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HomeCar Insurance ResourcesCan I negotiate car insurance in Canada?

In Canada, as in many other countries, car insurance rates are not typically “negotiated” in the same way that one might negotiate the price of a car or other consumer goods. However, there are several strategies you can employ to potentially lower your insurance premiums:

  1. Shop Around: One of the most effective ways to ensure you’re getting a good rate is to shop around. Different insurance providers might offer different rates for the same coverage, so get multiple quotes.
  2. Bundle Insurance: If you have other insurance needs (home, renters, another vehicle), you might be able to get a discount by bundling your policies with the same provider.
  3. Increase Deductible: If you’re willing to pay a higher deductible in the event of a claim, you can often get a lower monthly premium. However, ensure that you can afford the deductible in the event of an accident.
  4. Ask About Discounts: Many insurers offer various discounts – for being a good driver, having multiple cars, being a student, installing winter tires, or even for certain memberships or affiliations. Always ask providers about available discounts.
  5. Review Your Coverage: Make sure you’re not over-insured. If you have an older car, for instance, you might consider dropping collision coverage. However, understand the risks and make sure you’re comfortable with them.
  6. Maintain a Clean Driving Record: Your driving record plays a significant role in determining your insurance premiums. By avoiding traffic violations and accidents, you can ensure your rates remain low.
  7. Take a Driving Course: Some insurers may offer discounts if you’ve completed an approved driver’s education or defensive driving course.
  8. Reevaluate Regularly: Life circumstances change, and so do insurance rates. Regularly review your policy and shop around to see if you can get a better deal elsewhere, especially after significant life events.
  9. Inquire About Telematics: Some insurance companies offer a discount if you agree to install a telematics device in your car. This device monitors your driving habits, and if you’re a safe driver, you might get a discount.
  10. Opt for Annual Payments: Paying for your insurance annually rather than monthly can sometimes result in savings.

While you might not be “negotiating” in the traditional sense, these steps can effectively help you reduce your insurance premiums. Read the fine print and understand your coverage, so you’re not left under-insured or with unwanted surprises in the event of a claim.

Province-by-province breakdown

Here’s a province-by-province breakdown on the possibility of negotiating car insurance in Canada:

  1. British Columbia (BC):
    • Primary Provider: Insurance Corporation of British Columbia (ICBC)
    • Negotiation: Since basic insurance is provided through the crown corporation ICBC, rates for basic coverage are standardized and not negotiable. However, for optional additional coverage, there may be room to negotiate with private insurers or discuss various discount options with ICBC.
  2. Alberta:
    • Primary Provider: Private insurers
    • Negotiation: You can shop around among various private insurers. Rates can vary between companies, so it’s possible to find a better deal by comparing and discussing discounts.
  3. Saskatchewan:
    • Primary Provider: Saskatchewan Government Insurance (SGI)
    • Negotiation: Basic coverage rates through SGI are fixed, but for optional additional coverage, negotiation or shopping around with private insurers is possible.
  4. Manitoba:
    • Primary Provider: Manitoba Public Insurance (MPI)
    • Negotiation: Basic insurance rates with MPI are set. However, for optional coverage, you can compare prices and negotiate with both MPI and private insurers.
  5. Ontario:
    • Primary Provider: Private insurers
    • Negotiation: With numerous private insurance providers, shopping around and negotiating discounts or bundles is definitely possible.
  6. Quebec:
    • Primary Provider: Société de l’assurance automobile du Québec (SAAQ) for personal injury; private insurers for property damage
    • Negotiation: Personal injury coverage through SAAQ is fixed. However, for property damage, negotiation with private insurers is possible as rates can vary between providers.
  7. New Brunswick:
    • Primary Provider: Private insurers
    • Negotiation: You can negotiate with various private insurers. Comparing rates and seeking discounts or bundles can yield better deals.
  8. Nova Scotia:
    • Primary Provider: Private insurers
    • Negotiation: Shopping around among private providers and discussing potential discounts can help in obtaining a competitive rate.
  9. Prince Edward Island (PEI):
    • Primary Provider: Private insurers
    • Negotiation: Rates can be compared and potentially negotiated among various private insurers.
  10. Newfoundland and Labrador:
  • Primary Provider: Private insurers
  • Negotiation: As with other provinces with private insurers, negotiation is possible by comparing rates and seeking discounts.
  1. Yukon, Northwest Territories, and Nunavut:
  • Primary Provider: Private insurers
  • Negotiation: In these territories, with a competitive private insurance market, you can shop around and possibly negotiate with various insurance providers.

While the concept of “negotiation” might not always mean haggling over rates, in almost every province, there’s an opportunity to shop around, ask about discounts, adjust coverages, and possibly influence your premium. Factors like your driving record, the type of car you drive, and where you live will play a role in your insurance costs.

Why Do Car Insurance Rates Vary So Much?


Car insurance rates can vary significantly based on a range of factors. Here’s a breakdown of some of the primary reasons why rates might differ:

  1. Individual Driving Record: One of the most significant factors affecting your car insurance rate is your driving history. Drivers with histories of accidents, traffic violations, or DUIs often pay higher premiums.
  2. Vehicle Type: The make, model, and age of a vehicle can influence insurance costs. Some vehicles are more expensive to repair or replace, are more susceptible to theft, or have different safety ratings.
  3. Location: Where you live can greatly affect your insurance rates. Urban areas with higher traffic density often have higher accident rates, leading to higher premiums. Additionally, areas with high rates of vehicle theft or vandalism might also have higher insurance rates.
  4. Coverage Amount and Deductibles: The more coverage you want, the higher your premium is likely to be. Similarly, if you choose a lower deductible (the amount you pay out-of-pocket before insurance kicks in), your premium will generally be higher.
  5. Age and Experience: Younger drivers, especially teenagers, tend to have higher insurance rates due to their relative lack of driving experience. Rates often decrease as drivers age and gain more experience, up to a certain point. Senior drivers might see rates increase again due to potential declines in reflexes or vision.
  6. Gender: Some insurance providers consider gender because, statistically, certain genders might have different accident rates or risk profiles. However, this practice is becoming less common and is banned in some jurisdictions.
  7. Marital Status: Married individuals often see lower insurance rates than their single counterparts, possibly because they’re statistically seen as less risky.
  8. Usage: How often and how far you drive can influence your rates. A person who commutes long distances daily is more likely to be in an accident than someone who only uses their car occasionally.
  9. Credit Score: In some regions, insurers use credit scores as part of their rate calculations, believing that individuals with better credit are less likely to file claims.
  10. Insurance History: If you’ve had gaps in your insurance coverage or have a history of frequently switching insurers, some providers might consider you a higher risk.
  11. Competition among Insurers: In regions with multiple insurance providers, competition can drive prices down. Conversely, in areas with less competition, rates might be higher.
  12. State/Provincial Regulations: In some places, insurance is heavily regulated, leading to more standardized rates. In others, the market is more competitive, leading to a broader range of prices.
  13. Discounts: Availability and types of discounts (like multi-policy discounts, good student discounts, or safe driver discounts) can vary by provider and affect overall rates.
  14. Claim Frequency in the Area: Areas with a higher frequency of claims, even if you personally haven’t made a claim, can influence rates.

It’s a combination of these factors, and potentially others, that make car insurance rates vary so much between individuals, even if they live in the same city or region.

Purchase Only the Car Insurance Coverage That You Need


Here’s how you can evaluate your needs and tailor your insurance coverage:

  1. Understand Mandatory Coverage:
    • Most jurisdictions have mandatory insurance coverages. Typically, these will include some form of liability insurance that covers damages or injuries you cause to others in an accident.
    • Familiarize yourself with your jurisdiction’s minimum requirements. However, consider that the minimum might not always be adequate for your needs.
  2. Consider Your Vehicle’s Value:
    • If you have a newer or more expensive car, you’ll likely want collision and comprehensive coverage. Collision covers damages to your vehicle from accidents, while comprehensive covers non-accident-related damages (like theft or natural disasters).
    • For older vehicles with lower replacement value, it might not be cost-effective to have collision and comprehensive coverage. You might end up paying more in premiums than the car’s worth.
  3. Assess Your Financial Situation:
    • Determine how much you can afford to pay out-of-pocket in the event of an accident. This can help you decide on your deductible—the amount you pay before insurance coverage kicks in. A higher deductible generally means a lower premium, but make sure you can afford it.
  4. Personal Injury Protection & Medical Payments:
    • Some areas might require personal injury protection (PIP) or medical payments coverage, which cover medical expenses regardless of fault. Even if not mandatory, if you don’t have a good health insurance policy, you might consider adding this.
  5. Uninsured/Underinsured Motorist Protection:
    • This coverage protects you if you’re in an accident with someone who doesn’t have insurance or doesn’t have enough insurance to cover damages. Evaluate the likelihood of this risk in your area or based on your driving habits.
  6. Optional Coverages:
    • There are other optional coverages like rental reimbursement (pays for a rental car if yours is being repaired due to a covered incident) or roadside assistance. Only opt for these if you believe there’s a good chance you’ll use them.
  7. Evaluate Bundling:
    • If you have other insurance needs (home, renters, etc.), check if bundling with your auto insurance can save money. Sometimes the discounts make additional coverages more affordable or even free.
  8. Check for Discounts:
    • Always ask insurers about available discounts. Whether it’s for being a good driver, a student, having safety features on your car, or being a member of certain organizations, these can significantly reduce your premiums.
  9. Regularly Review Your Policy:
    • Life changes can influence your coverage needs. Maybe you’ve bought a new car, moved to a different area, or changed jobs with a different commute. Regularly review your policy to ensure it aligns with your current situation.
  10. Shop Around:
  • Even after determining the coverage you need, prices can vary significantly between providers. Regularly get quotes from different insurers to ensure you’re getting the best rate for the coverage you want.

The goal is to strike a balance: You don’t want to be over-insured and overpay, but you also don’t want to be under-insured and vulnerable to substantial out-of-pocket costs in the event of an incident.

What Causes Car Insurance Rates to Escalate?

calculating money savings

Car insurance rates in Canada, like in many other places, can escalate due to a variety of reasons. Here are some factors specific to Canada, as well as general factors, that can cause car insurance rates to rise:

  1. Individual Driving Record:
    • If a driver accumulates traffic violations, is involved in at-fault accidents, or gets convicted of impaired driving, their individual insurance rates will likely increase.
  2. Location:
    • Areas with higher traffic densities, like major cities such as Toronto or Vancouver, often see more frequent accidents, leading to higher premiums. Additionally, places with higher rates of vehicle theft or vandalism might also have increased insurance rates.
  3. Increasing Costs of Repairs:
    • Modern cars have complex electronics and advanced technologies. When damaged, these components can be expensive to repair or replace, driving up the cost of claims.
  4. Rising Medical Costs:
    • Medical treatments for injuries sustained in auto accidents are getting more expensive, pushing up the cost of personal injury claims.
  5. High Frequency of Claims in the Area:
    • If a particular region or province experiences a surge in claims (either due to natural events, increased thefts, or more accidents), insurers might raise rates to cover the increased payouts.
  6. Fraud:
    • Insurance fraud, especially related to staged accidents and exaggerated claims, can lead to higher overall costs for insurance companies, which may be passed on to consumers in the form of higher premiums.
  7. Natural Disasters:
    • Events like floods, wildfires, or hailstorms can result in a large number of claims in a short period. Such events have been on the rise in certain parts of Canada, contributing to increased rates.
  8. Economic Factors:
    • Factors such as inflation can increase the costs of both parts and labor, which in turn can influence insurance payouts and premiums.
  9. Province-Specific Regulations:
    • Each province in Canada has its own regulations concerning auto insurance. Changes or updates to these regulations can impact rates.
  10. Insurer’s Overall Loss Experience:
  • If an insurance company experiences higher than expected losses over a certain period, they might adjust their rates upwards to maintain profitability.
  1. Interest Rates:
  • Insurance companies invest the premiums they collect, and if returns on investments decrease due to lower interest rates, they might raise premiums to compensate.
  1. Age and Type of Vehicle:
  • As a car ages, parts might become harder to find or more expensive. Conversely, newer models with advanced technology can be more costly to repair. Both scenarios can lead to increased premiums.
  1. Changes in Personal Circumstances:
  • Life changes, like moving homes, changing jobs (and therefore the commute distance), or adding a young driver to the policy, can cause individual rate increases.

To get the best rates, shop around, ask about discounts, and maintain a clean driving record. If you see a significant rate increase, it might also be worth discussing with your insurer to understand the specific reasons and see if adjustments can be made.

About the Author: Valerie D. Hahn

Valerie is an insurance editor, journalist, and business professional at RateLab. She has more than 15 years of experience in personal financial products. She strives to educate readers and ensure that they are properly protected.

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