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How much is insurance for a new driver?


In B.C., Saskatchewan and Manitoba, drivers purchase insurance from the government. In Alberta, Ontario and the Atlantic provinces, which use private insurance companies, drivers can shop around and compare providers. Quebec is the only province that operates on a hybrid system. 

Do I need my own insurance policy? 

If you plan to share a vehicle with another driver (like a parent, for example) and only drive occasionally, you can get secondary driver insurance, also known as occasional driver insurance. Secondary driver insurance is a more affordable option because you don’t have your own policy. Rather, you are added to the main driver’s policy, and that person pays a higher premium.

However, there are circumstances in which you must get your own insurance policy. If you are going to drive the car more than once or twice per week—for example, as part of your daily commute to work—you will need your own policy. A good rule of thumb is that you’ll require your own policy if you drive another person’s vehicle more than 50% of the time.

There are no age limits on who can be considered a secondary driver. If you’re unsure of what constitutes a “secondary driver,” ask your insurer. Failing to abide by the rules of your policy could render your coverage void. 

How much does secondary insurance cost?

Unfortunately, it is not free to add a secondary driver to your policy, and the cost can vary widely across Canada. That being said, adding an experienced driver who has no history of insurance claims will cost much less than adding a young driver with far less experience.

A primary driver can expect to pay anywhere from a few dollars to a few hundred dollars more per month when adding a secondary driver to their policy. The final cost will depend on many factors, including:

  • The age and experience of the secondary driver
  • The secondary driver’s history of tickets and parking fines
  • The length of time the secondary driver has been driving
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How to lower your car insurance as a new driver 

Understanding your policy and comparing the prices and coverage offered by various providers is one of the best ways to ensure you’re getting a competitive rate. However, here are some other ways new drivers may be able to lower their insurance costs.

  • Get secondary driver insurance: If you will only be driving occasionally, it may be worth getting added as a secondary driver on an existing policy. Just be sure that you’re not driving the car more than 50% of the time, or you’ll be considered a principal driver.
  • Ask about student discounts: Some insurers give discounts to university students, for example. Some insurance companies also give discounts to university alumni.
  • Take a driver-training program: Some insurance companies may offer discounts to new drivers who have taken a recognized driving course, because insurers will have more confidence in their driving ability. 
  • Pick the right car: Cars that are more likely to get stolen or are more expensive to repair will cost more to insure. Vehicles that are equipped with safety features like anti-theft devices and rear-view cameras may also have lower premiums.
  • Increase deductibles: The higher your deductibles are, the less you’ll pay in insurance premiums, but the more you’ll pay out of pocket if you get into an accident. 
  • Pay the entire premium at once: Many insurers offer a small discount to drivers who pay their premium in one yearly installment rather than in smaller monthly increments.

The bottom line 

For the reasons described above, there’s no simple answer to the question, “How much is insurance for a new driver?” Ultimately, it depends on a host of factors, such as your province of residence, your age and gender, and whether or not you qualify as a secondary driver. Doing your research will help you budget for the costs of being a new driver.


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