Depending on which province you live in, you might find that you're paying more for car insurance. According to a new report from the Insurance Bureau of Canada (IBC), British Columbia drivers pay $1,832 on average for their insurance coverage annually. But, Quebec residents only pay an average of $717 – a $1,115 price difference.
The province coming in second place for the highest insurance premium is Ontario. Ontario drivers pay on average about $1,505 annually. In Alberta, the average driver will pay about $1,316 for annual premiums.
How are the average auto insurance rates calculated?
To get an average figure, the IBC took the total amount for premiums based on the province and divided it by the total number of vehicles owned by residential drivers in that province.
Here’s how it works:
- Alberta has $3,640,470,499 (in premiums) / 2,766,202 (number of personal vehicles) = $1,316 average auto insurance premiums.
- British Columbia has $5,575,221,831 (in premiums) / 3,043,436 (number of personal vehicles) = $1,832 average auto insurance premiums.
- Ontario has $11,673,687,017 in premiums) / 7,759,059 (number of personal vehicles) = $1,505 average auto insurance premiums.
Source: ICBC 2019 Service Plan
Average Car Insurance Rates by Province
- British Columbia: $1,832 (Up from $1,680 in 2017)
- Ontario: $1,505 (Up from $1,445 in 2017)
- Alberta: $1,316 (Up from $1,251 in 2017)
- Saskatchewan: $1,235 (Up from $936 in 2017)
- Newfoundland and Labrador: $1,168 (Up from $1,132 in 2017)
- Manitoba: $1,080 in 2017 (Figures for 2018 weren’t available)
- Nova Scotia: $891 (Up from $842 in 2017)
- New Brunswick: $867 (Up from $819 in 2017)
- Prince Edward Island: $816 (Up from $796 in 2017)
- Quebec: $717 (Up from $661 in 2017)
Sources: Based on IBC BAC data for 2018 and 2017.
"The system is broken"
The IBC used its report to once again press for British Columbia to break up the public Insurance Corporation of British Columbia (ICBC) and open the province up to private insurers.
“Under ICBC’s monopoly, British Columbians will again pay the highest auto insurance prices in Canada, with premiums now averaging $1,832 annually," said Vice President of IBC, Aaron Sutherland. "While many important changes are underway in B.C., none are expected to begin to reduce the price most drivers are paying. Today’s numbers are yet further evidence of the need to open ICBC to competition and give British Columbians the ability to shop around for their auto insurance needs,”.
New fee structures coming to B.C. in September
B.C. will have new fee structures that start this September. This will help drivers who maintain good driving records. They will have lower premiums while drivers with bad driving records will likely see a rate increase and can expect to pay higher premiums.
David Eby, B.C.'s Attorney General, says the move will improve insurance for drivers in that province. “We want to modernize ICBC so that British Columbians pay according to their crash history, driving records and level of risk, and take responsibility for their driving habits. It’s only fair. Right now, the system is broken. A driver with no crashes could be paying the same premium as a driver with three at-fault crashes in a year,” he said.
How to find discounts for auto insurance
For drivers concerned about the high costs of auto insurance, they can find discounts that might lower their premiums. These can include:
For drivers in general
- Ask for a discount as a repeat, valued customer or an employer or alumni-based discount
- Ask for multi-vehicle policy discounts and bundle insurance with home and auto
- Commute less by carpooling, ride-shares or a shorter commute
- Maintain a good insurance credit score, keep claims to a minimum and maintain a clean driving record for one year and then five years
- Drive a late model, fuel-efficient vehicle, have winter tires added and install a vehicle alarm system
- Raise your deductible from $250 or $500 to $1,000 (only do this if you have the money already saved to cover your deductible)
- Shop online for cheaper car insurance
- Take teen drivers or other family members off your insurance if they’re high-risk drivers (multiple accidents, speeding tickets)
For seniors and retirees
As well as the tips above, seniors and retirees can:
- Ask for a discount for reduced driving
- Ask for a discount when you retire
- Ask for a discounted rate from a past employer
- Shop for senior discounted insurance policies
- Use a telematic system in your vehicle to monitor your driving
For students and teens
- Ask for a review of your premium when you turn age 25
- Maintain a clean driving record, don't speed or get citations
- Maintain good grades
- Take a driver’s education course if you are a new driver going through the licensing system
Ready to find the best insurance rates?
While insurance rates are higher in some provinces, you don't have to accept high prices. In Ontario and Alberta, drivers can shop online at Rates.ca to find the cheapest car insurance.
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