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Best Auto Insurance in Canada

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On the surface, choosing the best auto insurance provider for you may seem straightforward: cheapest rates, most comprehensive coverage, lowest deductible. However, car insurance doesn’t work the same way across Canada.

Manitoba, British Columbia, and Saskatchewan provide their residents with car insurance through single and separate crown corporations run by each provincial government.

Alternatively, Quebec provides liability insurance for those hurt in an accident through the government and vehicle damage and civil liability through private insurance.

Meanwhile, the rest of Canada relies on numerous private car insurance companies to supply their citizens with different types of car insurance.

There are pros and cons to all three approaches. Still, such contrasts can make the Canadian car insurance industry difficult to assess, especially if you’re trying to find the best auto insurance in Canada.

Thankfully it is still possible to separate the wheat from the chaff on a variety of fronts when it comes to the best car insurance, and the best part is, we’re doing it, so you don’t

Below, you’ll find the best car insurance companies in Canada.

1. Sonnet

Sonnet Insurance is the first car insurance provider in Canada to exist exclusively online.

Using data and analytics, Sonnet Insurance aims to provide customized and straight-forward coverage in less than five minutes.

The process is simple. Customers answer questions that correspond to factors that would affect their rates, such as the car’s make and model, the insurer’s address, whether they drive for a rideshare company, and the distance of your daily commute.

Then, customers customize their coverage, topping-up, or adding optional coverage to what’s required in your province before getting a quote and deciding to purchase.

Sonnet Insurance is a suitable option if you have a busy life and need car insurance without getting too far in the weeds on it.

It is certainly the quick option, but the good thing about Sonnet is you’re not alone. They still have your back with their award-winning customer service, which means there’s always a way to talk to a human.

2. TD Insurance

For some, there’s comfort in knowing that a giant reputable banking conglomerate oversees their car insurance. TD Insurance is as stable and reputable as it gets. It’s also a one-stop-shop for all your insurance needs. Not only can you insure any vehicle from cars to RVs, but you can also get life insurance and home insurance as well. In fact, they can even bundle home and auto insurance together.

Though their phone customer service always has “longer than normal wait times,” there’s an opportunity to manage your policy and make any changes and adjustments you want online. Plus, if it gets there, you can visit any TD Insurance branch in-person and speak to an advisor.

The policies themselves are generally on the more expensive side. Still, TD is constantly advertising ways to get a discount (5% off here, 20% off there). Should you ever feel lost, you can co-browse by sharing your screen with a TD insurance advisor who can walk you through the process.

3. Co-Operators

Co-operators is for people who want that personal, small-town relationship with a local insurance advisor with a multinational corporation’s strength and stability.

Co-operators are known for planting offices in places larger auto insurance companies don’t often go, so if you live in a rural area, they might be your best car insurance option.With a one plan program, this company only has a pet’s healthcare in mind.

There’s also an extra level of trust and accountability with Co-operators, given that their clients and advisors (collectively known as members) own the business and have a say in their business practices, strategy, and core values as part of an advisory panel.

The Co-operators Member Loyalty Program pays clients in relation to how much business they do with the company. They can use that payment to offset the one-time membership fee. They’re also big on education, so Co-operators are recommended if you want to know more about how car insurance works in Canada or your province.

4. Rates.ca (formerly Kanetix.ca)

Similar to other online exclusive car insurance providers like Sonnet, except for one key difference: Rates.ca (formerly known as Kanetix) allows you to compare rates across multiple Canadian car insurance providers at once, including Intact, Sonnet BMO, RBC, The Cooperators and over 30 total options and choose the cheapest option.

Rates.ca claims that most drivers who buy from the site save an average of 30% on their monthly premium. You just need to answer some questions about your vehicle in a short survey and you’re off and running to find the biggest possible discount. Obviously, go to Rates.ca if you want the cheapest possible car insurance available.

5. RBC

RBC Insurance is much like TD Insurance in that your insurance comes from a recognized and reputable bank that’s one of the most stable in Canada.

RBC’s services and options are what you might expect from a bank-owned insurance company. You can get all types of insurance from travel to life along with a car.

You get an immediate 5% discount from RBC just for getting a quote online for your car insurance. You can also get a discount for bundling your home, car, and term life insurance together.

RBC offers a claims response line that’s open to help you 24/7 and an anonymous advice line where you can ask any question related to filing a claim without affecting your policy.

6. Desjardins

As one of the more reputable insurance providers in Canada, Desjardins is comparable to RBC, TD, The Cooperators, Belairdirect, and the other larger, more reputable insurance companies on this list.

Beyond the usual online quote and the bundling discount, Desjardins allows you to manage and access your entire insurance policy online.

You can see all insurance documents, add a car, file a claim, estimate premiums on a new vehicle, and modify your policy. You can pretty much do anything you’d normally have to talk to an advisor for online.

Desjardins also has an app called Adjusto, which tracks your driving. The safer you drive, the more savings you get on your monthly premium.

It also offers a litany of discounts typical with most leading auto insurance companies like multi-vehicle discounts, student discounts, environmental discounts, and more.

7. InsuranceHotline.com

A direct competitor to Rates.ca, InsuranceHotline.com works the exact same way and compares rates from the same 30 insurance companies.

There is virtually no difference between the two sites, and it’s largely a toss-up when comparing the two.

Although, Rates.com claims a 30% average savings on car insurance rates, while InsuranceHotline.com claims only a 26% average savings on rates when you buy from the site. Oh, and some clients praise its customer service as its ultimate standout.

What is Car Insurance?

Car insurance covers the vehicle damage, injuries, and death to the driver and passengers in a car accident, as well as liability protection if you’re found at fault for an accident, bodily injury, or death.

A car insurance policy can include financial protection against vehicle theft, fire, and accidents that aren’t the result of a collision, such as vandalism, weather damage, and crashing into a stationary object, depending on the comprehensiveness of the policy or the add-ons you buy.

Why Do You Need Car Insurance?

Car insurance is mandatory for all car owners in Canada. You require it to cover the cost of any damage you cause to another vehicle or property and any injury or death that might happen if you are operating a motor vehicle.

If caught driving without insurance, you can face a fine of $2,500 the first time.

If you are caught a second time within a year, you can receive a mandatory minimum of 30 days or up to six months in jail. You can also get your license suspended and your vehicle impounded.

Even worse, if you get in an accident without insurance and you’re at fault, you are personally responsible for covering the damages and injuries incurred by the people in the other car.

Just a small fender bender can cost up to $10,000, and that’s on top of whatever it costs to cover the damage on your car and personal injuries.

It can get worse still if you leave the scene of an accident.

A hit and run can make you vulnerable to criminal prosecution, and a conviction goes on your driving record along with any accidents.

Any insurer can access your record in Canada, so it will be extremely hard to find an insurer who will cover you, and if you do, you’ll likely pay a very high insurance premium.

You need car insurance mostly to protect yourself from paying what can be an exorbitant cost if you are involved in a car accident, especially when you think about what it could cost not having coverage.

How does car insurance work?

Though car insurance is mandatory for all Canadian drivers, it is administered differently depending on the province separately.

You buy liability insurance through the province if your province has a public option or a licensed broker if sold privately.

Every province has a basic insurance package that you must buy that includes at least liability coverage and accident benefits coverage covering loss of income or medical treatment. Any insurance you buy for damage to your own car is optional.

In the event of a collision, you will call the insurance company to file a claim.

The auto insurance company assigns someone to your claim and eventually establishes fault in the accident.

Your liability insurance and accident benefits insurance will cover any loss, injury, damage, or medical treatment needed by the people involved.

Anything above 25% at fault will likely result in a rate increase. Damage to your vehicle isn’t covered unless you have collision insurance, which will cover any damage minus your deductible.

If you are not at fault, your direct compensation and property damage coverage will cover you up to the no-fault percentage of the policy limit regardless of whether you have collision coverage.

If you’re in an accident with someone who isn’t insured, your damages come with protection under the Uninsured Automobile portion of your policy.

If you are injured, you might have eligibility for accident benefits regardless of who’s at fault. It’s important to keep your receipts for medical treatment and all documentation to support your injury claim.

What Factors Determine Car Insurance Rates?

Auto insurance holders pay for insurance through monthly premiums. You may be shocked by how much your car insurance rates can cost, and it can take several years to bring the cost down.

There are some of the factors that can determine car insurance rates, including:

Driving experience

New drivers and drivers with less experience pay more in car insurance premiums than drivers with years of experience.

Driving history

Insurance companies will assess at least a three-year driving history through documents like a driving record statement, driver’s license history, and accident reports.

Insurance companies will assess at least a three-year driving history through documents like a driving record statement, driver’s license history, and accident reports.

If there are demerits on your driving history, accidents you’ve been at fault for, and you have an overall bad driving record, expect to pay more in premiums if you can be insured at all.

Driving frequency

You can get mileage discounts on car insurance rates if you don’t drive frequently, but insurance companies will want to know if you commute to work every day and how far it is from your home.

Driving infractions

Driving infractions are part of your driving history that the auto insurance company will notice.

Particularly infractions happen in a moving vehicle, so parking tickets are not contributing factors to premium costs. What factored in are demerits and major infractions, along with how frequently they’ve happened.

Driver age

Older drivers have more experience than younger drivers, so their premiums tend to be cheaper. However, premiums go up again when you hit the last decades of your life, as your driving has the potential to worsen with age.

Driver gender

Statistics show that Canadian men are more likely to launch a car insurance claim than women, so insurance premiums tend to be cheaper for women.

Driver address

Where you live can affect your cost of insurance, especially if you live in a more populated area or a neighbourhood with a higher crime rate involving vehicles.

Vehicle type

Expensive cars are much more costly to repair and replace. The same goes for high-performance sports cars that create more risk in terms of speed or theft. That said, those with more expensive and flashier cars will pay more.

How Does it Differ from Province to Province?

In Canadian provinces where a public option exists, the provincial government provides the mandatory insurance you must have and sets the minimum amounts of these required coverages. However, optional coverages such as collision damage or uninsured motorist coverage are available from both the government and private insurers.

Whether you live in a province with a public or private car insurance, the mandatory minimum coverage differs between provinces.

Most provinces require third-party liability of $200,000, but Quebec only requires $50,000 for property damage within the province and personal injury and property damage outside the province. This is because in Quebec, private insurers cover civil liability and property damage while a public plan covers bodily injury sustained in an accident.

Finally, the insurance your required to have is different between provinces.

All provinces require third-party liability, but it varies after that. For example, Alberta only requires Third-Party Liability and Accident Benefits, while Ontario adds Direct Compensation, Property Damage, and Uninsured Automobile Protection to that policy.

For a more comprehensive list of required insurances, look up your province at The Insurance Bureau of Canada.

Frequently Asked Questions

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