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Car insurance in Calgary

Car insurance is mandatory throughout Canada, and Calgary is no exception. In fact, you're not even allowed to buy license plates without proof of insurance. Insurance covers the cost of damage and injuries sustained in an accident.

How does car insurance work in Calgary?

Alberta has a private auto insurance system. In basic terms, it means drivers buy their coverage from insurance companies. In some places in Canada, drivers get insurance from a Crown corporation, which is also usually the sole provider of car insurance in the province.

Alberta's auto insurance system has two other defining characteristics:

  • Your own insurance company will pay to repair or replace your car if you're not at fault for an accident,
  • And it will pay for your medical care, regardless of fault.

The intention behind this recently enacted change is to create a more efficient process to resolve auto insurance claims. These efficiencies will benefit consumers' wallets, too. Lower legal expenses mean insurance companies can charge Albertans less for coverage.

The Automobile Insurance Rate Board (AIRB) is a provincial body that establishes guidelines on how insurance companies can rate consumers. Insurance ratings determine how much the company charges a driver for coverage.

AIRB has another tool to regulate insurance prices: the Grid. The Grid outlines the most a company can charge for basic insurance coverage. You may move up or down the Grid depending on your driving history. The rules state that your insurance premium cannot exceed the maximum price for someone with your driving history.

Mandatory car insurance coverage in Calgary

There are three categories of car insurance coverages in Alberta: mandatory, optional, and endorsements.

Mandatory coverage is the bare minimum amount of insurance you must hold to drive a car legally in Alberta.

Optional coverage refers to add-ons you can purchase that broaden your base policy.

Endorsements are a form of optional coverage — with a twist. Endorsements, also known as standard endorsement forms, are special agreements. They allow you to change, add, or reduce the amount of coverage outlined in your policy.

Coverage name Category Description
Personal liability and property coverage (PLPD) Mandatory This coverage provides financial aid when you're at fault for an accident. Your insurance will pay the bills of anyone you injured in the accident. (Likewise, your accident benefits will pay for your medical costs.) The minimum you're required to carry is $200,000. This means your insurance company will pay for expenses up to $200,000. Experts often recommend that policyholders increase their coverage to at least $1 million. The liability part of your insurance contract will pay for: 

- Medical costs for anyone you've injured
- The cost to repair or replace another person's property
- Legal fees that stem from the accident and finally
- Damages to the injured parties.
Accident benefits Mandatory This part of your policy covers costs when you or a passenger are in an accident and need medical care. Accident benefits also provide compensation for:

- Lost wages
- Funeral expenses
- Surviving spouses and dependents.
Direct compensation for property damage (DCPD) Mandatory This covers the cost of repairing or replacing your car after you're in a collision you did not cause. If you are 100% not at fault, DCPD will cover 100% of your costs. It's possible to be partially at fault for causing an accident. In this scenario, you'll still receive compensation from DCPD, but it will be a reduced amount. For example, if you're 50% responsible, you'll only receive 50% of your benefit.  DCPD has no deductible and filing a claim won't affect your premium in the future. (You can opt to purchase a deductible — this will reduce your premium slightly.)
Collision coverage Optional This helps pay for repairs if you collide with another vehicle or crash into a stationary object. Collision coverage will pay to repair your car if you're at fault for an accident.
Comprehensive coverage Optional This helps pay for repairs if an event other than a collision damages your car (e.g., vandalism or adverse weather). Calgary sits in Alberta's Hailstorm Alley, making it prone to severe summer storms. Hail causes millions of dollars in damage to vehicles each year. Comprehensive insurance will cover this peril.
Named perils Optional This is a cheaper option than comprehensive. It only protects against the perils listed in your policy.
Comprehensive Cover Limited Glass (SEF 13D) Endorsement This limits a vehicle's glass coverage for a reduced premium.
Loss of Use (SEF 20) Endorsement If your car is unusable, this endorsement will pay for temporary transportation. You can use the money for taxis and public transit up to a limit.
Legal Liability for Damage to Non-Owned Automobiles (SEF 27) Endorsement This extends your physical damage insurance to a rental vehicle.
Accident Rating Waiver (SEF 39) Endorsement If you are found responsible for causing an accident, this endorsement prevents your premium from rising. It only applies to scenarios that your insurance company agreed in advance to cover.
Limited Waiver of Depreciation (SEF 43R) Endorsement This endorsement prevents the insurance company from factoring in depreciation when calculating a claim payout. For this endorsement to apply, the damage needs to be caused by an insured event.
Family Protection (SEF 44) Endorsement This is excess coverage for accidents that involve an underinsured driver. This endorsement will cover the total cost of a claim.

How car insurance rates are set in Calgary

These are the steps Alberta insurance companies follow to calculate your rate:

#1 - Insurance companies figure out the base premium to charge all customers.

The base premium is the average amount needed from each customer to ensure the company can pay claims and bills and extract a reasonable profit.

#2 - They use rating factors to determine the amount of risk you present as a driver.

Doing this changes the base premium. Your insurance company will rate you based on:

  • The number of years you've held a license,
  • The number of traffic convictions you've had,
  • The number of accidents you've had,
  • Whether you've had driver training from an accredited school,
  • And finally, where you live.

If you live in a city, your premium will likely be higher than someone living in the country. There are more vehicles on the road, which means more accidents. Theft, vandalism, and insurance fraud tends to happen more frequently in cities.

#3 - They assess your car.

The make and model year affects a part of your premium. Why? Insurance companies have to consider how much it could cost to repair or replace your car. For more recent models, premiums tend to be higher than cars older than three years. The older the vehicle, the more you stand to save on insurance. Cars with better safety and handling characteristics are sometimes more affordable to insure. However, many vehicles with superior safety features have built-in sensors to detect danger, making them costly to fix. This means, paradoxically, that you might not reap savings on your insurance by picking the safest car on the market.

Factors in Calgary that affect your car insurance premium

The most common causes of a price increase can be split into two categories: the factors you can control and those you can't.

Factors you can control:

  • You cause an accident. Your premium will go up at renewal. You may even have to file a claim to have your car's computer system fixed. Because you were at fault, this, too, will cause your premium to increase.
  • You move neighbourhoods. Your postal code affects your car insurance rate. Some areas are riskier than others.
  • You change your car. The type of vehicle (its year, make, and model) will influence the premium. If you finance your vehicle, you'll likely need to add collision and comprehensive to your policy.

Factors you can't control:

  • An increasing number of serious claims. According to the Automobile Insurance Rate Board, the average claim has more than doubled since 2005.
  • Distracted driving is now outpacing impaired driving. It's now the leading cause of accidents and death in the province.
  • Newer cars cost more to repair. Even affordable brands are outfitting cars with complex computer systems.
  • Severe weather. Drivers are filing more claims due to events like hail, flooding, and wildfires.
  • Vehicle theft is on the rise in Alberta. The province accounts for 29% of all vehicle thefts in Canada.
  • The increasing cost of medical care. An aging population and inflation are major drivers.

Back to table of contents

Recent Calgary car insurance quotes

Shopper from CALGARY, ALBERTA
2015 CHEVROLET EQUINOX LT 4DR AWD July 01, 2022
$ 2,014
Per year
Cheapest Rate
$ 4,158
Per year
Average Rate
$ 2,144
or
52 %
in savings
Shopper from CALGARY, ALBERTA
2018 HYUNDAI ELANTRA GL 4DR June 30, 2022
$ 3,452
Per year
Cheapest Rate
$ 5,072
Per year
Average Rate
$ 1,620
or
32 %
in savings
Shopper from CALGARY, ALBERTA
2013 MAZDA CX-5 GS 4DR 2WD June 30, 2022
$ 1,372
Per year
Cheapest Rate
$ 1,997
Per year
Average Rate
$ 625
or
31 %
in savings
Shopper from CALGARY, ALBERTA
2020 HYUNDAI PALISADE PREFERRED V6 4DR AWD June 29, 2022
$ 1,378
Per year
Cheapest Rate
$ 1,996
Per year
Average Rate
$ 618
or
31 %
in savings

How to get Calgary car insurance quotes on RATESDOTCA

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What is the average cost of car insurance in Calgary?

Here's what a 35-year-old man driving a 2018 Honda Civic with a conviction and claims-free insurance record can expect to pay, according to data sourced from the RATESDOTCA quoter in late 2021.

  • Calgary 2021 average: $2,230
  • Alberta 2021 average: $1,991

The Calgary average is higher than the provincial average. The reason urban drivers pay more for insurance is that they're more likely to experience risks such as:

  • Theft. More cars present means more vehicle theft.
  • Collisions. Congested streets lead to accidents, which lead to claims.
  • Insurance fraud. Staged accidents are more likely to occur in wealthy urban neighbourhoods.

We chose to analyze quotes for a 35-year-old since car insurance rates between men and women tend to equalize by that age. It also approximates the average age of the population, which was 38.7 years old according to the 2021 census.

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How does Calgary’s average car insurance rate compare to other cities in Alberta?

Drivers in large cities pay the most for insurance in Alberta, the data show.

To do a fair comparison between cities, we used the same driver profile to pull quotes in each city: a 35-year-old man driving a 2018 Honda Civic with a conviction and claims-free insurance record.

City Geographic designation/population size Premium
Calgary Large urban / 1,372,178 $2,230
Edmonton Large urban / 1,057,181 $2,124
Airdrie Medium / 77,027 $2,000
Llyodminster Medium / 20,204 $1,849
Okotoks Medium / 31,413 $1,849
Grande Prairie Medium / 67,627 $1,806
Lethbridge Medium / 101,799 $1,780
Stony Plain Small / 18,371 $1,724
Morinville Small / 10,442 $1,724
Medicine Hat Medium /65,203 $1,722
Red Deer Medium / 104,392 $1,712
Sylvan lake Small / 16,354 $1,712

Calgary car insurance rates by postal code

The average premiums below are based on the lowest quote offered to a 35-year-old man driving a 2018 Honda Civic with a conviction and claims-free insurance record. Your premium might be different. Comparing quotes is the best way to find out if you could pay less for insurance.

Find your forward sortation area (the first three letters of your postal code) and see what the average premium is for your neighbourhood.

Forward sortation area (FSA) Neighbourhoods in coverage area Avg. 2021 premium
T1Y Northeast Calgary, Sunridge, Temple, Pineridge $2,730
T2A Marlborough, Forest Lawn-Forest Heights $2,636
T2B Southview $2,636
T2C Southeast Calgary $2,239
T2E Mayland Heights, Vista Heights, Bridgeland, Crescent Heights, Highland Park, Northeast Calgary, Calgary International Airport $2,239
T2G Alyth - Bonnybrook - Manchester, Beltline, Downtown, Inglewood/Southeast Calgary $2,239
T2H Acadia, Alyth - Bonnybrook - Manchester, Fairview, Kingsland, Meadowlark Park, Southeast Calgary, Southwest Calgary $2,239
T2J Acadia, Deer Ridge, Haysboro, Lake Bonavista, Queensland, Southeast Calgary, Willow Park $2,239
T2K Cambrian Heights, Highland Park, Highwood, Huntington Hills, North Haven, Northwest Calgary, Thorncliffe $2,239
T2L Brentwood, Charleswood, Collingwood, Northwest Calgary $2,140
T2M Banff Trail, Capitol Hill, Crescent Heights, Mount Pleasant, Northeast Calgary, Northwest Calgary $2,239
T2N Hillhurst, Hounsfield Heights - Briar Hill, Northwest Calgary $2,140
T2P Downtown, Downtown Calgary $2,239
T2R Beltline $2,239
T2S Beltline, Britannia, Cliff Bungalow, Mission, Southwest Calgary $2,239
T2T Altadore, Bankview, Beltline, Lower Mount Royal, Richmond, South Calgary, Southwest Calgary $2,239
T2V Eagle Ridge, Haysboro, Kelvin Grove, Kingsland, Oakridge, Palliser, Southwest Calgary $2,140
T2W Braeside, Canyon Meadows, Cedarbrae, Southwest Calgary $2,140
T2X Chaparral, Midnapore, Silverado, Southeast Calgary $2,239
T2Y Bridlewood, Evergreen, Millrise, Shawnee Slopes, Shawnessy, Somerset, Southwest Calgary $1,948
T2Z Copperfield, Douglasdale, McKenzie Lake, McKenzie Towne, New Brighton, Southeast Calgary $2,239
T3A Brentwood, Dalhousie, Edgemont, Hamptons, Hidden Valley, Northwest Calgary $1,948
T3B Bowness, Montgomery, Northwest Calgary, Southwest Calgary $2,140
T3C Beltline, Rosscarrock, Southwest Calgary $2,140
T3E Currie Barracks, Glamorgan, Glenbrook, Glendale, Killarney, Lakeview, Lincoln Park, North Glenmore, Richmond, Rutland Park, Southwest Calgary $2,140
T3G Arbour Lake, Citadel, Hawkwood, Northwest Calgary $2,140
T3H Aspen Woods, Cougar Ridge, Discovery Ridge, Patterson, Signal Hill, Southwest Calgary $2,140
T3J Castleridge, Coral Springs, Falconridge, Martindale, Northeast Calgary $2,730
T3K Beddington Heights, Country Hills, Country Hills Village, Coventry Hills, Harvest Hills, Northeast Calgary, Northwest Calgary $2,239
T3L Northwest Calgary, Tuscany $2,140
T3M Auburn Bay, Cranston, Mahogany, Seton, Southeast Calgary $1,948
T3N Skyview Ranch, Northeast Calgary $2,730
T3P Evanston, Northwest Calgary $2,239
T3R Nolan Hill, Northwest Calgary, Royal Vista $2,140
T3S Copperfield, Southeast Calgary $2,000
T3Z Northwest Calgary, Southeast Calgary, Southwest Calgary $1,849

Which Calgary neighbourhood has the cheapest car insurance?

A 35-year-old driver in Sylvan Lake (population of roughly 16,000) pays $1,712 a year or 23% less than a Calgary driver of the same age ($2,230 per year). Calgary has the highest car insurance rates in the entire province. It is also Alberta’s largest city by population, with roughly 1.5 million people in 2021. Population size and high auto insurance rates are correlated. In big cities, there are more incidences of collision, injury, and theft.

Calgary, in particular, has a high rate of car theft. At one point in 2017, the number of cars stolen per month reached a high of 1,000. Car thefts result in claims, which means insurance companies keep rates high to cover their costs.

Collisions are more often fatal in rural areas versus in cities (852 incidences compared to 711, respectively, according to 2020 statistics from Transport Canada). The number of non-life-threatening collisions occurring on city roads results in far more claims. According to Transport Canada, 174% more crashes resulted in personal injury in cities than in rural areas, according to the National Collision Database — another factor that keeps rates high for city dwellers.

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Which companies offer car insurance quotes to Calgary drivers?

Company Company type Phone Address
Alberta Motor Association Insurance Company Insurance company Calgary Main:  (403) 240-5300 Calgary Main: 4700 17 Avenue SW T3E 0E3 
Calgary  AMA has three additional locations. Find your Nearest AMA Centre.
Aviva Canada Group Insurance company Calgary 1-800-332-1017 or
403-750-0600
Calgary  112-4th Avenue SW, Suite 2100 Calgary, AB T2P 0H3
Economical Mutual Insurance Company Insurance company Calgary Phone: 403-265-8590 CALGARY BRANCH 322 11th Avenue SW, Suite 700, Calgary AB T2R 0C5
Insurance Hotline Quotes comparison 1 (855) 821-7312 360 Adelaide St. W. Suite 100, Toronto, ON M5V 1R7
Intact Insurance Insurance company 1(403) 269-7961 326 11 Ave SW, Calgary, AB  T2R 0C5
Johnson Insurance Insurance company +14033514233 326 11 Ave SW, Calgary, AB T2R 0C5
LowestRates.ca Quotes comparison 1 (855) 487-6911 1910 Yonge St. Suite 401, Toronto, ON M4S 3B2
RATESDOTCA Quotes comparison 1 (844) 726-0907 360 Adelaide St. W. Suite 100, Toronto, ON M5V 1R7
RSA Canada Group Insurance company Tel: 403-233-6000   
Toll Free: 1-800-661-9292
Alberta regional office: 300, 326 - 11 Avenue SW. Calgary, Alberta T2R 0C5
Scoop Insurance Insurance broker 1-866-456-6620 300 Lincoln St. Unit 22, Welland, ON L3B 4N4
Travelers Insurance company 403-231-6600 Western region:  
530 – 8th Avenue S.W., Suite 2700 Calgary, AB T2P 3S8

How to get the cheapest car insurance quotes in Calgary

#1 - Compare rates

This tactic is recommended by the Insurance Bureau of Canada, the Alberta Insurance Regulation Board, and the Financial Consumer Agency of Canada. Getting quotes from different insurance companies is the best way to find your lowest rate.

#2 - Compare insurance prices before buying a car 

A car's make and model will impact insurance costs. Before you buy, make sure to research which cars are the cheapest to insure in Canada.

#3 - Try usage-based insurance 

Usage-based insurance refers to telematics and pay-as-you-go insurance. Both are now available in Alberta.

With a telematics program, you agree to install a device that records your driving habits. You get a discount at renewal, but only if the device shows you to be a responsible driver. The device will record:

  • The time of day you drive,
  • Where you drive,
  • The number of kilometres logged,
  • Your speed,
  • How fast you accelerate,
  • How hard you brake,
  • And how often you use your phone while driving.

Pay-as-you-go insurance also uses a device to record your driving patterns. You buy coverage for a set amount of kilometres (usually no more than 12,000 km a year). The device bills you for every 1,000 kilometres you go over.

#4 - Drop collision and comprehensive coverage on older cars 

If you finance or lease a vehicle, collision and comprehensive are likely mandatory. If you own your car outright, you may want to consider dropping these covers. It could be cheaper to pay for repairs yourself, especially if you drive an older car.

The following rules of thumb can help you decide whether to keep collision and comprehensive.

  • Drop these covers if your car's value is approximately twice your insurance deductible.
  • If the cost of collision and comprehensive coverage is more than 10% of your car's current value, drop them.

But before you cancel these add-ons, make sure you can handle the cost of repairing or replacing your car.

#5 - Increase your deductible

Your insurance company will generally make you share the cost of a claim with them. For example, your deductible on a $10,000 claim may be $1,000. If you offered to pay $2,000, your insurance company would lower your premium in return.

Make sure you're able to pay a higher deductible. Depending on your finances, paying a higher monthly premium may be worthwhile.

#6 - Be an all-star (driver, that is)

Insurance companies use a star rating to rank drivers. Your star rating is based on the number of years you’ve been licensed and claims-free. The more stars you have, the better. Some insurance companies award drivers up to six stars, others go all the way up to 20 — it’s different for each insurer.

#7 - Apply for as many discounts as you can

Bundling your insurance is the one most impactful ways to lower your premium. Bundling refers to buying car and home insurance from the same company. Lower premiums aren't the only benefit of bundling. If you need to claim your car and home at the same time, you'll only pay one deductible.

Here are some other discounts available to Alberta drivers:

  • Driving school certificate insurance discounts,
  • Increased deductible insurance discount,
  • Telematics insurance discount,
  • Discount for renewing with your insurance company,
  • Seniors' car insurance discount,
  • Multi-vehicle insurance discount,
  • Discount for renewing your policy with your current insurance company,
  • And discounts for installing an anti-theft device.

Wondering how these discounts stack? Insurance companies take the discounts you qualify for and arrange them from largest to smallest, applying each one to your rate in succession.

#8 - Consult an insurance professional 

An insurance professional will identify coverage gaps and create an insurance plan. They can also suggest discounts not listed here.

Frequently asked questions about car insurance in Calgary

Why is Calgary car insurance so expensive?

As with most large cities, busy roads, distracted driving and crime are responsible for high car insurance rates.

Busy roads

Calgary’s population has increased by over 100% since the early 1990s, swelling to more than 1.5 million residents. Calgary is very much a driving city, so this population boom has translated into a dramatic increase in cars on the road. As all insurance enthusiasts know, more cars on the road means more collisions which leads to higher auto insurance premiums.

Distracted driving

Along with the rest of Canada, Alberta has a distracted driving problem. Convictions started spiking in 2012 (24,428 convictions vs. 7,829 the year before). This increase coincided with a boom in smartphone sales, and many of these convictions are indeed for people using cell phones while driving.

While the number of convictions has gone down in Calgary since peaking in 2015, the city still had 4,395 distracted driving convictions in 2019, equivalent to 45.3 per 10,000 licenced drivers. From an insurance perspective, cell phone use behind the wheel remains a serious problem, and until the data shows a significant improvement, Calgarians will continue to pay the price via elevated premiums.

Vehicle theft

The Calgary Police Commission claims that Calgary has the highest vehicle theft rate in the country, and the statistics are alarming.

In 2018, nearly 7,000 passenger vehicles were either stolen or attempted to be stolen in Calgary, which is equivalent to over 19 per day. One particularly bad period saw $1.1 million worth of cars stolen in just three months.

A significant portion of Calgary’s vehicular theft is a result of drivers leaving running vehicles unattended in the winter months. Opportunistic criminals simply hop in and drive away. Even residents of Calgary’s safest neighbourhoods fall victim to this type of crime, and Alberta’s insurance companies respond with high premiums.

Which company has the cheapest car insurance in Calgary?

No two drivers are the same and the quotes you receive will be equally unique. As a result, it is impossible to say which company offers the cheapest rate, which is why we recommend trying our free quoting tool.

What we can tell you is that last year, Calgary drivers who used RATESDOTCA saved an average of $736*.

Can I get month to month car insurance in Calgary?

The standard term for an insurance policy is one year.

It is possible to get insurance for six months, but few companies offer it in Alberta. It's even less likely you'll find an insurance company that offers one-month terms.

If your plans involve a vehicle that's only driven in the summer, you may want to consider seasonal insurance. Renting a car for a month might also be a suitable workaround.

Your broker or insurance agent might be able to tailor a solution to suit your needs. Try giving them a call.

How do I get car insurance as a new driver in Calgary?

Eager to zip up and down Calgary’s streets? To do it legally, you must first get insurance for your car.

There are a few routes you can take to get insurance.

Use a rates comparison site to get quotes from an array of companies. 

The most efficient way to find the lowest rate is to compare offers from multiple insurance companies.

A rate comparison website will do this for you.

The Financial Consumer Agency of Canada and the Insurance Bureau of Canada recommend shopping around to find the best deal. The Automobile Insurance Rate Board recommends using RATESDOTCA to compare dozens of insurance companies within minutes.

Consult an insurance agent 

Agents are dedicated to one company, so they can only show you products from their employer's range.

Suppose you already have a policy (tenant or home insurance, for example). In that case, you can speak to your current insurance provider about bundling it with an auto policy.

Bundling can help you save money on both products (companies provide discounts for the extra business). Bundling will also prevent the hassle of dealing with two separate companies.

The downside is that the company you choose may not offer you the best deal.

Even if you choose a brand out of familiarity, it's worthwhile to take a peek and see what other companies could do for you. Shopping around for quotes is fast and free.

Consult an insurance broker 

A broker is an independent insurance professional. They have permission to sell products from multiple insurance providers. They also have a wealth of insurance knowledge to help guide you.

Brokers are eligible to receive a commission from the companies they advertise. However, the province regulates brokers to ensure they make recommendations based on the client's best interest.

Using a broker is better than choosing a company based on a brand name. But working with one has downsides.

No broker has the entire insurance market in their portfolio or access to all products.

It can be challenging to choose a broker unless you have a referral from a trusted source. There are so many of them, and there are no outward criteria to sort them by (other than advertisements).

They also charge fees for their services.

On the other hand, rate comparison sites rely on an algorithm to bring you a multitude of quotes in minutes for free.

If you have a broker you know and trust, know that you're not reliant on them to bring you the deals. You can cross-check their recommendations with a rate comparison. Applying for quotes is free.

Is ridesharing insurance available in Calgary?

Uber has had a topsy turvy ride in Calgary; it initially launched in 2015, before facing a court injunction and suspending operations, and was relaunched more successfully in 2016. Shortly afterwards, the Superintendent of Insurance of Alberta approved a new ridesharing insurance policy which came into effect on July 1, 2016.

If you are planning on driving for a ridesharing platform in Calgary, you must inform your insurance provider to modify your coverage.

*Shoppers in Alberta who obtained a quote on RATESDOTCA and transacted via our contact centre from January to December 2021 saved an average amount of $736. The average savings amount represents the difference between the shoppers’ average lowest quoted premium and the average of all other quoted premiums generated by RATESDOTCA.

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