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Car insurance coverage in Alberta
Automobile insurance in Alberta is mandatory and according to the Alberta Automobile Insurance Rate Board (the folks who regulate and monitor automobile insurance in the province), every vehicle must have at least $200,000 third party liability and accident benefits coverage to operate a private passenger automobile.
The following are the compulsory coverages needed in Alberta:
- Accident benefits: Covers the people in a vehicle in the event of injury. Coverage can include medical and rehabilitation costs, funeral expenses, death benefits, as well as income replacement.
- Third party liability: Coverage pays for a legal claim against the policyholder in the event that they are responsible (whether wholly or partially) for a collision that causes injury or damage to a third party. The minimum limit requirement is $200,000 although most Alberta drivers go with at least $1 million.
There are optional coverages that can be added to your policy to ensure that you're protected in the way you expect to be covered. Two of the most well-known are:
- Collision coverage: Covers damage to your vehicle as a result of an impact or collision with another vehicle or object.
- Comprehensive coverage: Insures your car against damage caused by events like theft and vandalism.
Both of these optional coverages usually have a deductible. A deductible is the portion of an insurance claim you agree to pay. Your deductibles will factor into how your auto insurance rates are calculated. The higher the deductible the lower your rates.
There are other optional coverages as well that you can add to your policy such as:
- Loss of use: Pays for a rental car or alternate transportation while your automobile is being repaired if damaged in a collision.
- Legal liability for damage to non-owned automobiles: Extends your physical damage coverage and deductible on your personal vehicle to a rental vehicle so that you don't have to take the coverage offered by the rental company.
- Limited waiver of depreciation: Ensures you will receive the full value of what you paid for your car if totalled in a collision.
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What goes into calculating your rate
There are many things that go into determining your car insurance rate. Even though what you pay will vary by company, a few things that every auto insurer will consider include:There are many things that go into determining your car insurance rate. Even though what you pay will vary by company, a few things that every auto insurer will consider include:
Your driving record: How long you've been licensed, traffic ticket convictions, as well as collisions where you're wholly or partially at fault will affect what you pay for your coverage.
How often and how far you drive: The more time you spend on the road, the greater the chance you'll be in a collision. If you work close to home (or take public transit), chances are you'll pay less for your coverage than someone who commutes every day for long stretches of time.
Where you live: Where you live also factors into your rate. If you live in a rural area, chances are you'll pay less than someone who lives and drives in a city where there are more drivers on the road.
The car you drive: What you drive will, in part, determine what you pay for. Insurance works this way because theft rates, vehicle safety ratings, and the historical repair costs for a vehicle can vary significantly.
When should you shop around for your Alberta coverage
Auto insurance isn't one of those things that you can get and forget; it's important that you regularly check in on the rates you pay to make sure you're getting the best rate possible.
Compare rates regularly to ensure you're not overpaying for your coverage. Shop around when:
- It's time to renew
- You get married
- You move
- You buy a new car
- Add drivers (like a teen) to your policy
- Get a ticket or are involved in a collision
- Change jobs
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