge, Banff or somewhere else:

How to cancel car insurance in Alberta?

Did you find a cheaper rate? Sell your car? Have a bad experience with customer service? Sometimes you need to cancel your existing policy. It’s not hard to do in Alberta.

Car insurance usually runs for a year, but you can cancel it earlier. Doing so incurs a termination fee, so weigh the cost savings against it. Most policyholders wait until their current policy is expiring to switch to avoid the additional fee.

You need to contact your existing insurer directly to cancel. Your insurer may ask for your policy number and new insurance info.

Watch out!

Always ask for written confirmation and have a replacement policy ready to avoid unpleasant surprised. Insurance coverage gaps will drive up future insurance rates.

Who can drive my car under my insurance in Alberta?

Car insurance in Canada covers a vehicle, not a single driver. This means that you may temporarily lend your car to your brother who flew in for a visit. There is one caveat. It will affect your car insurance rates if the person borrowing your vehicle commits an infraction or gets in an accident. Only lend your car to someone that you trust.

The person borrowing your car needs to be licensed and have your oral or written permission. Your insurance will not cover the if they operate the vehicle while under the influence of drugs or alcohol or while committing an illegal act.

Good to know

Anyone who regularly uses the car needs to be added as a secondary driver to your policy. Have multiple drivers in your home? They should all be on your policy. For example, a teenager at home who uses the car a couple of times per week is considered an occasional or secondary driver.

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