Alberta Auto Insurance Rates Climb in the Third Quarter

By Liam Lahey
A couple looking over their bills and managing their budget.

Alberta’s auto insurance provincial regulator granted several insurers permission to hike their rates in the third quarter (July to September).

Although the range of rate increases for some insurers’ basic coverage is not as high as it has been in previous quarterly rate decisions by the Automobile Insurance Rate Board (AIRB), some drivers could see their rates increase by more than 10%. It all depends on which insurer you have your coverage through and the change they’re allowed to implement.

Basic coverage includes the mandatory coverages — third-party liability and accident benefits — that all Albertans are required to have to drive in the province.

Prices for additional coverage such as collision and comprehensive are also going up in some cases, resulting in an overall combined change in rates between 0.34% and 8%.

Why Rates Are Rising

According to AIRB’s third-quarter filing decision, the regulator says the increases will help ensure insurance is accessible to all Albertans: “The AIRB reviews all filings for rate changes based on their merits under our filing guidelines considering actuarial justification and the insurer’s individual circumstances to ensure insurance is accessible, equitable, and sustainable for all Albertans.”

No one fancies seeing the cost of their auto insurance policies increase. Although general premium hikes are not necessarily a reflection of your driving profile, they are typically in response to of a myriad of factors such as an increase in collisions, claims, and vehicle repair costs as insurers in Alberta grapple with challenging economic conditions amplified by the COVID-19 pandemic.

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Approved Alberta Auto Insurance Rate Changes: 3Q 2020

The AIRB approves rate changes for basic coverage (i.e. mandatory) which includes third-party liability and accident benefits coverage, as well as changes to pricing for additional (optional) coverage which includes collision, all perils, comprehensive, specified perils coverage and underinsured motorist coverage. The results are released quarterly.

What follows are the approved rate changes for basic and additional coverage for private passenger vehicles in Alberta for the third quarter (3Q) of 2020:

Insurer Basic Additional Combined New Business Date Renewal Date Market Share
The Co-operators 10.65% 3.92% 8% July 22, 2020 September 15, 2020 7.26%
Intact 0.22% 0.60% 0.34% July 1, 2020 September 1, 2020 14.89%
Primmum 4.67% 5.74% 4.99% August 1, 2020 August 1, 2020 4.16%
Security National 5.17% 4.71% 4.99% August 1, 2020 August 1, 2020 11.53%
TD Insurance 1.79% -0.20% 1.03% August 1, 2020 August 1, 2020 0.30%
Wawanesa 5.36% 4.43% 5% September 15, 2020 September 15, 2020 13.8%

AIRB also approved increases or decreases for commercial and interurban vehicles for 3Q 2020:

Insurer Category Basic Additional Combined New Business Date Renewal Date Market Share
Aviva Commercial vehicles 0% 0.23% 0.12% July 1, 2020 August 1, 2020 11.19%
Aviva Interurban vehicles 0% -1.63% -0.98% July 1, 2020 August 1, 2020 11.19%
SGI Canada Interurban vehicles 20.70% 20.46% 20.5% July 15, 2020 July 15, 2020 3.74%
SGI Canada Commercial vehicles 9.91% 1.20% 5.38% July 15, 2020 July 15, 2020 3.74%

Miscellaneous vehicles – snow vehicles, motorcycles, trailers and campers, motorhomes, all-terrain vehicles, taxis and limousines – also had rate changes approved in 3Q 2020:

Insurer Category Basic Additional Combined New Business Date Renewal Date
Echelon Snow vehicles 35.41% 12.39% 15% July 1, 2020 July 1, 2020
Intact Snow vehicles -0.05% 0.14% 0.11% July 1, 2020 September 1, 2020
Intact Motorcycles 0.07% 0.06% 0.07% July 1, 2020 September 1, 2020
Intact Trailers and campers n/a 0.08% 0.08% July 1, 2020 September 1, 2020
Intact All-terrain vehicles -0.11% -0.25% -0.19% July 1, 2020 September 1, 2020
Intact Motorhomes -0.28% -1.38% -0.98% July 1, 2020 September 1, 2020
Intact Taxis and limousines 11.61% 1.06% 9.46% July 20, 2020 August 20, 2020

These changes follow AIRB’s approved rate decisions in the second and first quarters of this year.

What’s It All Mean for Alberta’s Drivers?

Car insurance increases are a fact of life for many drivers.

AIRB notes, “Alberta has a competitive marketplace, with 69 active insurers and 46 that offer private passenger vehicle insurance. Consumers are encouraged to shop the market as insurance premiums vary from insurer to insurer.”

How can you offset a rate hike if you are subject to one? Ask your insurer about any discounts you might be eligible for, find things you can do to reduce your premium, drive cautiously, and talk to your broker to see if you can make changes to your policy to help reduce your rate. Otherwise, take the regulator’s advice and compare car insurance premiums and policies to find the most affordable premium you can.