How to Buy Car Insurance in 5 Easy Steps

Mother and father with small child getting into black van

Buying car insurance for the first time might seem daunting, but it doesn't have to be. We've laid out a few basic tips that'll make the process of picking the right coverage plan easy.

1. Shop Around

Even if you think you've found what you think is a perfect rate on your first couple of searches, it's worth it to keep looking around. Insurance rates can vary heavily from company to company, and your driving record means different things to each insurer. If you're using an insurance broker, you could still be missing out as they might not get quotes from every provider. That's another reason why using comparison sites like can make the first step of comparing providers easier. allows you to compare over 30 insurance providers at once, so you'll know you're getting the best policy for you.

2. Compare Apples to Apples

If you receive a wildly different quote from two different insurance companies, you might want to hold on and check if the two plans offer the same amount of coverage. Saving 30 percent on your premium might look nice, but if it comes at the cost a lower liability coverage amount, you have to make a judgment call whether that's worth it.

If one insurance company offers $2 million of liability coverage, then make sure you're looking at quotes for the same amount of coverage from other insurance companies when you're making your decisions. This is the only way to get an accurate comparison. When you compare insurance quotes, don't just take the premiums into consideration. Look at the coverage and the provider to make sure that you're seeing the full picture.

You should also start to think about what kind of coverage you actually need. In Canada, the basic required coverage is just for liability, which means to cover the cost of anyone that you injure or any property you damage. If you have a cheap car, a more basic, bare-bones plan might be better for you. But if you have a newer, more expensive car, you might want to start thinking about covering the cost of your own vehicle, and what kind of deductible you'd want to pay. If you're leasing your car, you're likely required by the dealer to have full coverage of any damage to the car.

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3. Educate Yourself

Once you have a general idea of what the market looks like, you should start to consider what you need from your insurer. They should be a reputable company, so it's worth taking a look at reviews online. Consider if you need 24/7 customer support.

4. Understand How Premiums are Calculated

Insurers look at a medley of things about you and your driving history when they calculate a quote. If you're still in the process of buying a car or moving to a new area, this could make a difference.

Providers will first look at some things about you: your age, gender, how long you've been driving for, whether you've received any speeding tickets or been in any collisions. Another big factor is where you live. Different provinces will have different insurance premiums. That's because providers are permitted to look at local data like the overall number of claims in an area when determining premiums.

Your car's model, size, and year will also have a noticeable effect on what kind of rate you're offered. If any of these factors are things that you're able to change, take the time to research how to get the cheapest rate.

5. Discounts

It never hurts to ask about discounts. Sometimes, you might be eligible for a certain kind of discount that you didn't know about. Ask if the provider has any discounts for people of a certain age or someone who has a squeaky-clean driving record. You might also be eligible for certain deals based on the University you graduated from, your employer, or a union that you're affiliated with.

Now that you know what to look for and have taken some time to educate yourself about car insurance, use comparison sites like to start comparing insurance in your province.