Third-party liability car insurance is necessary for anyone who wants to drive a vehicle on Alberta roads. But nobody wants to pay extra for their car insurance. Unfortunately, Alberta’s drivers have seen a steady increase in auto insurance premiums over the past few years, making rate comparison shopping more important than ever. According to Q1 data for Alberta insurance providers, auto insurance premiums are reaching a plateau, even dropping slightly in some cases.
We’ve discussed how to find the best insurance quotes in Alberta, but once you have a great insurance rate, there are several factors that could cause your premiums to fluctuate. Many of these factors are within your power to avoid. Still, sometimes incidents happen that are beyond our control, such as collisions where you’re not at fault or overall premiums rising due to an overall increase in claims. Here are six of the most common events that can affect your car insurance premiums if you live in Alberta.
1. Driving Experience
Your driving experience is determined by how many years you’ve had your license. When you first begin driving with a learner’s permit, you’re beginning to build your driving record, which will impact the insurance rates you’ll be eligible for in the future. As you gain more experience and have no traffic infractions, you’ll qualify as a safe driver and have lower premium options.
New drivers are automatically assumed to be a higher risk for insurance companies simply because they have driven a vehicle for less time and thus have less experience driving. If you’re shopping for insurance as a new driver, you’ll find that all companies offer higher insurance rates until you establish a safe driving record. Once you’ve had a few years without accidents or claims, your insurance premiums will decrease. Suppose you’re an experienced driver with a safe driving record and you’re adding a new driver onto your policy. In that case, your premium will also increase slightly until they leave your policy or gain more experience. When your new driver is ready to get their own New Driver Insurance, make sure to shop around to get the best rate available. Make sure to ask about eligible discounts or use an insurance broker to help.
2. Your Overall Driving Record
Your driving record is your official driving file that reflects your driving experience. Police issued tickets for driving infractions and traffic collisions are all included on your driving record. Smaller infractions stay on your record for about three years, while serious infractions can stay on for several years. Some infractions to your driving record can affect your insurance premium, while others do not. Basically, the riskier the action, the more it will affect your insurance premium.
Some examples of serious infractions that will cause your insurance rate to rise include:
- Failure to remain at the scene of a traffic collision,
- High speeding tickets,
- Failing to wear a seatbelt,
- Failing to obey a school crossing sign,
- Careless driving,
- Failing to stop at a red light
- Rolling through a stop sign,
- Distracted driving (texting),
- Fatal collision.
3. Speeding Tickets
There are two levels of speeding tickets issued in Alberta: regular traffic violations between 1-49 km/h over the posted speed limit and serious traffic violations of 50 km/h or more over the posted speed limit. Speeding in a playground or school zone is also considered a serious traffic violation. Speeding tickets of all levels of severity will have an impact on your driving record, and the number of violations on your record will influence your insurance premiums. Regular traffic violations stay on your record for about three years, while serious traffic violations will stay on significantly longer. As long as the violations are on your record, they will impact your insurance rate.
Does Photo Radar Affect Insurance Premiums in Alberta?
While police-issued tickets for speeding do influence your insurance premiums, tickets issued due to photo radar detection do not count. Both speeding and red light tickets caught on radar scanners will not affect your insurance rate or driving record, but you will still need to pay the fines. Obeying the posted speed limit and safe driving is always the best practice to prevent traffic tickets and demerit points and keep your insurance rates low.
4. Traffic Collisions
When you’re involved in a traffic collision, the incident is added to your driving record. What your insurance company will care about is whether you are determined to be at fault and the frequency of your collisions. Two or more at-fault collisions can result in you being labeled as a high-risk driver by insurance companies, leaving you with fewer choices for policies and much higher premiums.
Collisions that can make you a higher risk include:
- When you’re found to be at fault for the collision.
- The collision causes property damage.
- The collision causes injury, bodily harm, or fatalities.
5. Claims History
The number of insurance claims you make has an impact on your insurance premiums. If you make too many claims in a given period, you’ll be assessed as a riskier client, and your premiums will rise. Many drivers will forgo making an insurance claim for minor repairs such as door dings. Whether you were at fault for the incident or not, every claim adds to your insurance account. Your policy will depend on the frequency of claims you can make in a year without increasing your premium. Talk to your insurance provider or an insurance broker to learn more; they can provide you with information about how a claim will affect your rates moving forward.
How Insurance Brokers Can Help You Find the Right Policy
If your premiums are rising, talk to your insurance broker about strategies to lower your rates. This might involve a long-term plan to improve your driving record. It could also involve shopping around for lower rates or bundling your insurance package to save money elsewhere. If you’re considered a high-risk driver, Cornerstone’s insurance partners also offer high-risk policies to keep you covered as you drive.
Your Trusted Insurance Brokers in Edmonton, Alberta
The experienced brokers at Cornerstone Insurance in Edmonton are available to help you find the right insurance policy for your needs. Our brokers will take the time to thoroughly review your situation, your unique needs, and research at the best rate possible. Contact us today to get your quote.