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Compare and save in Stampede City

Calgary is the largest city in Western Canada, and the third largest in all of Canada. While big city living has its benefits, auto insurance rates in Calgary are notoriously high.

Did you know comparing auto insurance rates is the easiest way to save? We work with multiple insurance providers so you can find the best deal.

FAQ – Frequently asked questions about car insurance in Calgary

Is car insurance mandatory in Calgary?

Yes, it is. Car insurance is mandatory throughout Canada and Calgary is no exception.

The province of Alberta requires that auto insurance policies include two specific components:

  • Personal liability and property coverage (PLPD). Also called third-party liability.
  • Accident benefits. This covers medical costs in the event you or a passenger are hurt in an accident.

How does car insurance work in Calgary?

To help keep costs down, Alberta uses a grid system, which outlines the maximum cost for minimum coverages. Depending on your driving history, you may move up or down on this grid, but your insurance premium cannot exceed the price outlined for a driver with your record.

See your grid premium by using the grid rate calculator on the Alberta Automobile Insurance Rate Board website.

While Alberta’s auto insurance grid regulates the price of basic coverage, the vast majority of Calgary’s drivers opt for additional coverage, primarily to insure the vehicle itself.

For more information on mandatory and optional coverages, as well as Alberta’s grid system, check out our Alberta car insurance page.

What type of optional coverages are recommended in Calgary?

As you may have noticed, the mandatory minimum coverage in Alberta does not actually provide any insurance for your vehicle. In a busy city like Calgary, the risk of getting into an auto collision is a lot higher than in rural areas. If you only have basic coverage, you will have to pay for repairs to your car yourself.

With this in mind, popular insurance add-ons include:

  • Collision coverage. This helps pay for repairs if you collide with another vehicle or crash into a stationary object.
  • Comprehensive coverage. This helps pay for repairs if your car is damaged in an event other than a collision (e.g. vandalism or adverse weather).
  • Named perils. This is a cheaper option than comprehensive. It only protects against perils specifically listed in your policy.

Calgary lies within Alberta’s Hailstorm Alley and is prone to severe hailstorms every few years. These storms cause millions of dollars in damage to vehicles, so “hail” damage is a good example of something that would be covered under the comprehensive portion of your plan.

How much does auto insurance cost in Calgary?

According to the Insurance Bureau of Canada, Albertans face the third highest premiums in Canada, an average of $1,316 per year, or $109.67 per month. To make matters worse, Calgary is the second most expensive city (behind Edmonton) for car insurance in the whole province.

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 smart phone sales, and the vast majority 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 their unattended vehicles running 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 $407.42.*

What factors affect Calgary car insurance premiums?

When insurers calculate Calgary auto premiums, they consider multiple factors including your age, your driving history, your annual mileage, the car you drive, and your postal code.

Your postal code is important because if you live in a very populated area like downtown Calgary, the chance of a collision (and ensuing insurance claim) is higher than it is in quieter neighbourhoods like Hamptons or Edgemont. Insurance companies consider neighbourhood crime and collision statistics before writing premiums.

While you are unable to influence many of the factors that make up your insurance rate, the best way to save is to practice defensive driving, maintain a clean driving record, and compare quotes regularly on RATESDOTCA. If you do this, it might be possible to enjoy living in Calgary while paying small town prices for car insurance.

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.

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How to get the cheapest car insurance in Calgary

Finding cheap car insurance in Calgary is possible! Follow these tips to secure the lowest available premium:

1. Get winter tires

In 2019, Calgary recorded over 75 inches of snowfall. This is higher than normal, but the average year still has 54.2 snowy days.

When one of Calgary’s legendary Chinook winds rolls in, the temperature can increase by 30 °C in just one hour. As you can imagine, under such conditions the snow quickly becomes water, and when it inevitably freezes again as the warm winds pass, the whole city becomes an ice rink.

If you don’t have winter tires in Calgary, you are putting your own life and that of others around you at risk. If this is not incentive enough, some insurance companies are willing to lower your premiums by five percent. Despite this, only about 85% of Calgary drivers get winter tires installed. Make sure you are one of them!

2. Take precautions against theft

Calgary has the unfortunate distinction of being the car theft capital of Canada, averaging almost 20 stolen vehicles per day. While law-abiding citizens are not to blame, you should take some precautions to avoid becoming a victim.

  • Don’t leave unlocked cars unattended. While this may seem obvious, 15% of the cars stolen in Calgary had the keys left inside, and most of these had the engine running. We understand that it is cold in wintertime, and a pre-warmed car is nice, but it’s not worth the risk.
  • Hide your car keys. In over 50% of vehicular thefts, keys were taken during residential break-ins or from gym lockers. It’s hard to break the habit, but consider storing your car keys in a more secure location at home (most people have them hanging by the front door, which is where thieves look first), and keep them with you while you are working out.
  • Install a theft deterrent. Cars with alarm systems or GPS tracking may receive lower insurance rates. Currently, around 5% of stolen vehicle police reports result in a conviction, meaning most thieves are getting away scot-free. A GPS tracking system makes recovering your stolen vehicle much easier. As insurers would rather not pay out on an expensive claim to replace your vehicle, these theft deterrents usually result in lower insurance rates.

3. Bundle insurance products

If you own a home in Calgary, you should use the same insurance company for your home and car insurance needs. Insurance companies offer “multiline” discounts when you buy more than one of their products. If you rent in Calgary, bundle your car insurance with a tenant insurance policy.

Similarly, if you have more than one vehicle, ensure they are all insured by the same company for more savings.

4. Take a driver’s education course

If you are a new and inexperienced driver, you will face higher-than-average insurance premiums in Calgary. This might seem unfair, but statistics show that drivers who have held their license for less than six years are more often involved in car accidents. If you complete an approved driver’s education course, insurance companies will be more willing to offer a cheaper rate.

The government of Alberta maintains a list of approved driver training schools in the province. Find the Calgary location closest to you.

5. Try to drive less

When requesting car insurance quotes, insurers will ask for your annual mileage. This affects your premium because the more time you spend driving, the more chance you are involved in a collision.

While it is not always possible, finding an alternative way to commute to work, other than driving, will massively reduce your mileage.

Calgary has a robust public transit service with buses and a light rail system, known as the C-Train. The C-Train runs exclusively on renewable energy, and is one of North America’s busiest light rail systems, carrying 306,900 riders each weekday. In addition to the operations of Calgary Transit, the city boasts over 260 km of shared bikeways on its streets.

Leaving the car at home is not only better for the environment, but it’s better for your wallet too.

6. Review your existing coverage

Every year, before your policy is up for renewal, review your existing coverage and make sure it is up to date. For example, if you have changed jobs and your new commute is half of what it was, you should be able to reduce your reported annual mileage, thus lowering your rate.

A quick way to get cheaper Calgary car insurance is by increasing your deductible, but this only makes sense if you can afford to pay it in the event of a claim.

7. Shop around for a deal

The quickest and easiest way to save on your Calgary auto insurance is to shop around and compare quotes from multiple providers. While this sounds time consuming, on RATESDOTCA you can compare multiple quotes in the time it takes to get just one!

Spend a few minutes completing our simple quoter form and we’ll show you several rates in one place. Comparing and saving on car insurance has never been this easy.

Facts and statistics about auto insurance in Calgary

Licensed drivers and registered vehicles in Calgary

Consistent with a growing population, the number of licensed drivers in Calgary is steadily increasing.

Drivers and Vehicles in Calgary 2017 2018 2019
Licensed Drivers 940,996 951,051 969,323
Motorized Vehicle Registrations 990,144 1,000,567 1,021,618

Motor Collisions in Calgary

As you would expect with more drivers on the road, some areas have seen an increase in motor vehicle accidents. If you live near to one of these collision hotspots, you may find your insurance rate is higher than average.

Intersection # Collisions Per Year
Deerfoot Trail SE & Memorial Drive NE 249
Deerfoot Tail NE & 16 Avenue NE 233
Glenmore Trail SE & Deerfoot Trail SE 175
Deerfoot Trail SE & 17 Avenue SE 132
Peigan Trail SE & Deerfoot Trail SE 124
Kensington Road NW & Crowchild Trail NW 94
Glenmore Trail SW & Crowchild Trail SW 94
Glenmore Trail SW & 14 Street SW 94
36 Street NE & 16 Avenue NE 91
19 Street NE & 16 Avenue NE 80

However, the overall number of collisions on Calgary's road network has been remarkably consistent over the last few years.

Collision Statistics 2016 2017 2018
Fatal 26 11 16
Injury 2,430 2,646 2,496
Property Damage 33,098 35,280 34,788
Total 35,565 37,937 37,300
Collisions per 1,000 population 29 30 29
Calgary motor vehicle collision statistics
Average annual total collisions for this period
36,934

Driving offences and car theft in Calgary

Driving offences under the criminal code appear stable.

Criminal Code Traffic Offence 2017 2018 2019
Impaired Causing Death 2 1 1
Impaired Causing Harm 4 4 7
Impaired > .08 144 127 91
Impaired Driving 719 676 772
Fail/Refuse 97 103 117
Dangerous Operation Causing Death 1 0 3
Dangerous Operation Causing Harm 8 13 9
Dangerous Operation of Motor Vehicle 154 158 169
Other 407 380 340
Total 1536 1462 1509
Violations per 100,000 Population 123.2 115.4 117.4

But the number of vehicle thefts in Calgary continues to rise year over year.

Year 2017 2018 2019
# Vehicle Thefts 6866 6919 6927
# Vehicles with Criminal Damage 2869 3037 3155
Vehicle Theft per 100,000 Population 550.9 545.9 538.8
Vehicle thefts and criminal damage in Calgary
Average vehicle thefts per 100,000 population
545.2
Use RATESDOTCA to find the best Calgary car insurance rate

Calgary, stop overpaying on car insurance!

Our service is free and it only takes a few minutes to compare quotes from Canada’s best insurance companies.

Last year, drivers who shopped for car insurance quotes on RATESDOTCA paid 30% less than the average market rate.*

Let us help find you a great deal today.

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*Based on the difference between the average lowest auto insurance premium and overall average auto insurance premium from our site in 2019.

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