Affordable to expensive: the average cost of auto insurance across Canada

Published: July 23, 2018

Updated: November 1, 2018

Author: Luke Jones



Last week, the Insurance Bureau of Canada (IBC) revealed British Columbia is the most expensive auto insurance market in Canada, overtaking Ontario. So, what about the other provinces in the country, how do they treat customers?

IBC has published a list of the average auto insurance rates for all provinces. Of course, B.C. tops the list with its dizzying $1,680 per year average during 2017. As for Ontario, the region’s premiums have stayed largely the same in recent years, hovering between $1,400 and $1,500. IBC says the province currently has an average of $1,445.

It is worth noting that the Greater Toronto Area (GTA) is still the most expensive single market in Canada.

Fortunately, there are places in the country where motorists can get affordable auto insurance rates. Leading the way is Quebec, with an average per year premium of $661. Prince Edward Island is also reasonable at $796 per year.

Quebec is particularly interesting because it is a populated province, but is also evidence of how a public insurance model and co-exist with a private insurance model. The region employs public insurance for compensation for injuries in auto collisions and private insurers for physical damage to vehicles.

Going back to British Columbia, the model used by Quebec is something the IBC wants in B.C. A 2017 EY report showed the Insurance Corporation of British Columbia (ICBC) is financially burdened amid rising collisions, claims, and repair costs. As reforms to save the crown-owned public insurance provider slowly start, many still call for private insurance for basic auto coverage to be introduced in the province.

“Under ICBC’s monopoly, British Columbians pay the highest auto insurance prices in Canada, with premiums averaging $1,680 annually,” said Aaron Sutherland, Vice-President, Pacific, Insurance Bureau of Canada (IBC). “With further rate increases on the horizon, it is critical that ICBC is opened to competition and choice to improve affordability for drivers.”

“Opening BC’s auto insurance marketplace to competition would save drivers up to $325 annually,” added Sutherland. Competition provides a powerful incentive for any company to deliver the best service at the best price. Auto insurance is no exception to this rule Canadian private insurers are eager to better serve the BC marketplace.”

Average premiums for each province during 2017 are shown below:

  1. British Columbia ($1,680)
  2. Ontario ($1,445)
  3. Alberta ($1,251)
  4. Newfoundland and Labrador ($1,132)
  5. Manitoba ($1,080)
  6. Saskatchewan ($936)
  7. Nova Scotia ($842)
  8. New Brunswick ($819)
  9. Prince Edward Island ($796)
  10. Quebec ($661)