Average Home Insurance Cost Canada – What is the Average Cost of Car Insurance for Canadians? The average amount of car insurance Canadians pay varies by province. For example, Ontario and British Columbia drivers can expect to pay about twice as much as Quebec and Prince Edward Island.
So, what is the average car insurance you can expect to pay, and why? Here’s a closer look at average rates by state across the country:
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By law, you need insurance to be on the road – for your own safety and that of others. We as Canadians pay a lot for this protection, depending on your province and many other factors (age, driving record, car model, etc.).
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Unfortunately, car insurance rates have been on the rise, and for many it has never been more challenging – from an affordability perspective – to get coverage. Let’s take a look at the variation between average car insurance rates across Canada, examine where rates have risen, and see if there’s hope for a trend reversal.
Note: IBC calculates the average premium in each state by dividing the total premiums per state by the total number of personal vehicles per state.
Let’s start with the bad news first. Drivers in Canada’s westernmost province pay the highest insurance rates in Canada, averaging just over $1,800 a year. That’s over $700 since 2015 – a whopping 63% increase in less than five years! Unlike other provinces, BC insurance is run by the crown corporation (ICBC), so if you don’t like those terms, tough stuff because it’s the only game in town.
ICBC rates have been a hot topic in BC recently with young drivers being hit the hardest. The province says the reason rates have increased dramatically is because of increased costs to the insurer, including injury claims, lawsuits and vehicle repair liabilities. That’s cold comfort for BC drivers who are seeing their taxes go north.
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There has been a push to add private insurers in the province, offering more options and competition as a way to lower rates, but so far BC doesn’t seem too interested in giving up its auto insurance monopoly.
In February 2020, the B.C. the government announced the introduction of the no fault system. With no-fault insurance, accident victims can no longer sue for compensation unless the accident was caused by street racing, negligence, impaired driving or faulty/poorly repaired vehicles. Instead, affected people will receive benefits and compensation directly from ICBC. It means that B.C. drivers will enjoy a 20% discount in basic and optional fares after May 1, 2021. Until that time, ICBC fares will not increase.
ICBC also offers discounts to those who drive as little as possible (low mileage, for example), who have cars with autonomous emergency braking systems and anti-theft devices.
Ontario – the most populous province – is the second most expensive province when it comes to car insurance. Driving up and down the 401 isn’t cheap; the average car insurance in Ontario is over $1,500 per year. In 2015, Ontario was the most expensive with average premiums of $1,281 per year, but its $247 increase doesn’t seem too bad compared to BC. Experts point to rampant fraud as the main reason rates are rising. Generous accident benefit laws were also considered.
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Vehicle insurance is mandatory in Ontario, but unlike in BC you have the option to shop around for the best deal through private insurers. Take the time to compare brokers and get a competitive rate for the coverage you need.
The Ontario Government announced “transformational” measures last April, but it doesn’t appear to be saving drivers any money. In February 2020, the average rate increased by 1.56%, sending the average premium from $1,505 to $1,528 according to our calculations. Some insurance companies have increased their rates by as much as 11%.
Known for the big sky, Alberta has become a province of big premiums if you want to drive that shiny new F150 down the Calgary Trail. Alberta car insurance rates are now the third most expensive in Canada with an average annual premium of $1,316. That’s an increase of $300 from 2015 ($1,004) when Alberta was fifth in the country. Whatever happened to the “Alberta Advantage”?
The previous provincial government limited private auto insurers to a maximum of 5% annual rate increases, but that was removed by Alberta’s UCP government in 2019, much to the satisfaction of insurance companies. Therefore, it seems unlikely that rates will come down anytime soon.
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Another state with long prairie roads between destinations, Saskatchewan saw a semi-modest increase in its insurance rates for drivers. In 2015, Saskatchewan drivers paid an average annual rate of $1,049. Now, it’s $186 more on average.
Similar to BC, Saskatchewan operates through a provincially run auto insurance agency (Saskatchewan Government Insurance), so, unfortunately, you pay whatever they ask. No shopping around. All drivers in the state are required to carry third-party liability insurance of up to $200,000, but a report released in May warns that a significant portion of drivers in the state are “underinsured.”
For a relatively small population, Newfoundland and Labrador sees some of the highest rates in the country. Rates in Newfoundland and Labrador have risen 55% over five years to become fifth on our list and highest in Atlantic Canada – 35% more than Maritime neighbours. What is the cause? Some refer to large rewards for relatively minor injuries as the criminal. Newfoundland and Labrador operates under the “tort system,” which means you can sue an at-fault driver for your pain and suffering, lost wages, and other accident-related damages.
The land of a thousand lakes is also the land of just over a thousand dollars a year for insurance. Compared to other provinces, Manitoba is in the middle of the road with an average premium of $1,140.
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The vast prairie province operates similarly to its neighbor and BC, with a crown corporation issuing auto insurance. BC even designed their recent no-fault system after the Manitoba model. Due to the government monopoly, there is no recourse (other than not driving) if you don’t like your insurance. On the bright side, the province’s division of motor insurance (MPI) in 2019 proposed a 0.9 reduction in rates – the first overall rate reduction in eight years.
Since the car insurance reforms of 2003, Nova Scotians have benefited from some of the lowest car insurance premiums in the country. Driving history plays a huge role in the rates you pay for car insurance in this Maritime state. Also, the coverage you choose for your policy can have a big impact on your premium – up to 30 per cent.
On average, Nova Scotia drivers can expect to pay about $891 a year for car insurance, up from $735 a year just five years ago.
Auto insurance rates are expected to increase by up to 22% in 2020. Over the past five years, New Brunswick residents have enjoyed lower than average premiums starting at $728 annually in 2015. Due to an increase in claims, which are Blamed mainly on distracted driving, the province has chosen to raise rates almost everywhere.
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The average insurance premium is currently $867, but the average tax increase is 12 percent. That means within the year, the average insurance premium will be $971 per year, overtaking Nova Scotia.
Nova Scotia, now at $891, jumped from $735 over five years, while New Brunswick went from $728 to $867 over the same time period. Prince Edward Island saw the biggest jump, from $695 in 2015 to an average of $861 today.
Private insurance in Prince Edward Island has stopped car insurance for years. Also, PEI has one of the lowest accident rates in the country, which means fewer claims to pay.
Despite a drop in advertising numbers, rates have risen from $695 in 2015 to $861 per year currently. That’s good enough for the second lowest average insurance premium in the country.
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This is one of the rare occasions when being at the bottom of a list is the best situation. La Belle Province drivers enjoy the most affordable rates in the country – less than half of what drivers in BC and Ontario pay on average. And it’s even getting better – the rates are not increasing at the same rate as other states. Quebec paid an average of $642 in 2015 and now they pay an average of $75 more.
So why are rates so low in Quebec? According to some, Quebec’s insurance regulations are not as strict as other provinces. In addition, there are limits that the state places on bodily injuries that result in lower rates for drivers. They also use a combination or public and private insurers, so you can shop around for the best deal.
Since premiums vary across Canada, and some provinces require vehicle owners to have certain insurance packages that include mandatory coverage – you can see how different the auto insurance climate continues to be across Canada. Ultimately, you will need to be aware of the specifics of your area, as well as know what you can do to help reduce your own costs.
IBC Source: GISA and MSA data for private insurers (as at 31 December 2018), SGI Annual Report (2018), MPI
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