How much is car insurance for new drivers? 2024 quotes

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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, you’ll need to insure your ride. But car insurance for new and young drivers can be expensive. We've got you covered.

In this guide, we take you through how car insurance works for young drivers, how much it costs, how to find the best plans and tips to save and lower your premium. You can use our free tool to compare car insurance quotes and get the best deal now.

Car insurance for new drivers: 7 Key Takeaways

  1. Premiums are typically higher for young drivers aged 18 to 24.
  2. High risk associated with young drivers generally leads to higher premiums.
  3. Consistent, accident-free driving can lower premiums.
  4. Young drivers typically face annual insurance costs between $4,000 to $5,000.
  5. Selecting an older, less expensive vehicle can also significantly lower insurance costs.
  6. Save money with usage-based insurance and by adding yourself to your parent's policy.
  7. Maintaining good grades, using alumni discounts, and fitting snow tires can get extra discounts.

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. 

Good to know

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 car 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:

Provinces or territoriesStandard age for a learner's permitStandard age for a restricted licenceStandard age for a full licence
Alberta
141618
British Columbia
161719*
Manitoba
1616 years and 9 months18
New Brunswick
161718
NL
161718
Northwest Territories
151617
Nova Scotia
161719
Nunavut
151618
Ontario
161718
Prince Edward Island
161719
Quebec
161719
Saskatchewan
1616 years
and 9 months
18
Yukon
151617 years
and 6 months
Age limits to legal driving in Canada's provinces and territories.

Expert advice

There are a few exceptions to the information above:

  • In British Columbia (BS), 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 car insurance for new drivers?

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 car insurance quotes in Montreal, Toronto and Calgary to show how much car insurance can cost a new driver.

The prices below are for a 22-year-old male driver living near a university. The student 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.

CriteriasMontreal, QuebecToronto, OntarioCalgary, Alberta
Bodily Injury
N/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 price of car insurance for new drivers
$164.25$317.67$408.48
Yearly cost of car insurance for new drivers
$1,971.00$3,812.00$4,903.00
Young driver car insurance quotes: Quebec, Ontario, Alberta

Good to know

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. Get started using our free comparison tool at the top of this page.

How much is car insurance in Alberta for new drivers?

Alberta car insurance rates are one of the highest in the country, coming a close second to Ontario which has the most expensive premiums in Canada overall be it young or experienced drivers. However, for new drivers in Alberta, the rates could be higher than their counterparts in Ontario.

According to the 2023 market report by the Alberta Auto Insurance Rate Board (AIRB), an 18-year-old female driver in Alberta might see monthly insurance costs ranging between $5,664 and $10,152 per year. Moreover, any marks against your driving history could lead to higher premiums.

How much is car insurance for new drivers in Ontario?

As mentioned, car insurance premiums for new drivers in Ontario are notably higher due to their lack of driving experience, which insurers view as a higher risk.

For example, 18-year-old male drivers in Ontario may see annual insurance costs ranging between approximately $3,751 and $10,928. On the other hand, female drivers of the same age could find their rates falling between about $3,173 and $7,127 per year.

Why is car insurance for new 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.

How to get cheap car insurance for new drivers?

There are some ways to get cheap car insurance, whether you're a new driver over 25, under 25, or even under 21. Here are a few tips to get "low-cost" car insurance for new drivers:

  • UBI: usage-based insurance (also known as black box car 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.

Watch out!

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 as soon as possible.

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, this is required (it is for car insurance in Ontario). All drivers in a household should be named as secondary or occasional drivers on the primary driver’s policy.

  • Get good grades. Yes, you can get discounts if you get good scores in school.

High school and university students who maintain good grades may be eligible for discounted student 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 car insurance quotes for a 22-year-old 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 on car insurance with an alumni discount.
  • Get 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.

What is the best insurance for new drivers?

It’s a frustrating answer, but there is no single best insurance for young and new 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 name. 

Here are a few providers who offer interesting discounts that could benefit young drivers.

  • Belair Direct: Offers student discounts and a "Smart Driving" telematics program for savings based on driving habits. Online quotes come with up to a 10% discount.
  • TD Insurance: Provides student discounts and flexible payment plans, with a 10% savings for online car or tenant insurance purchases. The TD MyAdvantage app offers up to 25% off for Ontario and Quebec residents.
  • The Co-operators: Features student discounts and a variety of car insurance options to suit different needs.
  • Economical Car Insurance: Known for competitive rates and exceptional service, Economical offers multiple discounts and programs, including:
    • Multi-vehicle discount for insuring more than one car.
    • Conviction-free discount for a clean driving record.
    • Safe driver discount for no claims.
    • Assistance for high-risk drivers through its Perth Insurance subsidiary.
    • Disappearing deductible program that reduces your deductible for each claim-free term.

Expert advice

Compare plans using our free tool 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. 

Should you stay on a parent's car insurance or have 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:

CriteriasFemale 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
Car insurance monthly cost
$286.83$449.92$433.75
Car insurance yearly price
$3,442$5,399$5,205
Young drivers get cheaper car insurance rates as secondary drivers

Keep in mind

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 as a young driver?

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.

Watch out!

However, 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 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 of 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.

Good to know

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

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Alexandre Desoutter
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Alexandre Desoutter has been working as editor-in-chief and head of press relations at HelloSafe since June 2020. A graduate of Sciences Po Grenoble, he worked as a journalist for several years in French media, and continues to collaborate as a as a contributor to several publications.

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