How to insure a car in Alberta

12 minute read Published on Dec 17, 2023 by BrokerLink Communications

A closeup of a white car from the left side driving on a road

Wondering how to insure a car in Alberta? The process is easier than you might think, though there are a few things to know. Whether you are buying Calgary car insurance or Edmonton car insurance, you must ensure that you purchase coverage that not only complies with local laws in Alberta but that also meets your needs. Continue reading to learn more about how to insure your vehicle in Alberta.

Who can buy car insurance in Alberta?

Car insurance is not only available to any Alberta resident with a driver’s licence, it is required for any driver in Alberta. The provincial government legally requires all Alberta motorists to purchase auto insurance coverage.

What does car insurance cover in Alberta?

What car insurance covers ultimately depends on the coverage you choose to add to your policy. There is a mix of mandatory and optional coverages available to Alberta customers. Mandatory coverage types of auto insurance, as the name suggests, are legally required for all drivers in Alberta. This means that you will need to purchase the following coverage in order to operate a vehicle in Alberta:

Please note that if your car insurance policy does not include the coverage listed above, and no less than $200,000 in liability insurance, to be specific, then you will be in breach of the law. If you want to avoid the consequences that may arise from getting caught driving without insurance, you must purchase a valid auto insurance policy, which an insurance broker in Alberta can help you with. It is also worth reminding drivers that the consequences for uninsured driving in Alberta range from the impoundment of your vehicle and the temporary suspension of your driver’s licence to expensive fines and jail time.

Third party liability coverage

Third party liability coverage is the first type of mandatory car insurance coverage in Alberta. Thus, when you insure your car, you will need to make sure that your policy includes $200,000 worth of this type of coverage. Liability insurance protects drivers who cause car accidents. If you are found to be liable for an accident that resulted in bodily harm or property damage to another, liability insurance will help pay for the medical bills, repair bills, or legal fees incurred.

Accident benefits coverage

Accident benefits coverage is the second type of mandatory coverage in Alberta. It covers medical fees if someone involved in an accident suffers bodily harm and requires medical attention. This type of coverage can be claimed on behalf of the policyholder or someone else who was harmed in the accident, like a passenger or pedestrian.

Accident benefits can reimburse policyholders for costs associated with bodily injury and death, including but not limited to funeral fees, lost income, and medical bills for physical therapy, rehabilitation, prescription medications, and more.

Direct compensation - property damage coverage

Direct compensation - property damage coverage can compensate policyholders for the cost of property damage if their vehicle is damaged in an accident. So long as you did not cause the accident, you can receive a payout via the direct compensation portion of your Alberta car insurance policy to help pay for the cost of repairing your vehicle.

Optional coverage for Alberta drivers

As previously mentioned, Alberta car insurance may include optional coverage as well as mandatory coverage. Some of the most common types of optional coverage found in Alberta auto insurance policies include:

Collision coverage

Collision car coverage can pay to repair or replace your vehicle if it suffers extensive damage in an accident. Collision insurance applies whether the accident was with another car, an animal, or a grounded object on the road. It may also apply regardless of which driver caused the accident. While usually optional, collision car coverage may be obligatory in certain situations, like if you lease or finance your car and your lease agreement stipulates that you must have it.

Collision coverage is subject to a deductible, while some companies have a minimum of $500 deductible, this does not mean that you must keep the minimum deductible, oftentimes you can raise the deductible if you are comfortable doing so to receive a discount on your policy.

Comprehensive coverage

Comprehensive car coverage is another type of optional coverage for Alberta drivers. With comprehensive coverage, also known as parked car insurance coverage, you can be reimbursed for the cost of repairing or replacing your vehicle if it is damaged while parked. For comprehensive coverage to kick in, the damage must have been caused by an insured peril, like fire, wind, water, falling or flying objects, theft, and vandalism. Similar to collision coverage, comprehensive coverage is also subject to a deductible.

Accident forgiveness coverage

One more type of optional car insurance coverage popular among drivers in Alberta is accident forgiveness. Accident forgiveness is additional coverage that can be added to your car insurance policy as an endorsement, to protect your driving record and to help prevent your insurance premium from increasing if you have an at-fault accident claim. Note: coverage and eligibility varies by province.

Waiver of depreciation

Waiver of depreciation is a type of coverage that will help pay to replace your vehicle if it is totalled. In other words, if the insurance company deems your car a write-off, and you have a waiver of depreciation, you will be reimbursed for the full value of a brand new vehicle. This is because, unlike actual cash value coverage, a waiver of depreciation does not factor in depreciation, resulting in a much larger insurance payout.

Loss of use coverage

Finally, loss of use coverage is one last type of optional insurance coverage that Alberta drivers may choose to add to their policies when insuring their cars. Loss of use coverage will pay for you to take alternative modes of transportation while your car is being repaired. So for instance, if you get into an accident and your car needs to be in the shop for a week while it gets fixed, loss of use coverage can cover the cost of taking ride shares, taxis, a rental car, or public transportation until your car is as good as new.

What isn’t covered by car insurance in Alberta?

The biggest mistake a driver can make is to assume that something is covered by auto insurance without checking. No insurance policy is entirely comprehensive. There are always limits. This is what makes reading your policy so important. Experts always recommend reviewing all terms and conditions of your policy so that you will know exactly how you are covered.

If you need help reviewing your policy, don’t hesitate to ask a BrokerLink insurance advisor. In the meantime, a few types of coverage that drivers tend to assume they’re covered for when they aren’t include:

Collision and comprehensive coverage

You might be surprised to learn how many motorists assume that their insurance policy features these optional coverages. While collision and comprehensive insurance are popular coverage choices, they are optional in Alberta, which means you will need to add them to your policy if you want to be covered for them.

Personal belongings stolen from a car

There is no type of coverage that will cover you if personal belongings are stolen from your car. While comprehensive coverage protects you if your entire vehicle is stolen or if permanent fixtures in your car, like the catalytic converter or steering wheel are stolen, it will not pay to replace any personal items stolen from your car. Your property insurance might cover you, if applicable, but you would need to review the conditions of your policy.

Business use of a car

Unless you specifically purchased a commercial auto insurance endorsement, your personal car insurance plan will not cover you for business use of your vehicle. So before you start using your car to deliver items to customers or transport materials to and from job sites, be sure to contact your insurance provider so you can update your policy.

How to buy car insurance in Alberta

If you want to insure your car in Alberta, you can do so with ease thanks to BrokerLink. To begin the process, contact a BrokerLink insurance advisor and let them know that you wish to purchase auto insurance coverage.

From there, your insurance advisor will let you know what information and documents you need in order to purchase coverage, as well as what coverage is required in the province of Alberta. Generally speaking, you should be prepared to provide a copy of your driver’s licence and the bill of sale or lease agreement for the car you want to insure. If you bought your car outside of Alberta, you may also need to undergo an out-of-province inspection. You may also need to provide a claims experience letter from your past auto insurance provider, along with a driving record or driver’s abstract.

Once you’ve got your documents together, an Alberta insurance broker will shop around for coverage on your behalf, comparing quotes to find you the best rate. They will then present you with multiple options, explain each to you, and let you pick your favourite. When you work with a broker, they handle everything, which makes the entire process of insuring your car a breeze!

What factors impact car insurance rates in Alberta?

Car insurance rates in Alberta, or anywhere in Canada for that matter, are typically affected by the following factors:

  • Where you live, and where you regularly commute
  • Age
  • Model, make, trim, and year of vehicle
  • Past claims
  • Average mileage
  • Driving experience
  • Driving record
  • Insurance history
  • Deductible amount
  • Regulatory bodies
  • How you use your vehicle
  • Gender

How to save money when insuring a car in Alberta

Do you want to save money on car insurance in Alberta? Minimize how much you spend on insuring your car by following the tips below:

Pay for your policy annually

Paying for your policy on a yearly basis rather than a monthly one can save you money. This is because some insurance companies charge additional fees to those who pay in monthly instalments. These fees are usually called administrative or payment fees.

Raise your policy deductibles

Raising the deductibles on your Alberta car insurance policy can also make your car cheaper to insure. Instead of a $500 deductible, consider a $1,000 deductible or higher if you want to reduce your auto insurance premium.

Insure two or more cars together

Insuring two or more cars at the same time by purchasing multiple auto insurance policies can result in big savings. Insurance companies usually give discounts to those who purchase more than one car insurance policy.

Try an insurance bundle

Insurance bundles are another way to save money on auto insurance in Alberta. An insurance bundle is when you buy two or moreinsurance products from the same provider. For example, you might be able to create a bundle that’s made up of auto insurance and home insurance or auto insurance and recreational vehicle insurance. Contact BrokerLink to learn more about how bundling works and how you can be eligible for it.

Ask about auto insurance discounts

It never hurts to ask! The reality is that you might not be aware of just how many car insurance discounts are out there. Auto insurance companies in Canada have a whole host of discounts that customers may be eligible for. Ask an insurance broker about the different types of discounts out there.

Review your car insurance coverage before renewing

Before you let your car insurance policy automatically review, look over your coverage to determine if it still works for you. Chances are, your coverage needs will change from year to year. If you don’t review your coverage annually, you might end up paying for coverage you no longer need.

Break this cycle by analyzing your coverage or having a broker do it for you. This way, you can modify deductibles, coverage limits, and coverage types to better reflect your needs. Certain types of modifications, like removing collision or comprehensive coverage from your policy as your car ages can result in cheaper premiums.

Get winter tires for your car

Winter tires are not mandatory in Alberta, but they do make driving during a harsh Alberta winter much safer. For this reason, auto insurance companies often provide discounts to drivers who install snow tires on their cars.

Discounts vary but customers are usually eligible so long as all four winter tires on their car are the same model and they are installed by a certain date each year.

Attend driving school

Car insurance for people under 25 tends to be among the highest in Canada. However, there is something you can do to reduce your rates, which is to enrol in and graduate from an approved driving school in Alberta. If you can show proof that you received driving instruction from a professional, you might be eligible for a car insurance discount.

Improve your safe driving habits

If you can have safe driving habits, you will be more likely to maintain a clean driving record, which can also save you money on car insurance. Review all local traffic laws, including Alberta car seat laws, to ensure you are aware of the rules of the road.

Go hybrid or electric and prioritize a safe car

Certain types of cars, like hybrid and electric vehicles and cars with high safety ratings may be cheaper to insure than others. Contact BrokerLink to learn about the cars with the lowest rates and how the type of car you drive can impact your premium.

Contact BrokerLink for more information on how to insure a car in Alberta

If you still have questions about how to insure a car in Alberta, don’t hesitate to reach out to BrokerLink. We have insurance offices all over the province of Alberta and we know the ins and outs of Alberta car insurance.

Whether you need help deciding what coverage to add to your policy, renewing car insurance, adding a driver to your policy, or finding affordable car insurance, you can count on us. As auto insurance experts, we will do everything we can to answer your questions, help you navigate the insurance buying process, and ultimately, help you find quality coverage that doesn’t break the bank. One of BrokerLink’s licensed insurance advisors can also explain complex industry jargon like new car grace period. For more information on BrokerLink auto insurance services, contact us today.

Lastly, if you’re looking to obtain a free Alberta car insurance quote, BrokerLink is here. Reach out today to request a free quote over the phone or in person. You can also use the online quote tool on our website, which will give you a free quote in minutes.

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FAQs on insuring a car in Alberta

Should I insure my Alberta car through a broker or an agent?

There are benefits to working with both insurance brokers and insurance agents. If you need help understanding the benefits of insurance brokers vs agents, reach out to an insurance professional near you.

Can I put my Alberta auto insurance policy on hold?

Can I put my car insurance on hold? is a popular question among motorists in Alberta. The answer depends on several factors, including your insurance provider and the conditions that they’ve laid out. Some insurance companies do not allow policyholders to suspend their coverage. For those that do, there is usually a list of conditions that must be met to qualify. Keep in mind that most car insurance policies that are on hold still contain certain types of valid coverage, like comprehensive coverage, so that your car is protected from damage even while it’s not being driven.

I am buying my first-ever car insurance policy in Alberta. Do I need a valid Alberta driver’s licence to do so?

Yes. You will need a valid driver’s licence to buy any type of car insurance policy in Alberta. In fact, an insurance agent or broker will likely ask for a copy of your driver’s licence before doing anything else. If you are hoping to list other drivers on your policy, you will need to show proof of their driver’s licence as well.

Do I need to insure my car in Alberta if I already have car insurance in another province?

It depends. Some insurance companies offer their services throughout all of Canada or in multiple provinces, so if the insurer offers coverage both in your province of origin and Alberta, then you may be able to keep your current policy. That said, you will need to contact your insurance provider to let them know that you have moved and to give them your new address. Please note that your insurance premium may change when you give them a new address, as location is one factor that impacts premiums. In addition, if your last policy doesn’t meet the minimum coverage requirements laid out by the Alberta provincial government, then your coverage will need to be updated too, which can also affect your rates.

On the other hand, if your existing insurance provider does not offer coverage in Alberta, you will need to cancel your existing policy and purchase a brand-new policy in Alberta. At the very least you will need to start by contacting your insurance company for advice.

If you have any questions, contact one of our local branches.