14 Ways to Get Cheaper Car Insurance
The range of insurance rates across Canada are as vast as the country itself.
Between Quebec's wallet-friendly insurance premiums all the way to BC, where drivers pay some of the highest rates, the average cost of car insurance has all Canadian drivers looking for ways to get cheaper car insurance.
Below, before we share 14 ways to help you reduce your auto insurance premiums, we've outlined 10 Canadian auto insurance providers who may be able to offer more affordable car insurance rates.
But keep in mind, the cheapest insurance policy may not always be the best option for you, as it may not offer the coverage you need or have higher deductibles that could be costly in the event of an accident.
So, it's always a good idea to shop around, compare rates, and review policies to find an insurance provider that offers the right balance between affordability and coverage.
First, who offers the cheapest auto insurance in Canada?
To be clear, it's difficult to determine which insurance providers in Canada offer the cheapest car insurance, as insurance rates can vary based on many factors such as your location, driving record, age, and type of vehicle, among others.
However, some insurance providers in Canada that may offer more affordable car insurance rates include:
Belairdirect Auto Insurance: Belairdirect is known for offering affordable rates for drivers with a clean driving record and for providing discounts to safe drivers.
Intact Auto Insurance: Intact Insurance offers competitive rates for drivers who have a good driving record and who live in low-risk areas.
Desjardins Auto Insurance: Desjardins Insurance is a popular choice for young drivers and those who have multiple vehicles, offering discounts for both groups.
TD Auto Insurance: TD Insurance is known for providing affordable rates to drivers with a good driving history, and for offering a range of discounts such as multi-vehicle and bundling.
The Co-operators: The Co-operators is a popular choice for drivers who are members of a co-op, offering lower rates as a benefit of co-op membership.
Aviva Auto Canada: Aviva Canada offers competitive rates for drivers with a clean driving record, and provides discounts for bundling insurance policies.
Economical Auto Insurance: Economical Insurance offers affordable rates for drivers with a good driving record, and provides discounts for multi-vehicle policies.
Allstate Auto Insurance: Allstate Insurance offers competitive rates for drivers with a clean driving history, and provides discounts for safe driving habits and bundling insurance policies.
RBC Auto Insurance: RBC Insurance offers affordable rates for drivers who have a good driving record, and provides discounts for bundling insurance policies and having multiple cars.
Sonnet Auto Insurance: Sonnet Insurance offers affordable rates for drivers with a good driving record, and provides discounts for bundling insurance policies and completing an online quote.
How to get cheaper auto insurance
There’s no single solution to scoring cheap car insurance. That’s why we compiled a list of tips to help you find the cheapest auto insurance in your province or territory.
(Important Note: The governments of British Columbia (ICBC), Saskatchewan, and Manitoba have government-run auto insurance. And in Quebec, the public insurer manages the insurance regime for bodily injuries only. If you’re from these provinces, your options for shopping around are a little more limited, but you can still pick and choose what insurance coverage options you truly need.)
For BC residents, here's our guide on ICBC Insurance Renewal.
1. Get the coverage you actually need
Depending on the age of your car, where you live, and what your driving habits are like, you may not need a fully loaded policy. Reviewing your policy annually, and reassessing your insurance needs, is critical. For example, maybe your car has gotten to an age where collision coverage no longer makes economic sense. In the event your car gets wrecked you might get less back in coverage than what you are paying in premiums.
2. Consider usage-based insurance
Usage-Based Insurance (UBI) or telematics is a "pay-as-you-drive" insurance plan that is based on the kind of driving you actually do versus what the insurance company thinks you do. UBI can track your distance travelled but also captures how safely (or dangerously) you drive. Drivers with UBI policies can save up to 30% off their yearly premiums. Downsides include lack of privacy, lack of accuracy in some instances, and penalty fees if the technology detects reckless driving.
3. Shop around and compare rates
As we mentioned earlier, shopping around isn’t possible for all Canadians. Public insurance providers are the only options available in provinces like BC, Manitoba, and Saskatchewan. However, if you live in high-competition provinces like Ontario or Alberta, you have the option to shop around for the best auto insurance rate. Comparison sites and online reviews will help you learn a lot about which providers offer the greatest value.
4. Loyalty pays off
This may sound antithetical to the previous tip, but if you decide to stay with your existing provider some companies do offer nice loyalty discounts when their customers reach milestones. Check in every few years, or call them upon renewal time and ask about a loyalty discount.
5. Good credit
Your credit history is a fundamental part of your finances, and insurers look at an applicant’s credit score to determine how liable they might be. A low credit score and poor history can affect your rate quote, so it’s important to make sure that your credit report is up to date and clear of any mistakes. Before inquiring about car insurance, you can check your credit report (for free) to ensure it’s in good shape.
6. Buy a used car
This is simple math. If the cost to replace a car is high, your insurance costs will be high. So if you buy a brand new Honda Civic valued at $40,000 it will cost more to insure than a pre-owned 2018 model with a $20,000 price tag. So your premium is going to reflect that.
Buy your next car 100% online
If you think your insurance premium is high, you can offset your insurance costs by shopping for a used car 100% online. With Canada Drives there are no hidden dealer fees to worry about. Plus, our online-only model means less overhead, and we pass those savings on to our customers!
7. Drive safe
Most Canadians are unaware that adding features that improve road safety can reduce premiums. Features like snow tires, an upgraded anti-theft alarm system, and driver assist technology that helps prevent collisions can all lower your insurance rate. The rules vary province to province, so call your provider to ask what kind of discounts are available with these safety add-ons.
8. A clean record
Things like traffic tickets, demerit points, and collisions on your driving record can negatively affect how an insurer calculates your coverage. Multiple driving violations will spike your rates, which means you’ll be spending more compared to someone with a clean driving record. Conversely, maintaining a clean record will get you discounts in your coverage from many public and private insurance providers.
9. Your car’s safety rating
Vehicles that have excellent crash test ratings, have low-theft scores, are not sporty or attract lots of attention generally get cheaper rates. Sure, it may be fun to drive an exotic head-turning sports car, but is it worth the premium? You may be paying more than the guy driving next to you in a Hyundai. For example, the province of BC charges higher basic insurance premiums for “luxury vehicles” with retail price tags over $150,000.
10. Bundle policies together
Do you have renters, homeowner, boat, RV, or motorcycle insurance? Do you have multiple people in your home that also need car insurance? Some private insurance providers offer steep discounts for bundling your insurance services, ranging from 5%-25% per policy. Other advantages to bundling could be dealing with one single provider, one renewal process, and possibly one single deductible.
11. Consider a higher deductible
If you’re comfortable with a greater out-of-pocket cost in the event of an accident, then you can consider a higher deductible (the amount the insurance company expects you to pay out of pocket when you make a claim). Some companies could let you go higher than $500 or $1,000. It will bring down your premiums, but it is not advisable for low-worth vehicles. In the event of an accident, you don’t want to be paying deductibles that cost more than what your car is actually worth.
12. Uninterrupted history
Insurers like to see consistency when it comes to your driving history, and a gap in your insurance history could keep your premium higher. Even if you don’t have a car right now, see if you can get yourself added as a secondary driver to a family or trusted friend member’s policy to keep gaps off your driving record.
13. Pay your premium all at once
Some insurance companies offer a decent discount on your premium if you pay all at once at your policy renewal time. They may offer a slightly smaller discount if you pay bi-annually, too. Another bonus to this is that you’ll naturally avoid the risk of missing a monthly payment and incurring NSF fees or policy cancellation. If you think you may miss or be late with a payment, be proactive and call before your payment is due.
14. Take a driving course
While it might be nice to have your mom or dad teach you how to drive, it won’t do you any favours when it comes time to get insurance. Professional driving courses not only teach you foundational safety knowledge about navigating the roads, but they also tend to get you a discount on vehicle insurance. In some provinces, those accredited driving certifications will lead to lower premiums.