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How does Ottawa auto insurance work?

Every driver in Canada is required by law to have car insurance. While coverage options in each province are different, Ontario drivers must purchase private insurance.

Mandatory coverage

At a minimum, they must have the following four mandatory coverage:

  • Accident benefits/bodily injury: Following injury from a vehicle collision, this coverage provides compensation for medical costs as well as wage replacement and homecare. If the collision results in death, funeral costs will be covered.
  • Direct Compensation Property Damage (DCPD) – If the insured driver is in a collision and found to be not at-fault, this coverage provides compensation for the cost of vehicle damage, its contents and/or a rental car. DCPD, as it’s often called, allows the not at-fault insured driver to quickly receive compensation from their own insurance provider. Without DCPD, they might instead have to pursue compensation through a lengthy and expensive legal process.
  • Third party liability: Covers legal costs, up to a limit, in an at-fault collision where a third party is injured or killed. Often referred to as ‘TPL’, this coverage also compensates the at-fault insured driver for property and vehicle damage, medical costs and damages for others injured.
  • Uninsured motorist: Kicks in if the insured driver is injured or killed in a collision with an uninsured driver or a hit-and-run collision when the other driver cannot be identified.

Optional coverage

Beyond mandatory coverage, a driver in Ottawa can expand their auto insurance protection further. While there is a wide range of optional coverage, most insurance providers offer the following auto insurance packages:

  • Collision: Provides financial compensation for replacing or repairing a vehicle where the insured driver is found to be at-fault. Without this coverage an at-fault driver must pay to repair or replace their vehicle.
  • Comprehensive: Protects the insured driver if their vehicle is damaged by debris, earthquake, explosions, theft, vandalism and weather events.
  • Specified perils: Protects the insured driver against named perils such as theft, damage in transport, earthquake, explosions, fire, lightning, riots or windstorm.
  • All perils: Protects the insured driver against many perils except those explicitly named in the policy as exclusions. This policy type is often thought of as a combination of collision and comprehensive coverage.

Common endorsements

Drivers seeking coverage beyond what’s available through the above-named package types can also add endorsements. Some of the most common endorsements in Ontario include:

  • Damage to non-owned vehicle – Kicks in when a vehicle the insured driver does not own is damaged. Also covers bodily injury, property damage and uninsured automobile. This endorsement is also called an SEF\OPCF 27 or, ‘a 27’. When a driver ‘adds a 27’ to their policy, it’s redundant for them to purchase a Loss Damage Waiver (LDW) when renting a car.
  • Depreciation waiver – Compensates the insured driver for the full value of a the car following a collision in which the vehicle is deemed a write-off. This endorsement, an OPCF 43, is worth considering for drivers who have purchased a new vehicle.
  • Emergency road service – Covers the cost of labour at a breakdown site as well as those for towing, locksmith assistance and battery, gas or tire replacement.
  • Family protection – In the event of collision with an at-fault third party who has inadequate liability coverage, this endorsement kicks in to cover the difference. Also known as an OPCF 44R this endorsement means that the insured drivers costs will be paid even if the at-fault third party can’t pay.
  • Loss of use – Compensates insured drivers who have all perils, comprehensive or specified perils coverage for costs of a replacement vehicle or transportation costs if their vehicle is damaged.


Changes to Ontario's auto insurance in 2024

Ontario is currently in the process of reforming how auto insurance works in the province. The goal of this is to reduce the amount of coverage drivers are forced to take out, and in turn, lower their premiums.

Some of the proposed changes include:

  • Option to remove the caregiver benefit, housekeeping and home maintenance expenses benefit, income replacement benefit, and death and funeral benefits (benefits for medical, rehabilitation, and attendant care will remain mandatory, however).
  • Making auto insurance companies the first payer for medical and rehabilitation benefits (at the moment, a person's private medical insurance is the first payer). This change is meant to streamline the claims process and lead to earlier resolution.
  • Option to remove direct compensation for property damage (DCPD) coverage (in effect since January 2024).

Ottawa mandatory and optional auto insurance coverage

Insurance typeMandatory coverageOptional/ Additional Coverage
Third-Party Liability$200,000 minimum. Provides coverage in the event of a lawsuit resulting from an accident where you are at fault.Coverage can be increased to $500,000, $1 million, or $2 million, with up to $2 million limit.
Uninsured Automobile InsuranceProvides up to $200,000 in coverage if you are injured or killed by an uninsured driver, or if your vehicle is damaged as a result of a hit-and-run by an unidentified, uninsured motorist.Family Protection Coverage is an optional coverage that includes additional coverage of up to $1 million in the case of a hit-and-run by an uninsured motorist.
Statutory Accident BenefitsProvides coverage if you are injured in an accident, regardless of who is at fault. Covers medical expenses that aren’t covered by OHIP.Coverage limits can be increased.
Direct Compensation-Property Damage (DC-PD)OptionalDCPD is included in all standard insurance policies, but Ontario drivers can apply to remove it. DCPD pays to repair or replace your car if you're in a collision where the other driver is at fault. You lose this coverage by removing DCPD, as well as your ability to sue the other driver for repairs. 
Collision Coverage (Also Upset Coverage)OptionalCovers the costs of repairing or replacing your vehicle following a collision with another vehicle, an object, or property.
Comprehensive coverageOptionalCovers damages caused by named perils identified under the Specified Perils coverage, as well as losses from other perils like falling or flying objects, theft, fire, hail, windstorms, missiles, and vandalism.
Specified Perils CoverageOptionalCovers damages caused by named perils such as theft, attempted theft, explosions, natural disasters like fire, lightning, windstorm, hail, rising water, earthquakes, and other perils specified in your policy. Specified perils do not cover damages due to vandalism, breakage of glass, etc.
All-Perils CoverageOptionalCombines collision/upset and comprehensive coverage. Also, provides additional protection if a household member or an employee steals your vehicle.
OPCF 20: Coverage for Transportation ReplacementOptionalCovers the cost of your transportation replacement and rental car insurance if you were to get into a car accident or if your vehicle is stolen.
OPCF 27: Liability for Damage to Non-Owned Automobile(s)OptionalCovers if you damage a borrowed or rental vehicle. The coverage limit is usually around $25,000 to $50,000.
OPCF 39: Accident Waiver/ForgivenessOptionalProtect your premium from rising when you have your first at-fault accident.
OPCF 16: Suspension of coverageOptionalThis allows you to suspend your insurance coverage for 30 days or more during periods when you aren't using the car.
OPCF 43: Waiver of depreciationOptionalEnsures your insurance company won't factor in depreciation when settling a claim; you will receive the amount you initially paid for the car.
OPCF 44R: Family protection coverageOptionalEnsures your costs are covered if you and your family are involved in an accident with a driver with less liability insurance than you. This endorsement will cover the remainder.
OPCF 13C: Limited glassOptionalFor a lower premium, you can limit or exclude any coverage for glass damage that might've been in your policy.
OPCF 40: Fire and theft deductibleOptionalAdds a deductible (an amount you must pay before your insurance company chips in funds) for a theft or fire damage claim.
OPCF 49: Agreement not to recover for loss or damage from an automobile collisionOptionalRemoves DCPD coverage from your Ontario Automobile Policy. You forfeit your right to compensation for physical damage caused to your vehicle by an at-fault driver. You cannot sue for repairs, either.

How much does Ottawa car insurance cost?

The average cost of auto insurance in Ottawa in 2021 was $1,257.20, according to RATESDOTCA’s Auto Insuramap tool. This is about 24% less expensive than the average provincial premium of $1,655.

Below is a list of rates according to different postal code regions within Ottawa.

CityPostal codePremium
OTTAWA-Average $1,257.20

The cheapest car insurance in Ottawa

In 2021, rates varied across Ottawa, from a low of $1,217 to a high of $1,335. While drivers based in postal code regions K1A, K1N, K1P, K1R, K1Y, K1Z, K2A, K2B and K2P paid the least, those in the postal code area of K2C paid the most.

Many factors go into determining a car insurance rate, but some of the most significant are claims frequency and auto theft. In parts of the city where there is a higher concentration of drivers, there are likely to be more claims and rates will be higher. If there’s a high volume of car thefts in a city or a concentration of thefts in a part of the city, rates are also likely to be higher.

According to RATESDOTCA’s 2021 Auto Insuramap tool, auto insurance premiums were decreasing in many Ontario cities largely due to COVID-19 pandemic lockdowns which kept many drivers off the road. In Ottawa, however, between 2021 and 2020 rates increased about 3.6%, going from $1,213.

Why compare Ottawa car insurance quotes online?

Ottawa drivers may not experience the highest car insurance rates in the province, but that doesn't mean they can't save money on their premiums too.

Comparing rates is the best defense against premium increases (beyond maintaining a clean driving record, of course!).

That's why we launched back in 1994 to help drivers save money and time while shopping for car insurance in Ottawa and beyond. Shoppers in Ottawa who obtained a quote on in 2021 saved a total of $474.98.*

Find out how much you can save by comparing car insurance quotes today.

Compare Ottawa car insurance premium against other Ontario regions

In 2021, Ottawa ranked 44th out of 53 Ontario cities for the most expensive car insurance premiums, according to RATESDOTCA’s Auto Insuramap tool.

The average annual premium for drivers in the nation’s capital  was $1,257. This rate is 42% less expensive than the average annual premium for drivers in the city with the most expensive premiums -- drivers in Vaughan paid $2,179.

While many factors go into determining auto insurance premiums, they tend to be greater in cities where many people are commuting daily. With the increased traffic density comes an increased risk of collision and rates go up accordingly.

To see how auto insurance premiums in Ottawa compare, check out the list below which compares Ottawa auto insurance premiums to 10 cities in Ontario where drivers are paying the highest rates.

RankCity2021 premiumChange from 2020
1Vaughan $2,179-6.7%
3Richmond Hill$2,025-11.4%
7Toronto $1,953-11.3%
8Oshawa $1,833+12.1%
10Nobleton, Schomberg, Orangeville, King City$1,766+14.2%

Factors that determine your Ottawa car insurance rate

When insurance providers are writing a new policy, they consider many factors. Some of the most common include:

  • Age: More experienced drivers are more likely to secure a cheap auto insurance premium. Insurance providers consider them less likely to make a claim because of the number of years they’ve been driving – presumably without incident.
  • Claims history: Any driver who has made an auto insurance claim in the last 10 years may be subject to a higher premium. Insurance providers consider past behaviour indicative of future behaviour and adjust premiums accordingly.
  • Driving record: A driver with a clean driving record (no claims and no tickets) may be able to secure a lower car insurance premium.
  • Location: Cities with dense traffic or residents who commute daily may have higher auto insurance rates because there is likely to be more claims in the area. If there are many incidents of auto theft in the area, residents are also likely to pay more for auto insurance.
  • Vehicle type: Cars that are expensive to repair or replace often result in a more expensive premium. Similarly, cars that are popular among car thieves may result in a driver paying more for insurance.

What can I do to get the cheapest car insurance in Ottawa

  • Bundle your policies: When one insurance provider writes an auto insurance policy and a home insurance policy for one policyholder, they’re more likely to have lower insurance costs.  This practice is known in the insurance industry as ‘bundling’.
  • Compare car insurance rates: Comparing available car insurance rates is one of the easiest and most effective ways Ottawa drivers can secure cheap car insurance. We recommend comparing rates each year and adjusting the policy so that it reflects current needs. Coverage needs evolve year-over-year so confirming the best coverage at the lowest rate can save any driver hundreds of dollars each year.
  • Pay more up front: A driver who has the cashflow available to pay a higher deductible in the event of a claim may be able to secure a lower premium. Some providers will also offer discounts to drivers who can pay upfront for the full policy term.
  • Electronic tracking: Drivers who consent to having their driving behaviour electronically monitored may be able to save on the cost of their policy.
  • Winter tires: Installing winter tires can result in savings of 5-15%. The exact amount of the discount is up to the individual provider. Though winter tires require an up-front investment, the traction they provide can significantly improve safety for drivers in cities like Ottawa where the winters are especially cold, icy and snowy.

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Sample car insurance quotes completed for drivers in Ottawa, Ontario

Below are real quotes that were recently completed on by drivers living in Ottawa, Ontario:

Annual Savings: $324

Driver: Male, age 52, Ottawa, ON

Driving: 2011 Mazda CX-7 GS 4DR 4WD

Current Rate: $1,200

Lowest Rate Available: $876

Insurance Company: Motors Insurance

Annual Savings: $437

Driver: Female, age 26, Ottawa, ON

Driving: 2015 Honda Civic 4DR

Current Rate: $2,000

Lowest Rate Available: $1,563

Insurance Company: Wawanesa Insurance

Annual Savings: $212

Driver: Female, age 38, Ottawa, ON

Driving: 2012 Nissan Sentra SE-R 4DR

Current Rate: $1,800

Lowest Rate Available: $1,588

Insurance Company: Lombard Insurance

Annual Savings: $370

Driver: Male, age 26, Ottawa, ON

Driving: 2016 Hyundai Elantra SE 4DR

Current Rate: $2,700

Lowest Rate Available: $2,330

Insurance Company: Kingsway Insurance

Annual Savings: $624

Driver: Male, age 53, Ottawa, ON

Driving: 2011 Lexus RX 350 4DR

Current Rate: $2,600

Lowest Rate Available: $1,976

Insurance Company: RBC Insurance

Annual Savings: $456

Driver: Female, age 31, Ottawa, ON

Driving: 2015 Dodge Charger RT 4DR

Current Rate: $1455

Lowest Rate Available: $999

Insurance Company: Johnson

*Shoppers in Ottawa who obtained a quote on from January to December 2023 saved an average of $441 per year. The average savings represents the difference between the shoppers’ average lowest quoted premium and the average of the second and third-lowest quoted premiums generated by

Frequently Asked Questions about Ottawa auto insurance quotes

Why should I compare car insurance rates in Ottawa

Comparing rates is the easiest way to see immediate savings on your auto insurance rates in Ottawa.

This is because different car insurance companies charge different rates depending on several factors, including their own insurance claims histories. If one company has processed many claims in your neighbourhood, for example, then they may charge you a higher rate for living there. Meanwhile, another company may not have had the same experience in your neighbourhood for one reason or another so they may offer a lower rate.

Hence the variances you see in rates that differ by hundreds, sometimes thousands, of dollars. This is where getting instant online Ottawa car insurance quotes comparing rates from a broad cross-section of the available insurance companies can help save you money.

How can I compare car insurance quotes for Ottawa?

Complete an Ottawa car insurance quote

1) The first step to locking in extra savings on your Ottawa auto insurance is to fill out our easy step by step quote form. The entire process can be completed in 5 minutes or less and at the end you are instantly provided with the lowest Canadian car insurance quotes available from our network of licensed insurance professionals.

Our unbiased search technology compares your rate against more than 30 Canadian insurance companies to help find you a lower insurance rate in Ottawa. Try it now and be included with more than one million Canadians who have used our service to find car insurance savings.

2) Lock in your insurance savings: Once you have received your quote, the next step is to lock in your insurance savings by speaking to a professional insurance broker or agent directly.

When you've selected the quote you'd like to go with or learn more about, connects you with a licenced professional who can help get you started with your new policy. Our mission is to make the entire process of shopping for auto insurance in Ottawa quick and easy so that you can get back to your day. Life can be busy and complicated, but shopping for the best Ottawa car insurance doesn't need to be. Not anymore.

Why are Ottawa car insurance rates increasing?

Insurers across the province, not just in Ottawa, are looking to combat the increasing costs associated with car repairs, distracted driving-related claims, and widespread insurance fraud across the province. These are the three biggest factors driving up insurance claims despite previous provincial efforts to reduce premiums throughout Ontario. Fraud alone is estimated to cost drivers hundreds of dollars each per year, an amount that is passed on through auto insurance premiums.

The province is launching its first Serious Fraud Office in the spring to bring fair auto insurance to Ontario, but until then it's up to drivers to seek out savings. Comparing rates is obviously our favourite way to see immediate savings.

Why does Ottawa car insurance cost so much?

Car insurance rates in Ottawa are about 24% less expensive than the provincial average annual premium, according to RATESDOTCA’s 2021 Auto Insuramap tool.

How can I get cheaper Ottawa car insurance in the future?

Below is a list of some of the easiest and most effective ways to bring down your car insurance costs.

  • Bundling policies: When one insurance provider holds your auto insurance and home insurance policies, you may be eligible for savings. Insurance companies are often willing to offer discounts when they have more of your business.
  • Comparison shopping: Shopping around to see what car insurance premium different insurance companies will offer you can result in significant savings. We encourage you to comparison shop every time your policy is up for renewal so that you can avoid an penalty associated with breaking your policy before its term is over.
  • Customizing the policy: Car insurance is a highly customizable product. It’s easy to tailor so that you’re only paying for the coverage you need, nothing more.
  • Discounts: Insurance providers offer discounts to Ottawa drivers who install winter tires. The exact amount of the discount is at the discretion of the provider, but drivers can expect savings of 5-15%
  • Increasing the deductible: If you can afford to pay a higher deductible in the event of a claim, an insurance provider may be willing to decrease your premium.
  • Telematics: Drivers who allow their driving behaviour to be tracked electronically may be eligible for savings.

Insurance companies can apply for rate increases or decreases through the Financial Services Commission of Ontario (FSCO). If you're interested in being notified when cheaper car insurance rates become available, you can sign up for our rate alert service when prompted during the quoting process. This service actively monitors our network to alert you when a better auto insurance rate in Ottawa becomes available. It's free, non-intrusive and occurs every 3 to 6 months depending on your preferences. Just like mortgage rates, Ottawa car insurance premiums can change frequently. We will make sure you stay informed absolutely free and we will even remind you when it's time for your next auto insurance renewal, which is where real savings happen.

Who offers the cheapest auto insurance in Ottawa?

There isn't one provider that offers cheap auto insurance in Ottawa. Instead, premiums are determined by the details of each individual driver. Claims history and location each have a significant impact on auto insurance premiums. For example, a driver in an area that has a lot of traffic may pay more because insurance providers anticipate more claims in that neighbourhood.