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Article Contents
Picture of By <span>Aren Mirzaian</span>
By Aren Mirzaian

Updated on February 12, 2024

Visit author page
Picture of By <span>Aren Mirzaian</span>
By Aren Mirzaian

Updated February 12, 2024

Visit author page

13 minute read

Article Contents

How Can You Get Cheap Car Insurance in Calgary?

You can get lower premiums and cheap car insurance in Calgary by finding the best policy deals and lowering your risk profile. Here are several ways to get cheap Calgary auto insurance:

Shop and Compare Policies

Different insurance providers offer different rates. By shopping between several companies, you can get the best Calgary auto insurance rates.

Bundle Home and Auto Insurance

Insurance companies like it when you bundle home and auto insurance because you’re giving them more business in one go. Bundling home and auto policies from one insurer typically gets you better rates than individual policies from two companies.

Remove Unnecessary Optional Coverage

Taking all the available auto insurance coverage protects you from many things but raises your premiums. If you want to lower insurance rates, double-check your policy and remove any optional coverage you likely won’t use.

Pay Yearly Premiums

Insurers often give discounts to customers who pay their auto insurance premiums in bulk. The initial payment might look expensive, but it’ll save you money compared to monthly premiums. Some insurers also offer half-year premium payments if you can’t afford to pay full-year premiums.

Drive Safely

Driving violations and accidents stay on your insurance record for years and negatively influence your auto insurance rates. If you have a clean driving record, ensure it stays that way to get the best Calgary car insurance rates.

Take Pay-As-You-Go Insurance

Consider pay-as-you-go insurance if you’re a safe driver who doesn’t travel much. This type of insurance determines your rates by analyzing your driving habits and car mileage. Pay-as-you-go insurance helps safe drivers save up to 30% on insurance premiums.

Get a Higher Deductible

You must pay deductibles when claiming insurance before the carrier covers the remaining expenses. A higher deductible means you pay more out of pocket in case of an accident, but it often comes with lower insurance premiums. Conversely, a lower deductible often means you pay less money in an accident but pay higher insurance rates.

Buy Safe Cars

Cars with high safety ratings often get lower insurance premiums because they’re less likely to experience serious damage in an accident. Check the car model’s safety rating before buying to ensure you won’t overpay for insurance.

Quick Facts About Auto Insurance in Calgary

  • Calgary car insurance is MORE expensive than the Alberta average.
  • The average annual car insurance cost in Calgary for a driver with a clean record is around $1,512.
  • Comparing Calgary auto insurance quotes with MyChoice could save you up to $1,074 annually.

Who Provides Car Insurance Quotes in Calgary?

Insurance agents, brokers, aggregators, and direct writers provide car insurance quotes in Calgary. What are the differences, and what does each offer? Here’s a closer look at the four insurance provider types:

Insurance Brokers

Insurance brokers are independent providers who can compare insurance providers and find you the best policy deals. Brokers are often very knowledgeable about the Calgary auto insurance market, so they’re well-equipped to answer your questions about insurance.

Direct Writers

Direct writers are similar to agents in that they only sell products from one insurer. They are usually cheaper because they don’t have physical offices, but you can’t book a face-to-face meeting with them.

Insurance Agents

Insurance agents are employed under a certain insurer, so their policy selection may be limited compared to brokers. However, they know the company’s insurance policies like the back of their hand and can give you discounts not available to brokers. Insurance agents can also close sales independently, ensuring your policy sale finishes quickly.

Insurance Aggregators

Aggregator websites like MyChoice gather offers from multiple insurers in one place to help drivers find the best deals. These sites are entirely free for customers, so you can get quotes and find the right policy without spending anything.

How Does Car Insurance Work in Calgary?

Car insurance in Calgary works by providing an agreed-upon amount of money when you’re involved in an auto accident. Auto insurance in Canada is mandatory, which means you must have an insurance policy to avoid fines and suspensions.

On top of facing fines and suspensions, you could be flagged as a high-risk driver by insurers if you’re caught driving without insurance. High-risk drivers get higher auto insurance premiums, meaning it’ll be even harder for you to drive legally in Calgary.

Auto insurance coverage in Calgary is split into two types:

  • Mandatory: You need mandatory coverage to drive legally. 
  • Optional: Optional coverage provides extra protection in specific situations.

Alberta provincial law requires all drivers to have three types of insurance coverage:

Third-Party Liability (TPL)

TPL insurance coverage provides benefits if you’re at fault for an accident that causes vehicular damage or results in somebody getting hurt or killed. Alberta provincial law requires you to have a minimum of $200,000 in TPL protection.

Direct Compensation for Property Damage (DCPD)

DCPD insurance covers your vehicle’s damage if another insured driver is at fault. This coverage became mandatory in January 2022 and is automatically applied to all current auto insurance policyholders in Calgary.

Accident Benefits

Accident benefits cover medical bills, income replacement, and potential funeral expenses if you, your passenger, or a pedestrian are hurt or killed in an accident.

While you only need the three mandatory coverage options to drive legally in Calgary, you may need extra protection for various reasons. Here are some extra coverage options we recommend for Calgary drivers:

Additional TPL Coverage

The bare minimum $200,000 TPL coverage is relatively small, so some Calgary drivers opt for additional third-party liability protection worth up to $2 million. 

Extra Accident Benefits

Accident benefits often have a claims cap – in 2022, the cap is $5488. If that number seems too small, ask your insurer about raising the accident benefit cap.

Collision Insurance

Many people don’t realize that the mandatory coverage doesn’t cover repair costs if you’re at fault. We recommend getting collision insurance because you never know when you might be at fault for an accident, and car repair costs can be expensive.

Comprehensive Insurance

Vehicle collisions aren’t the only potential danger to your car. Your car can also be damaged by bad weather, vandals, fire, or even animal collisions. Comprehensive insurance coverage protects you from just about any danger aside from vehicular collisions.

Limited Depreciation Waiver

Car theft is unfortunately very common in Calgary, meaning you need insurance protection from it. With a limited waiver of depreciation, you can get a refund on your car’s purchase price if it was stolen or totalled in an accident. 

Ridesharing Coverage

Regular auto insurance in Calgary doesn’t provide coverage for ridesharing drivers because they have a higher risk profile than regular drivers. Some common risks for ridesharing drivers include driving long distances, entering dangerous areas, and increased chances of theft and accidents.

Fortunately, ridesharing coverage is designed specifically for this subset of drivers. If your car gets stolen or involved in an accident when working as a rideshare driver, this coverage will pay out.

How Your Car Insurance Quotes Are Calculated in Calgary

Your Calgary car insurance rates are calculated based on how risky the insurer thinks you are. Generally, you’ll pay higher premiums if the insurer believes you’re more likely to get into an accident.

Here are the key criteria for determining your Calgary car insurance quotes:

Driver Demographics

Personal demographics are one of the main consideration factors for your Calgary auto insurance premiums because they affect your risk profile greatly.

Younger drivers must pay higher premiums because insurers generally see them as accident-prone. Fortunately, insurance rates start declining at 25 years old because insurers see you as an experienced driver by then. Your rates rise again when you hit 65 because seniors tend to have worse eyesight and are more vulnerable to injuries or death in accidents.

Women often get lower insurance rates than men because insurers believe them to be more careful drivers. The same goes for married people, who insurers assume will take fewer risks because they have family waiting at home. Moreover, married people usually bundle home and auto insurance, further driving their premiums down.

Location

Insurers charge higher insurance rates if you live in big cities like Calgary and Edmonton. Big cities are riskier for drivers because there are more cars and a higher risk of theft. 

Driving History

People with a clean driving history get lower premiums because insurers see them as low-risk drivers who are unlikely to get in accidents. Conversely, people with several accidents to their name get higher premiums because history may repeat down the line.

Driving Frequency

The more you drive, the more likely you will get into an accident. This is why insurers ask about your driving habits when determining your Calgary auto insurance premiums.

Vehicle Safety Record

Insurers use CLEAR (Canadian Loss Experience Automobile Rating) to measure a car model’s risk profile. Car models that are a frequent target of thieves and get into accidents often get a lower CLEAR score, marking them as high-risk vehicles. 

If you want to save on Calgary car insurance premiums, you should check a model’s CLEAR score before buying a car.

Coverage Chosen

Insurers use CLEAR (Canadian Loss Experience Automobile Rating) to measure a car model’s risk profile. Car models that are a frequent target of thieves and get into accidents often get a lower CLEAR score, marking them as high-risk vehicles. 

If you want to save on Calgary car insurance premiums, you should check a model’s CLEAR score before buying a car.

Most Expensive Postal Codes in Calgary

Because Alberta has the highest car insurance rates in Canada, Calgary is no exception. Compared to other cities in Alberta, Calgary has higher auto insurance rates, especially in T1Y (Northeast Calgary, Sunridge Temple, Pineridge), which has the highest rates. The three most expensive postal codes are listed below:

Postal CodeAverage Annual Car Insurance Rate
T1Y$2,212
T3Z$2,125
T2A, T2B$1,760

Least Expensive Postal Codes in Calgary

Calgary’s least expensive postal code is T3Z (Northwest Calgary, Southeast Calgary, Southwest Calgary). The cheapest postal codes for auto insurance premiums include the following:

Postal CodeAverage Annual Car Insurance Rate
T3Z (Northwest Calgary,
Southeast Calgary, Southwest Calgary)
$1,401
T3S$1,540
T2C, T2E, T2G, T2H, T2J, T2K$1,669

Car Insurance Cost in Calgary by Age

In Calgary, rates can rise and fall depending on how old or young you are. Car insurance is the most expensive for new drivers without prior experience. While these rates drop for drivers aged 50-65, they rise again after 65.

Here is a closer look at how Calgary insurance rates change according to age:

AgeAverage Annual Car Insurance RateAverage savings with MyChoice
18-20$5,397$1,074
21-24$3,084$614
25-34$2,056$409
35-44$1,512$301
45-54$1,239$247
55-64$1,053$210
65+$1,201$239

Car Insurance Cost in Calgary by Driving History

If you have several traffic convictions or have recently experienced an accident, securing lower rates can be challenging. Drivers who have previously had their licenses revoked might have an even harder time.

While some insurance companies offer decent coverage for high-risk drivers, it isn’t common. Consider how your driving habits can affect your premiums:

Driving violationAverage Annual Car Insurance Rate
Clean driving record$1,512
Insurance cancellation due to non-payment$2,479
Licence suspension for alcohol-related offences$1,814
One accident$3,326
Speeding ticket$1,965

Other Factors That Affect Car Insurance Prices in Calgary

Many factors influence your Calgary car insurance rates. In addition to the ones we covered previously, here are other criteria that may increase or decrease your premiums:

Car Model Age

Older car models tend to land higher premiums because they don’t have the safety features of newer models, and their spare parts may be harder to find. Factor this larger insurance cost into your budget before buying a vintage car.

Service Centre or Dealership Availability

Cars that are hard to repair usually have higher insurance premiums. This includes import and luxury cars without a large dealership or service centre presence in Canada.

Vehicle Mileage

The more you drive, the higher the likelihood of you getting into an accident – this is why high-mileage cars get higher rates.

Local Crime Rates

Living in high-crime areas means your car is at a higher risk of being stolen or damaged. Insurers generally give residents of high-crime areas higher rates because they’re more likely to make theft or vandalism claims.

Loyalty Bonuses

Insurers love loyal customers and may even reward a long-term policyholder with discounts or other benefits. Ask your insurance agent about rate reductions or discounts if you’ve had your policy for years.

The Best Car Insurance Brokerages in Calgary

Gathering and comparing car insurance quotes by yourself can be challenging, so enlisting the help of an experienced broker can be the shortcut you need. Auto insurance brokers are equipped to compare deals from various insurers and provide recommendations for the best deals.

Below are a few of the best car insurance brokerages you’ll find in Calgary:

BrokerageAddressPhone number
Sharp Insurance1331 Macleod Trail Southeast
Suite 300, Calgary
(403) 590-2008
Westland Insurance1111 Olympic Way Southeast
#300, Calgary
(403) 508-1111
Leibel Insurance Group2186 11 Street Northeast
#101, Calgary
(403) 910-1848

Driving in Calgary

Calgary is a large urban center home to over 1 million drivers. If you’re new to driving in this area, here are a few key facts to keep in mind:

  • Major highways in Calgary: Deerfoot Trail, Glenmore Trail, Crowchild Trail
  • Public transit options: CTrain (light rail transit), Access Calgary (door-to-door transportation for handicapped individuals)
  • Ridesharing services: Uber, Lyft, Didi, Ola
  • Parking space providers: Advanced parking, private lots
  • Top tourist attractions: Calgary Zoo, Heritage Park, Calgary Tower, Prince’s Island Park, Calgary Stampede Monument
  • Busy intersections: Macleod Trail on 25th Avenue, St. George’s Drive on 12th St NE, 16th Avenue NW to 14th Street NW

Airports: Calgary International Airport, Airdrie Aerodrome

Main Mode of Commuting in Calgary

Almost 380,000 Calgarians take personal vehicles to work every day, with 350,000 of them in the driver’s seat. Meanwhile, public transit is the second-most popular mode of commuting, with nearly 40,000 users. Here’s a detailed look at the main modes of commuting in Calgary:

Main mode of commutingCountsRates
Total – 25% sample data454,170100.0
Car, truck or van378,08583.2%
Car, truck or van – as a driver350,76577.2%
Car, truck or van – as a passenger27,3156.0%
Public transit39,9058.8%
Walked19,1954.2%
Bicycle3,9550.9%
Other method13,0352.9%

Commuting Duration in Calgary

Nearly half of Calgarians spend 15 to 29 minutes on their commute. This is to be expected, considering Calgary is one of the most congested areas in the country. Here’s a closer look at commuting durations in Calgary:

Commuting durationCountsRates
Total – 25% sample data454,170100.0
Less than 15 minutes97,61021.5%
15 to 29 minutes213,15046.9%
30 to 44 minutes99,69522.0%
45 to 59 minutes20,8454.6%
60 minutes and over22,8705.0%

Driving Conditions in Calgary

Calgary driving conditions can influence your insurance premiums, especially if you spend more time on the road. Here are a few must-knows about driving in Calgary:

  • Average daily commute time: 53 minutes round trip
  • Average annual rainfall: 425 mm/16.7 in per year
  • Average annual snowfall: 629 mm/24.76 in per year
  • Rainy days per year: 94.1 days
  • Rainiest month in Calgary: June 
  • Driest month in Calgary: January, February, November, December
  • Snow days per year: 88 days
  • Snowfall months in Calgary: October to May

Traffic in Calgary

Calgary roads are notoriously congested because of how many drivers are always on the road. In Canada, Calgary is among the top five most congested areas, following Toronto, Montreal, Vancouver, and Ottawa. Here are a few facts that might give you an accurate picture of what driving in Calgary is like: 

  • Population: 1.33 million
  • City area: 318.6 sq. mi
  • Average commute distance: 1.8 km
  • Time spent in traffic annually: 322 hours
  • Busiest highways: Highway Trail, Macleod Trail SE, Alberta Highway 1, Highway 201, Crowchild Trail SW

The Most Common Questions About Car Insurance in Calgary

How much is car insurance in Calgary?

On average, car insurance in Calgary typically costs $1,512 annually. Factors like driver demographics, postal code, car model, and mileage can affect your final premiums.

What is the cheapest car insurance in Calgary?

There is no particular car insurance company in Calgary that provides the most affordable rates for all drivers. The cost of your policy will ultimately depend on several factors. However, you can lower your rates by keeping your driving record clean, attending driving school, increasing your deductibles, and researching discounts, among other things.

Who has the cheapest home and auto insurance in Calgary?

While rates may vary, Sharp Insurance offers some of the cheapest home and auto insurance policies in Calgary. On average, home insurance costs $160/month, and car insurance costs $171/month.

Is car insurance in Calgary cheaper for new vehicles?

Car insurance in Calgary is not necessarily more affordable for new vehicles. Unless your new car boasts impeccable safety features and an excellent CLEAR score, it may cost you more. On average, insurance premiums drop by 3.4% for every year your car ages.

Can I add another driver to my car insurance in Calgary?

You can add another driver to your car insurance policy, especially if they drive it regularly. However, having more than one primary driver can increase your rates, depending on your co-policyholder’s driving record.

Does car insurance in Calgary include collision coverage?

Mandatory car insurance in Calgary does not include collision coverage. However, you can apply for collision coverage optionally.

Is the car insured or the driver in Calgary?

Insurance in Calgary typically covers the car, not the driver. However, you can apply for medical payment coverage to help finance bills in case of an accident.

What are the cheapest cars to insure in Calgary?

The cheapest cars to insure in Calgary are the 2009 Dodge Journey, 2011 Ford F150, and 2010 Toyota Matrix. However, prices may vary according to the specific model.

Can I get month-to-month insurance in Calgary?

No, you cannot get month-to-month insurance in Calgary. While some insurance providers have policies as short as six months, the standard term is one year. If you rent a vehicle seasonally, you can apply for seasonal or rental insurance.

Pay-as-you-go or usage-based insurance might be more appropriate if you don’t drive frequently.

Is ridesharing insurance available in Calgary?

Yes, there is ridesharing insurance available in Calgary. If you plan to enroll your vehicle as part of a ridesharing platform, you’ll have to discuss coverage adjustments with your insurer.

Why is Calgary car insurance so expensive?

Calgary car insurance is expensive because of high traffic volume, unpredictable weather, and frequent vehicle theft. Thus, insuring vehicles in this area is risky.

Who sets car insurance rates in Calgary?

The Automobile Insurance Rate Board (AIRB) is responsible for setting car insurance rates in Calgary and managing the grid rating system. 

Is car insurance mandatory in Calgary?

Yes, car insurance is mandatory for all Calgary drivers with a license. If you drive a vehicle, you’ll need third-party liability (TPL) and accident benefits coverage.

How much is car insurance in Calgary for new drivers?

Car insurance for new drivers in Calgary costs an average of $187 or more. New drivers pay higher premiums than older drivers because they typically lack experience.

How much is vehicle insurance in Alberta per year?

According to the Insurance Bureau of Canada, the average cost of car insurance premiums in Alberta is $1,211 per year.

Can I get same-day car insurance in Calgary?

Yes, you can get same-day car insurance in Calgary if you can provide the necessary documents on time.

Does credit score impact car insurance rates in Calgary?

Yes, a history of poor credit can increase your car insurance rates in Calgary because it indicates that you are more likely to miss a payment.

Should I buy insurance before buying a car in Calgary?

While you can purchase insurance before buying a car in Calgary, it isn’t advised, as the make and model of your vehicle can significantly influence your premiums. 

Does fault matter in a car accident in Calgary?

Yes, fault can impact your future insurance rates in case of an accident. If you cause a collision, your insurance rates can rise upon renewal.

What is the grid rating in Calgary?

The grid rating program in Calgary establishes the maximum rate an insurer can charge for basic coverage. Only 10% of drivers in Alberta pay grid rates.

Does Calgary auto insurance also work in the US?

Yes, your Calgary auto insurance will apply in the U.S. because of similar laws and regulations. However, depending on where you visit, you may have to pay additional travel insurance.

Sources

1. Mychoice.ca Internal Data, Most Expensive Postal Codes, Alberta, Calgary, Car Insurance Quotes Collected, 2023.

2. Mychoice.ca Internal Data, Least Expensive Postal Codes, Alberta, Calgary, Car Insurance Quotes Collected, 2023.

3. Mychoice.ca Internal Data, Rate Cost By Age, Alberta, Calgary, Car Insurance Quotes Collected, 2023.

4. Mychoice.ca Internal Data, Rate Cost By Driving History, Alberta, Calgary, Car Insurance Quotes Collected, 2023.

5. City of Calgary Website, Driving & Transit Information. Data Collected, 2023.

6. Statistics Canada, 2021, Census of Population, Alberta, Calgary, Main Mode of Commuting. Data Published March 29, 2023.

7. Statistics Canada, 2021, Census of Population, Alberta, Calgary, Commuting Duration. Data Published March 29, 2023.

8. Weather Network Canada, Historical Averages, Alberta, Calgary.

9. Transportation Alberta Mapping, Alberta, Calgary.

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