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How does Edmonton car insurance work?

In Edmonton, car insurance is regulated by the Automobile Insurance Rate Board (AIRB) of Alberta. If you own a car in Edmonton (or anywhere else in the province), you must purchase coverage from a private insurer. There are two mandatory coverages, which everyone must have, and multiple optional coverages available, depending on your needs.

Mandatory insurance for drivers in Edmonton

  • You must have a minimum of $200,000 in Third Party Liability insurance coverage, but according to the AIRB, the majority of Albertans opt for at least $1,000,000.
  • Your policy must also contain Accident Benefits. This covers medical/rehabilitation costs, death benefits, funeral expenses and income replacement in the event of an injury resulting from a car accident.

Without this minimum coverage, you are not able to register your automobile. Driving an unregistered and uninsured automobile is illegal in Canada.

Optional insurance for drivers in Edmonton

Most drivers in Edmonton supplement the mandatory (basic) insurance by purchasing additional coverage.

  • The two most popular additions are Collision, which covers damages to your vehicle in the event of a collision with another vehicle or object, and Comprehensive, which covers damage from incidents outside of collisions, such as vandalism, hail, theft and fire. Specified Perils is similar to comprehensive, but only covers damages resulting from incidents specifically named in the policy.
  • You can also purchase endorsements, which are smaller optional coverages. Examples of endorsements include Accident Rating Waiver, which prevents your rates from going up following a first at-fault accident, and Limited Waiver of Depreciation, which waives the cost of depreciation on the repair or replacement of your vehicle in the event of an insured loss.

For more information on provincial regulations affecting drivers in Edmonton, check out our Alberta car insurance page.

Frequently asked questions about auto insurance in Edmonton (FAQs)

Here are some of the most frequently asked questions from drivers in Edmonton:

Why do I need car insurance in Edmonton?

Drivers in Edmonton cannot legally operate a vehicle without owning car insurance. Basic coverage (third-party liability and accident benefits) is required by law to ensure that you have adequate protection in the event of an accident, regardless of who is at fault.

Is Edmonton auto insurance regulated?

Yes, although Alberta’s auto insurance industry is privatized, it is still heavily regulated. The Automobile Insurance Rate Board (AIRB) and Superintendent of Insurance regulate insurance at the provincial level. AIRB have devised a Grid system, which establishes the maximum amount Alberta’s private insurance company can charge for basic coverage.

Private companies operating within Edmonton must apply to these regulators if they wish to increase their rates. AIRB publish approved rate changes every three months.

It is important to note that provincial regulations only extend to basic coverage. For optional coverages, such as collision and comprehensive, insurers are free to decide how much to charge. However, as Alberta has a private insurance system, Edmontonians are able to shop around different providers and compare prices.

How much does car insurance in Edmonton cost?

Edmonton is the most expensive city in Alberta for car insurance, with a citywide average of $1,500 per year. This figure is based on minimum coverage for one driver. If you have multiple drivers in your household or opt for any additional coverage, you can expect to pay more. One recent study found that a family in Alberta with a new driver in the household will pay about $2,398 per year (Comparison of Auto Insurance Rates in BC and Alberta – MNP - January 2020).

Why does Edmonton car insurance cost so much?

Edmonton is one of the largest cities in Canada – it has a metro population of over 1.3 million. Bigger cities have higher insurance premiums than rural areas, due to a higher rate of collisions and auto theft.

On top of this, in 2019 the provincial government abolished a 5% cap on car insurance rate increases. Defending the decision, the IBC pointed out that Alberta’s insurers had been paying out $1.12 in claims, taxes and operating costs for every $1 of premium revenue over the last five years (resulting in over $2 billion in underwriting losses). Such losses are clearly unsustainable for a privatized industry, but the decision has left many Edmontonian’s facing rate increases of as much as 20%, year over year.

What factors influence Edmonton car insurance premiums?

Insurers take a number of things into consideration when calculating your premium, including:

Where you live. Drivers who live in downtown Edmonton can expect to pay more than those who live on the rural outskirts.

Your insurance history. Staying accident and claims free is the best way to get cheaper insurance. According to internal data, 83.69% of Edmonton drivers have had no accidents in the past 10 years.

How much you drive. Less time spent driving means less chance of an accident. According to internal data, Edmontonians drive an average of 13,793 km each year.

What can I do to get cheaper car insurance in Edmonton?

While comparing quotes is the best way to find cheaper insurance in Edmonton, there’s more you can do to drive the price down.

Increase your deductible

Most Edmontonians have a $500 deductible, but you are willing to increase it to $1,000 you can save up to 10%.

Pay your premiums annually

Pay your premiums annually, in one lump sum, to avoid administrative fees associated with monthly payments.

Bundle your policies

Save up to 15 % when you buy your home insurance from the same company that covers your car. If you rent in Edmonton, you can bundle car insurance with tenant insurance for similar savings.

Insure all cars together on the same policy

If you have more than one vehicle, save up to 20 % by insuring them on the same policy.

Review your policy annually

Each year, review your personal details and any optional coverages as listed on your policy. If you have moved jobs and commute less than before for example, a reduced annual mileage will lower your rate.

Ask about discounts

Ask your provider about any group discounts they offer. The most popular association discounts for Edmonton drivers are for University of Alberta Alumni Association, NAIT, NAIT Students, MacEwan University, AUPE and University of Alberta Students.

Change your tires seasonally

Winters in Edmonton are notoriously cold and freezing conditions inevitably lead to a spike in car accidents. Insurance companies will reward you with a discount of up to 5% if you have winter tires.

Go to school

Young drivers (under the age of 25) are a high risk demographic for insurance companies, and pay the most for coverage. Insurers will offer better rates to young Edmontonians who complete an accredited driver’s training course.

Real Alberta drivers, real Alberta auto insurance savings

Just a few examples of custom savings for drivers based in Alberta.

Edmonton auto insurance facts and statistics

Distracted driving in Edmonton

One of the reasons cited for high premiums in Edmonton is a high rate of distracted driving convictions when compared to the rest of the province. Unfortunately, data from the Government of Alberta supports this theory.

Year # Convictions for distracted driving % of Alberta's total
2015 4,094 14.93%
2016 4,898 17.95%
2017 6,594 26.73%
2018 5,159 21.91%
2019 5,811 24.79%

Collisions in Edmonton

The number of collisions in Edmonton has remained consisted over the last five years, but insurers will want to see a significant reduction before they start lowering premiums.

Year Total collisions (YOY change)
2014 24,627 (-0.7%)
2015 25,517 (+3.6%)
2016 23,139 (-9.3%)
2017 23,906 (+3.3%)
2018 24,003 (+0.4%)

Data source: City of Edmonton – 2018 Annual Motor Vehicle Collision Report

The same report identified the most common collision causes as following too closely (38.6%, 9,254 collisions), struck parked vehicle (13.6%, 3,253) and changing lanes improperly (11.2%, 2,692).

The top five collision hotspots are:

  1. 107 Avenue NW and 142 Street NW (93 collisions)
  2. Yellowhead Trail and 149 Street NW (74 collisions)
  3. Yellowhead Trail and 97 Street NW (73 collisions)
  4. Yellowhead Trail and 127 Street NW (70 collisions)
  5. 34 Avenue NW and 91 Street NW (69 collisions)

The appearance of Yellowhead Trail in three of the top five spots will be no surprise to motorists in Edmonton. This 25 km stretch of expressway carries an estimated 80,000 vehicles each weekday and has long been a sore spot for drivers. In 2016, Edmonton outlined a $1 billion plan to help reduce congestion, but work won’t be completed until 2026.

Compare quotes and save on Edmonton auto insurance

Shopping around is the only way to find affordable auto insurance in Edmonton, but calling individual companies for comparative quotes can take a long time.

This is where InsuranceHotline.com can help. Answer a few questions about your driving experience and we will show you multiple quotes on one place. Comparing cost and coverage has never been so simple.

Our service is free and last year, drivers from Edmonton who compared quotes on InsuranceHotline.com saved an average of $484.74!

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