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How to Buy Auto Insurance Hero image

How to Buy Auto Insurance

Did you know that where you live impacts how and where you buy car insurance? You may have to purchase your policy from a public insurance company. Or, you might be able to select your insurer in provinces with private insurance systems. Learn how to buy auto insurance in Canada.

Types of insurance providers

Depending on where you live and register your vehicle, you will purchase some or all of your insurance from either a private insurer or a public insurer.

Private auto insurers

When purchasing auto insurance in provinces that have private insurance systems for mandatory and/or optional coverage, you may be able to buy insurance from:

  • a broker who works with a number of insurance companies,

  • an agent who sells insurance for one company, or

  • a direct writer, which is an insurance company that sells directly to the consumer through its call centre and/or website.

Public auto insurers

In British Columbia, Saskatchewan and Manitoba, public auto insurers, also known as “government insurers”, provide mandatory coverage. In Quebec, the public insurer manages the insurance regime for bodily injury coverage only.

Private property and casualty (P&C) insurance companies typically provide more options and better value than public insurers because they have to compete with one another for your business. Monopolies, on the other hand, typically have less incentive to offer choice and value.

AB to YK. Buying insurance in your province

Depending on where you live, you’ll buy insurance from private and/or public insurers. The type of vehicle you drive may also affect insurance requirements. Your insurance representative can also confirm mandatory coverage requirements in your province or territory and any additional options available to you.