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Shopping for Motorcycle Insurance in Alberta

March 29, 2011

Shopping for insurance is generally not the most fun you can have, but it doesn’t have to be difficult either.  When it comes to finding the right motorcycle insurance policy in Alberta, there are a few ways you can go about it.  Make your search for the right policy to meet your needs a little easier on yourself by focusing on a few main factors and narrowing down the search to the insurance companies and agents who can provide you the best insurance.

Since Alberta has a privatized insurance system, you have a lot of different choices for where you want to buy your policy.  Unlike some other provinces, you can select from all of the available insurance companies and compare the rates, coverage and services provided by the company.  Although rates in Alberta for motorcycle insurance are regulated in the same way that car insurance rates are, by the Alberta Automobile Insurance Rate Board, this provides only a maximum that an insurance company can charge for any particular policy.  Insurance companies still have the right to determine their own rates, as long as they do not exceed this limit.  This means you can shop around for the best rate on your policy and be assured you will never pay more than the legally allowed maximum for your bike, driving record and experience level.

There are three main ways to shop for motorcycle insurance in Alberta:

1.     Go through a broker.

A broker allows you to compare the rates from more than one company, as they work with multiple insurers and can offer a variety of different rates.

2.    Go through an agent.

Much like a broker, an agent is a middle man between you and the insurance company, and can help you select the right coverage.  An agent, unlike a broker, works with only one insurance company.  This has the benefit of making them an expert on their company’s policies and services, but means you will only get one quote from one company at a time.

3.    Go direct.

Finally, you can purchase your policy directly from the insurance company, leaving out the middle man entirely.

 

Each of these options has some pros and cons.  A broker lets you compare rates from a selection of companies, but may not be as knowledgeable about each of the companies in question.  They can give some expert advice on coverages and the options available to you.  An agent provides the same expert advice, but with a more detailed knowledge of the one company in question.  In both cases, you have to go through your broker or agent to purchase your policy.  Sometimes, this can mean a higher rate because there is a commission paid to the broker or agent, but this is not always the case.  Both a broker and an agent provide personalized service and individual advice.

Buying from an insurance company can save you money in some cases.  The representatives you will speak to are usually in a call center or central office, however, and won’t have the same personal knowledge of you and your needs that an agent or broker can offer.  You will likely speak to someone different every time you call.  Both direct purchase and agent purchase will require you to obtain multiple quotes on your own.

In the end, all of these options can be good choices, as long as the policy and the service provided by the company meets your needs.  You should look for an insurance company you feel you can trust, whether it is through a broker, agent or direct.  If the ability to manage your account online is important to you, then be sure to find a company that allows you to do this easily.  You should also consider important aspects such as claims service and the availability of customer service representatives when you have questions or problems related to your policy.

Remember that the lowest rate is not the only important thing to consider when you choose an insurance policy.  Having the right level of coverage and knowing that your insurance company will truly be there for you in the event of a claim are some of the biggest things to consider when selecting motorcycle insurance.  If you already have an insurance company you trust covering your car or home, this is usually the best place to start.  However, since not all companies offer motorcycle insurance, you may still find yourself needing to do some shopping around in order to find the right policy.

Take your time when you shop for motorcycle insurance; it is an important purchase that protects you and the investment you have made in your bike.  You are legally required to have insurance, but a good policy will go well beyond the minimums and a good insurance company will provide you with the right protection.  Shop and compare insurance quotes online on all of the important factors, and you will be certain to feel safe and comfortable with the motorcycle insurance you choose in the end.

  • Issa Onthego

    New to owning a motorcycle, new to Alberta, do not have my class 6 yet which means TD will not insure my bike, in fact won’t insure until I have had my class 6 for 3 years. They explained that this creates “small niche markets” for insurance agencies…it creates a problem for me…Does anyone have any suggestions or recommendations? I live in the Calgary area.