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What to know about car insurance quotes

Like everything else these days, the cost of car insurance is steadily increasing. Combine that with the high cost of gas and it’s clear why getting the best deal possible on car insurance is crucial to minimizing your overall vehicle-related costs. 

Comparing insurance quotes in your province or territory can help you get the best deal possible. Shopping around can be time-consuming, but you could save hundreds of dollars—and feel greater peace of mind, when you find the right insurance for your driving needs and budget.

MoneySense insight

Auto theft is pushing up the cost of car insurance. In 2023, insurance claims for stolen cars totalled a record-breaking $1.5 billion, the Insurance Bureau of Canada (IBC) reported on May 15, 2024. “This marks the second year in a row auto theft claims costs have topped $1 billion,” it stated in a press release. “To put this into perspective, between 2018 and 2021, auto theft claims costs averaged $556 million annually.” A vehicle is now stolen every five minutes in Canada, says Équité Association, an organization that helps Canadian insurers combat fraud.

Governments, police and automakers are all working to mitigate the auto theft crisis. Most recently, on May 14, 2024, the Ontario government announced it would suspend the driving licences of convicted car thieves: 10 years for a first offence, 15 years for a second offence and a lifetime suspension for a third offence. In February 2024, the federal government announced new funding to help law enforcement agencies, including the Canada Border Services Agency (CBSA), investigate auto theft and recover stolen vehicles. The government is also “pursuing all avenues to ban devices used to steal vehicles by copying the wireless signals for remote keyless entry, such as the Flipper Zero[.]” Read more about auto theft and its impact on car insurance.

—Jaclyn Law, managing editor


What is a car insurance quote? 

A car insurance quote is an estimate provided by a potential insurer that outlines the expected cost of an insurance policy based on your car and your profile as a driver. To give you a quote, car insurance companies will look at things like your age, your driving experience (how long you’ve been driving and whether you’ve had any accidents or tickets), your vehicle model, how much you plan to drive (will you commute daily or just drive to run errands, for example), and whether you live in a big city or rural area. 

When getting a car insurance quote, it’s important to keep in mind that each insurance company will weigh these components differently when deciding how much to charge you for coverage. That’s why it’s vital to shop around for different quotes.

How to get cheap car insurance 

The best way to get cheap car insurance is research. You have to be willing to put in the time up front to find insurance that’s a good fit and that will save you money over the long term. When shopping around, you’ll need to provide information like your age, how long you’ve been driving, if you have had any accident or tickets, your car model, how often you drive, how many drivers will be on the policy, and more. 

The quotes you get will depend a lot on the personal info you provide, but there are still things you can do to decrease the cost of car insurance:

  • Get multiple quotes: One of the best ways to get cheap insurance is to go to a website that lets you compare multiple quotes from numerous providers. By obtaining quotes from various companies, you’ll be able to compare their prices and coverage options. Just be sure that you’re comparing apples to apples. Read the fine print and double-check that the policy features, such as your deductible, coverage and fees, as well as the customer service offered, are comparable so you can be sure you’re getting a good deal. 
  • Raise your deductible: The deductible is what you pay out of pocket for any claim. The higher your deductible, the less you’ll pay on your insurance premiums. 
  • Bundle policies: Many insurance companies offer discounts if you bundle your insurance products. For example, if you have home or tenant’s insurance with one company, that provider may offer you a discount if you also buy car insurance from it.
  • Look for discounts: Check if you or a family member have access to discounts through a university alumni association or workplace benefits program.
  • Get a used car: Insuring a used car is generally cheaper than insuring a new one. Getting insurance for “basic” models of cars is also usually more affordable than insuring a luxury model (think Corolla versus Lexus).
  • Drive safely: The better your driving record, the more likely you are to get offered lower insurance premiums. 
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What factors determine your quote? 

Here are the factors that insurers consider when determining your quote:

  • Driver profile, such as your age and gender
  • Your vehicle model and age
  • Where you live (urban areas will generally be more expensive than rural regions)
  • Driving history (how long you’ve been driving and your driving record)
  • How much you’ll be driving
  • Past insurance claims
  • Market conditions (inflation, for example, increases the cost of repairs)

Who provides car insurance quotes? 

In Canada, there are three main ways to get car insurance:

  • Insurance brokers: Brokers are independent professionals not affiliated with any specific insurance company. You can either go online, meet with a broker in person, or call them and describe your needs. The broker will analyze your insurance needs, shop around on your behalf and then present quotes from multiple insurers. 
  • Insurance agents: Insurance agents work for a single specific insurance company. They take your information and then provide a quote only from their company. Unlike a broker, they won’t present you with multiple quotes from different companies, so it can be much harder to know if you’re getting a good deal. As with insurance brokers, you can access agents’ services online or via phone and sometimes in person (for example, if your bank has an insurance department, you may be able to speak to someone in person).
  • Comparison sites: Unlike with insurance agents and brokers, comparison sites offer their search services entirely online (though you may be able to call customer service with any questions). You input your information and the website generates quotes from various insurance companies for easy comparison. Once you decide on a policy, either you’ll be directed to the insurer’s website or an insurer’s representative will contact you to complete the purchase.


Frequently asked questions

A car insurance company has the right to deny you coverage. Generally car insurance companies are reluctant to insure drivers that they deem “high risk.” High-risk drivers may include those who have had their license suspended in the past, who frequently get speeding tickets or who have been implicated in insurance fraud. You may still be able to get insurance from a different insurer; however, you can expect to pay very high premiums until you establish a record of safe driving.

You have the right to change your car insurance policy whenever you want; however, if you do so before the end of the term, you may have to pay a cancellation fee. You can cancel your policy after you’ve had an accident, but your new insurance provider will know about the incident and will take it into consideration when offering you a quote. For this reason, it’s unlikely you’ll be offered a lower rate than what you’re currently paying. Keep in mind, too, that your current provider won’t be able to increase your rate until it’s time to renew your policy.

Read more about car insurance:


About Sandra MacGregor

About Sandra MacGregor

Sandra MacGregor has been writing about personal finance, mortgages, investing and credit cards for over a decade.