Student driving basics
Every province has a minimum age required before you can start driving. In most provinces, the age is 16. In Alberta and New Brunswick, the age is 14.
The first step is a learner’s permit, which has restrictions. These restrictions vary depending on your province. Generally speaking, here are some of the restrictions you can expect:
- You can only drive if an experienced driver is in the vehicle with you
- You must have a blood alcohol level of zero
- There may be restrictions on the time of day you are allowed to drive
- There may be restrictions on where you can drive. For example, in Ontario, new drivers cannot drive on the 400 series highways
- There may be restrictions on the number of passengers allowed in your vehicle
These are some general guidelines, but they vary from province to province. This Wikipedia article breaks down the rules for every province.
Most provinces have a graduated licensing system. That means you take a written test first, followed by one or more driving tests. It might seem like a complicated system, but it’s there to keep you safe!
Car insurance for student drivers or new drivers
If there is a new driver in your household, it’s important to let your insurance provider know. Give your insurance broker a call and have the new driver added as a secondary driver.
What if you’re a new driver who wants to buy a new car?
If you’re a new driver and you want your own car, you must make sure you meet the requirements. In Ontario, you need at least a G2 license first. Be sure to check the requirements in your province. It’s important to know that in Canada, car insurance is the law. The minimum coverages vary from province to province, but wherever you live in this country, you cannot drive without insurance. This is to protect you and the people around you.
What if you’re a new driver who wants to rent a car only?
Even if you’re just renting a car, you still require some type of insurance.
Consequence for student drivers who drive without car insurance
If you’re caught driving without insurance the consequences are serious. Here are some of the penalties you might face for driving without insurance in Canada:
- Your license could be suspended or revoked
- You could face steep fines
- Your car could be impounded – which will result in additional fines
- You will be considered a high-risk driver, which means higher insurance rates in the future
Pro tip: When you begin your driving journey, start on the right foot. Get the right insurance plan with the help of a BrokerLink insurance advisor.
How you can save on car insurance as a student driver
We’re sorry to say the rumours are true: generally speaking, insurance is more expensive for inexperienced drivers. However, there are a few tips and tricks that can save you money in the short and long term. Keep reading to learn more about how new drivers can save on insurance.
Go to driving school
Completing a driver’s education course can result in savings on insurance that will cover the cost of the training in the first year. Just make sure the program is approved by the Ministry of Transportation. (We’re sure your dad is a great teacher – but sadly his course won’t result in savings on your insurance bill.)
We know “drive safe” goes without saying. But you might not realize how much of an impact it has on your insurance bill. No accidents means you will be considered a low risk driver, which means a less expensive insurance bill. You can learn more about how to stay safe behind the wheel by reading our Good Driver Habits guide.
Bundle and save
If you bundle your car insurance with other types of insurance such as home, or even with another car, you can save as much as 15% on each policy. If you’re a new driver, consider bundling your car insurance with your parent’s insurance.
Types of student auto insurance coverage
Car insurance is mandatory in Canada and is especially important for young drivers with limited experience behind the wheel. The purpose of auto insurance is to protect all drivers, passengers, and vehicles on the road. Certain types of car insurance coverages are compulsory, while others are optional. To learn more about the best types of car insurance for student drivers, keep reading.
Third party liability coverage
Third party liability coverage protects the driver if they’re found at fault for a collision. It is mandatory in Canada and can help pay for a wide range of expenses, from medical bills for injuries and vehicle repair costs for damaged cars to legal representation and court fees. When purchasing student car insurance in your province, speak with a trusted insurance broker to make sure your policy meets the minimum requirements for third party liability coverage in your province or territory.
Collision coverage is optional but may be worthwhile for student drivers. How collision coverage works is as follows: if you get into an accident with another vehicle or object on the road, collision coverage can help cover the cost of property damage.
For peace of mind, many student drivers choose to include comprehensive coverage in their policies. This optional coverage type offers protection against a wide range of circumstances, from water damage and theft to fire and vandalism. In essence, with comprehensive coverage, you can rest easy knowing that you are protected no matter what happens on the road.
Accident forgiveness coverage
Accident forgiveness is another type of student auto insurance coverage that is optional, though highly recommended for student drivers. Due to their limited experience behind the wheel, student drivers may have an accident. With accident forgiveness coverage on your policy, your insurer cannot increase your insurance rate if you get into an at-fault accident. Please note that this type of coverage is only valid for the student driver’s first at-fault accident.
Uninsured automobile coverage
Uninsured automobile coverage protects the policyholder and any passengers in their car if they’re involved in an accident with an at-fault driver who is uninsured or underinsured. This type of coverage is mandatory in all provinces and territories in Canada.
Driving tips for student drivers in Canada
Driving is a skill that takes time and patience to master. Student drivers shouldn’t expect to be excellent drivers overnight. Instead, honing your driving skills requires regular practice. If you are new behind the wheel, we’ve got some tips for you. From avoiding distractions to slowing down, check out our top five tips for student drivers in Canada.
Statistics reveal that young drivers may be more likely to speed than their older counterparts. For this reason, we urge student drivers to slow down. The faster you are driving, the less time you have to stop your car, and the worse the impact will be. Student drivers in Canada should always strive to drive the speed limit (or below it in poor weather, at night, or when in a construction zone). Driving slowly will ultimately give you more time to react to various situations, decreasing your odds of getting into an accident.
Check your mirrors
A responsible student driver is aware of their surroundings at all times, and the only way to be aware of your surroundings is by checking your mirrors. Make a point of glancing into your rear-view and side mirrors every few seconds. In addition, scan all lanes ahead of you so you are aware of other vehicles beyond the one directly in front. Checking your mirrors is a habit all student drivers should work to develop.
Attend a driving school
New Drivers should consider attending an approved driving school in their province. Driving schools provide a mix of in-class and in-car lessons, allowing young drivers to learn the rules of the road in a classroom before honing their practical skills in a vehicle. Plus, attending driving school might make you eligible for a discount on your student car insurance.
Give yourself space
There’s no downside to giving yourself extra space on the road, which is why we always recommend that student drivers maintain a distance of two car lengths between themselves and the vehicle in front of them at all times. This way, if you have to stop suddenly, you can do so without hitting the car in front. Alternatively, if you are rear-ended at an intersection, this extra space will ensure you don’t bump into the car ahead, causing greater damage. Ample space is also important in the following situations: when driving at high speeds, such as on a highway and in poor weather conditions like fog, snow, or rain.
One final tip for student drivers in Canada is to avoid distractions. Distracted driving is one of the leading causes of car accidents in North America. So when you are behind the wheel, do not eat, drink, fiddle with the radio, or turn around to talk to passengers in the backseat. Instead, while your vehicle is still parked in your driveway, change the radio to the station you want, set up your GPS, and do whatever you need to do so that you can fully concentrate on the road.
Contact BrokerLink for your student driver car insurance needs
When you’re new behind the wheel, it can be overwhelming. There’s a lot to learn and a lot to think about. When it comes to car insurance, you don’t have to do it alone. BrokerLink insurance advisors are insurance experts. They can help you find the insurance you need at a price that’s fair.
If you’re the parent of a new driver, our insurance advisors can offer safety tips and best practices. Let us help take some of the stress out of seeing your kid on the road for the first time.
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Pro tip: Learn about defensive driving while you’re still a beginner. Safe habits now will pay off in the long run.
FAQs on insurance for student drivers
Is my Ontario student driver insurance still good if I travel to Alberta?
When you have a learner’s permit, there are restrictions on when and where you can drive. These restrictions vary from province to province. In most cases, it’s probably best to stick to your own province until you can drive on your own. For advice on your specific situation, talk to your insurance broker.
Is there a difference between student car insurance and regular car insurance?
There’s no such thing as student car insurance. Once you meet the requirements to purchase insurance, you will be eligible for the same policies as anyone else. However, as a new driver, you may have to pay more than a more experienced driver.
When it comes to car insurance, what does occasional driver mean?
An occasional driver (sometimes referred to as a secondary driver) is someone who only drives the car occasionally. In order to be considered an occasional driver, you cannot drive more than 50 percent of the time. You can read more about occasional drivers here.
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