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How to be a Smart Shopper for Alberta Car and Home Insurance

How to be a Smart Shopper for Alberta Car and Home Insurance

You can be a smarter shopper for car and home insurance in Alberta this year by going on the offence for the best prices and the most discounts that may apply to you.

Do your homework to help counter any increases in your Alberta car and home insurance premiums in 2024. The effort can pay off and help you save.

High insurance claims costs, inflation, severe weather events, labour shortages, and supply chain problems are expected to be factors in higher home and car insurance premiums this year.

Understanding your car and home insurance policies

A little knowledge can go a long way. Do you know what is covered and not covered by your car and home insurance policies? That can help save you a lot of grief should you need to make an insurance claim.

Whether you live in Calgary, Edmonton, Red Deer, Lethbridge or in Fort McMurray, Bashaw, Brooks, Spruce Grove or elsewhere in Alberta, take the time to understand your car and home insurance policies. How can they affect you? How much will you pay based on where you live and your needs.

If your budget can afford it, be open to adding extra coverages to your home and car insurance policies to protect what’s important to you.

It takes just a few minutes to talk to a Western Financial Group Alberta car or home insurance expert to get the information you need.

Understanding insurance terms

Here are some terms that you should be familiar with to increase your insurance knowledge:

Premium: An insurance premium is the amount you pay to your insurance provider regularly to keep your policy active. You may be able to pay premiums monthly, quarterly, every six months, or annually, depending on your insurance company and your specific policy.

If you do not pay your insurance premium, your policy will be cancelled and you will not have financial protection should you make a claim.

Deductible: The deductible on your car insurance is the amount you will have to pay before your coverage kicks in. How high your deductible is affects the cost of your car insurance policy. The higher your deductible is, the lower your car insurance rate may be.

Insurance limit: An insurance limit is the maximum amount of money your insurance provider will pay toward a covered claim. The higher your coverage limit, the higher your premium may be. Limits can apply to different types of coverage within a policy.

Covered losses: Covered losses usually involve unexpected or accidental damage, for which your policy may reimburse you. Property damage occurring due to wear and tear or neglected maintenance are not covered.

A covered loss could be your roof during a fire, or your garden shed during a hurricane.

Actual cash value versus replacement cost: Does your insurance policy provide coverage based on actual cash value, which takes depreciation into account, or replacement cost, which doesn't.

Loss of use in car insurance: Loss of use coverage provides you with a replacement vehicle or reimburses you for your transportation costs, while your vehicle is being repaired or replaced.

Optional coverages: Insurance coverage provided by a policy that is beyond what is required by law such as collision coverage and comprehensive coverage for car insurance.

For home insurance, optional coverages you can buy separately can include flood, earthquake, or sewer backup insurance.

How to save on your Alberta car and home insurance

Bundle and save: When you bundle your Alberta car and home insurance, you can get a discount and it’s an easy way to cut costs without cutting coverage.

If you have more than one car and they’re insured under the same policy, you can save with a multi-vehicle discount.

If you’re a renter, you can bundle your Alberta renter's insurance with car insurance to get a discount.

Ask Western Financial Group about other discounts for your Alberta car insurance

Are you claims free?

A soft credit check can give you the best price for your car insurance.

Does your car have vehicle safety features? Do you have winter tires?

If you don’t drive much, you could save money on your car insurance.

Did you know?

A higher deductible usually lowers your car insurance premium.

Car insurance rates in Alberta

You will get a bit of a break with car insurance this year. Alberta drivers with good records will have a limited increase on their car insurance premiums in 2024.

As of Jan. 1, if you are an Albertan with a good driving record, your car insurance premium will be capped at 3.7 per cent, which was the inflation rate in September 2023. The freeze was imposed by the provincial government to help Alberta drivers, who pay among the highest car insurance premiums in Canada.

An Alberta driver considered to have a good driving record does not have:

  • Any major traffic convictions in the last 3 years
  • More than one minor traffic conviction in the last 3 years
  • Any criminal code traffic convictions in the last 4 years
  • Any at-fault accidents in the last 6 years

As a driver in the larger cities of Calgary, Edmonton, Red Deer, Lethbridge or St. Albert, your location can play a role in the cost of insuring your vehicle. The risk of an accident or theft can go up if you live in the city, affecting your car insurance rate.

People who live in cities may pay higher rates than those in the smaller centres such as High River, Okotoks, Fort McMurray, Medicine Hat, Spruce Grove, Brooks, Strathmore, and Cochrane, which typically would have fewer vehicles than in large cities.

The type of car you drive

The make, model, year and safety features are factors in your Alberta car insurance rate.

Cars such as Teslas, BMWs, and other luxury brands are more expensive to insure and are enticing for thieves to steal.

Top-selling Volkswagen Golf, Volkswagen Jetta, Mazda3, Honda Civic and Kia Forte are among cars that have less expensive insurance in Alberta.

Home insurance rates in Alberta

Inflation is higher than it has been in years. Whether you live in Edmonton, Calgary, Red Deer, Lethbridge, St. Albert, Airdrie, High River, Fort McMurray, Medicine Hat, Spruce Grove, Leduc, Cochrane, or anywhere else in Alberta, you may be facing higher home insurance premiums.

An increase in claims is another factor that has pushed up the price of home insurance premiums. Floods and wildfires events in recent years have resulted in many people needing to make claims.

Your Alberta neighbourhood can impact your home insurance rate. How much crime is in your area can also affect your rate.

The age of your home, its electrical wiring, plumbing, condition of its roof and windows, and any renovations can also be factors that contribute to the price of your insurance premium. Do you have a high-risk stove such as a wood stove or do you have oil-based heaters?

The more expensive your Alberta home, the more expensive your insurance premium will be.

What does Alberta home insurance cover:

  • Theft
  • Fire
  • Third-party “slip and fall’’ accidents
  • Vandalism
  • Some weather-related events like ice damage, hail and windstorms, tornadoes, hurricanes, and wildfires

The more you know about your Alberta car and home insurance policies, the better you can protect yourself and the more you can save. Ask your Western Financial Group car or home insurance expert to customize a policy to meet your needs and to help you save on your Alberta car or home insurance.