How Much is Insurance for a New Driver?

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Did you just get your driver's license? Congratulations! There’s nothing quite like the freedom of driving on your own for the first time.

Before you’re ready to hit the road though, you’ll need to insure your ride. 

Below we look at how much car insurance costs for young drivers, how it works and how to save!

Who is considered a young driver?

Let’s start by defining a young driver. Car insurance and driver's licenses work differently in each of Canada’s provinces and territories.  

Generally, Canadian provinces and insurers consider 18 to 24-year-olds to be young drivers, but experience matters too. Insurers will start to drop your rates as you accumulate years of accident-free driving. A 24-year-old driver who got their license at 18 should expect lower rates than a 24-year-old who just got one. 

Some provinces, notably Alberta, primarily consider driver experience rather than solely age. A new 18-year-old driver and a new 35-year-old driver in the province are capped to the same maximums for mandatory coverage using Alberta's Automobile Insurance Rate Board grid. They consider drivers with fewer than 8 years of driving experience to be inexperienced drivers. Drivers move down a step for each accident-free year. 

Here is when drivers may begin to drive in each province and territory of Canada. 

Province or TerritoryStandard age for a learner's permitStandard age for a restricted licenceStandard age for a full licence
Alberta141618
British Columbia161719*
Manitoba1616 years
and 9 months
18
New Brunswick161718
Newfoundland and Labrador161718
Northwest Territories151617
Nova Scotia161719
Nunavut151618
Ontario161718
Prince Edward Island161719
Quebec161719
Saskatchewan1616 years
and 9 months
18
Yukon151617 years
and 6 months
When young drivers can start

Good to know

There are a few exceptions to the information above:

  • In British Columbia, a full license may be available 6 months earlier to drivers through an accredited driver education program.
  • In Manitoba, a learner's permit is available to students at 15 years and 6 months through an accredited high school driver education program.
  • In Saskatchewan, a learner's permit is available at 15 years of age to students through an accredited high school driver education program.

How much is insurance for a new driver?

Car insurance for young drivers is expensive in Canada. One can easily pay $4,000 or $5,000 per year as a primary driver. As always, the driver's record, when they were licensed, where they live and their vehicle's make matters. Our team pulled quotes in Montreal, Toronto and Calgary to show how much car insurance can cost a new driver.

The driver in all of them is the same. He is a 22-year-old male driver living near a university. He has a clean driver's record and drives a paid-off 2018 Chevrolet Impala LS 4DR. He selects a $500 deductible for collision and comprehensive coverage. 

CityMontreal, QuebecToronto, OntarioCalgary, Alberta
Bodily InjuryN/A$1 million$1 million
Liability$1 million$1 million$1 million
Collision deductible$500.00$500.00$500.00
Comprehensive deductible$500.00$500.00$500.00
Monthly$164.25$317.67$408.48
Yearly$1,971.00$3,812.00$4,903.00
Young driver quotes: Quebec, Ontario, Alberta

Note that for consistency, no discounts are applied on these quotes, but the rates could go lower with a group discount, student discount or by adjusting coverage.

Because there are so many variables drivers should request and compare their personalized quotes. It’s easy to get started right here. 

Find the best car insurance in Canada!

Learn more

How to get cheaper insurance as a young driver?

There are some ways to get cheap car insurance at under 25. Here are a few tips to get you started:

UBI: usage-based insurance:

In exchange for installing a telematics app on your phone, insurers usually offer a sizeable up-front discount. The application may collect data including when and where you drive, how fast, and how hard you accelerate, brake and corner. Your actual driving determines what you pay, rather than a statistical analysis of your age group. UBI can make sense for safe, new drivers, but watch out! That data can drive up your premiums if the telematics app considers you a high-risk driver.

Get on a parent’s policy asap

Experience matters. When you shop for car insurance as the primary driver, it pays to have already been a secondary driver on a parent’s policy. 

The longer you drive incident-free, the lower your rates can go. Ask your parents to enroll you on their insurance as soon as you have your license as a young driver. In some provinces, including Ontario, this is required. All drivers in a household should be named as secondary or occasional drivers on the primary driver’s policy.   

Study

High school and university students who maintain good grades may be eligible for discounted car insurance rates. The student usually needs to be enrolled full-time in an accredited secondary-education institution. Students who are away at school and only drive occasionally while at home may also qualify for an away at school discount.

Ask about Alumni discounts

It isn’t just current students who can get cheaper car insurance, graduates can too. Many Canadian universities partner with insurers to offer their alumni insurance discounts. It is worth inquiring with your university or alumni association once you have your degree. It can help you save. Our team requested identical quotes for a 22-year female driver in Ontario with a 2016 Toyota Camry and $1 million in third-party liability coverage. One had a McGill University group rate and the other did not. The result? $36.08 off monthly premiums and more than a 23% discount. 

Car insurance premiumNo discountGroup rate
Monthly premium$151.83$115.75
Annual premium$1,822.00$1,389.00
Save with an alumni discount

Snow tires

When you purchase car insurance in Canada, your insurer may ask you if you equip snow tires during the winter months. Not all of Canada requires drivers to have snow tires, but it can help to save your wallet. Snow tires may entitle you to up to a 5% discount off your premiums in Ontario. They’re a safer option too, offering better traction when the mercury drops.

Why is car insurance for young drivers so expensive?

Insurance rates are determined by risk. As a group, inexperienced drivers are more likely to be in a car accident than other drivers.

Mothers Against Drunk Driving reports that young drivers have the highest death rate per kilometre driven of all groups in Canada under 75 years old. Of young drivers, 19-year-olds are the most at risk. This is because of their inexperience behind the wheel. Young drivers who consume drugs and alcohol are often inexperienced with both driving and drinking. When they combine the two, they increase their risk of a serious collision. 

Watch out!

Driving under the influence of drugs or alcohol is reckless and illegal. Don’t do it.

Staying on a parents insurance vs a separate policy:

Getting insurance as a secondary driver on a parent’s car insurance is cheaper than getting a policy of one’s own. 

Our team pulled a quote for a married 47-year-old woman in Brampton, Ontario with a 2019 Honda Civic that she is financing. We also got a quote for her 20-year-old son separately and a combined quote with the son as a secondary driver. The policy has $1 million in third-party liability and $1,000 deductibles for collision and comprehensive coverage. Here’s what we got.

Female 1975Female 1975 and Male 2002Male 2002
Liability$1 million$1 million$1 million
Collision deductible$1,000$1,000$1,000
Comprehensive deductible$1,000$1,000$1,000
Monthly$286.83$449.92$433.75
Yearly$3,442$5,399$5,205
Young drivers get cheaper car insurance rates as secondary drivers

It costs her $162.09 more to insure the son per month by naming him on her policy. This is a far cry from the $433.75 if he purchased coverage separately as the primary driver.  

When will my insurance premiums drop?

Some policyholders expect a big drop in their car insurance premiums when they reach 25. The truth is more complicated than that.

Car insurance premiums depend on many factors:

  • Location
  • Kilometres driven 
  • Your driving experience 
  • Your driving record
  • Previous incidents and claims
  • Your vehicle
  • Coverage amounts
  • Deductibles

At 25, assuming you’ve had your license since 18 and been incident-free, you may start to see your rates slowly drop. Rates trend downwards as you gain experience and age into less at-risk demographics. 

But if you have accumulated demerit points and previous claims, your rates might still increase!

A big factor as you turn 25 is where you are living. Your rates may increase if you’ve left your parents' home and no longer qualify as a secondary driver. Similarly, expect a rate hike if you move from a sleepy town to downtown Toronto or start commuting 80 kilometres daily. 

What is the best insurance for young drivers?

It’s a frustrating answer, but there is no best insurance for young drivers. Like with other drivers it depends on your profile, your vehicle, where you live and more. 

The best insurer for people just getting started driving is probably the one your parents are on. Signing up as a secondary driver on their plan will almost always be cheaper than getting a separate policy under your own name. 

Compare plans to get cheaper insurance as a young driver either as a primary or as a secondary driver. Carefully consider your vehicle and only purchase insurance coverage and endorsements that make sense for you, your family and your vehicle. 

Find the best car insurance in Canada!

Learn more

What is Young Drivers of Canada?

Young Drivers of Canada is a driver training organization that has been operating since 1970. It offers in-person classes and behind-the-wheel driving lessons to teach young drivers safer driving. Classes are available across the country, and it recently added online courses to its offerings too. 

Many insurers and provinces recognize the program. Graduating from an approved driving course is one of the best ways to get cheaper car insurance for young drivers.

Young Drivers of Canada isn’t the only program available. Many other schools have similar programs too. Check your provincial or territorial driving authority to find a recognized one.

See below for lists from Canada’s most populous provinces:

What’s the best car for a new driver?

For many drivers, their vehicle choice represents who they are. Young drivers who want to keep their insurance premiums down, though, should be strategic about what they drive. Older, less exciting rides usually cost less to insure. A ten-year-old paid-off sedan will be a cheaper choice than a brand-new leased pickup truck.

Car insurance companies in Canada use the CLEAR (Canadian Loss Experience Automobile Rating) system to determine premiums. The Insurance Bureau of Canada compiles this data and makes it available to the public here.  

Good to know

Price-sensitive younger drivers should hold off on that luxury SUV or sporty two-door BMW until they’re built a long record of incident-free driving.

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