Frequently Asked Questions

  1. What is the role of the Automobile Insurance Rate Board regarding automobile insurance?

    The Automobile Insurance Rate Board regulates insurer rating programs for basic and additional coverage for private passenger, miscellaneous private passenger (motorcycles, snow vehicles, all-terrain/off-road vehicles, motorhomes, camper and trailer units, antique/classic vehicles), commercial and interurban vehicles; commercial miscellaneous classes that would include various public transportation vehicles and garage risks.

    A public meeting is held annually to establish industry benchmarks o be used when reviewing individual insurer's rating programs and adjusting the Grid premium level.

    The AIRB is unable to provide premium quotes or make a recommendation for an insurance provider.

  2. What is the "All Comers Rule"?

    This rule ensures that all Alberta drivers can obtain mandatory automobile insurance coverage. Insurers cannot refuse third party liability and accident benefits coverage to any new applicant or exiting policyholder. There are a few exceptions where coverage can be refused; an example is for non-payment of all or part of a premium.

  3. What is the minimum amount of insurance that is required to operate a private passenger motor vehicle?

    In Alberta, the minimum requirement for insurance is $200,000 Third Party Liability and Accident Benefits coverage. (The majority, over 98% of vehicles, are insured for at least a $1,000,000 limit of third party liability.)

  4. What is CLEAR?

    CLEAR stands for Canadian Loss Experience Automobile Rating. An agency called the Vehicle Information Centre (VIC) that is part of the Insurance Bureau of Canada, analyzes the number and severity of claims involving the various models of vehicles. From this analysis, they assign numerical values known as rate groups to each vehicle by coverage. This rating system is used by insurance providers as part of their calculation in determining your insurance premium for collision, comprehensive/ specified perils and sometimes, accident benefits coverage.

  5. What are the different ways to purchase insurance?
    • Agent
      An insurance agent sells the products offered by one insurance company.

    • Direct Writer
      A direct writer insurance company has its own sales employees to sell its policies through an office or call centre.

    • Broker
      An insurance broker has contracts to sell insurance for more than one insurance company.

    • Internet
      Some insurers and independent insurance quoting sites have tools to provide drivers with a premium quote.
  6. What is the Grid rating program?

    The Grid rating program was introduced by the Government of Alberta in 2004 to set the maximum premiums for basic coverage (third party liability and accident benefits). The majority of drivers’ premiums fall below the Grid premiums.

  7. What does "Grid Step" mean?

    A grid step is a position on a scale that is a measure of licensed experience and at-fault accident claims record. Each grid step is associated with a percentage that is used in the Grid premium calculation. This could represent either a discount or surcharge applied to the grid step 0 or base premium, depending on the length of driving experience and claims history.

  8. Does a seatbelt violation affect my insurance premium?

    Insurance companies are only allowed to charge for "moving" traffic violations; seatbelt violations are not moving violations.

  9. I’ve been driving for more than 15 years with no tickets and no claims. Will my rate jump significantly if I have an at-fault claim?

    If you’re considered a good, experienced driver and have an at-fault claim, your insurance premium may or may not be affected. Some insurance companies may provide leniency in the event of a first at-fault claim within a six-year period. An example of when this may occur is if you had an "Accident Forgiveness" endorsement on your policy. Drivers with more limited experience may see a greater increase in premium following an at-fault claim, but the grid rating program sets a maximum premium for basic coverage. (See our grid rate calculator.)

  10. What do I do if I am involved in a motor vehicle accident?

    Helpful information can be found in "What to Do After an Auto Collision".

  11. What do I do if I am injured by an uninsured driver?

    The Motor Vehicle Accident Claims Program was created in 1947 by the establishment of the Motor Vehicle Accident Claims Act. The goal of the program is to protect the victims injured by uninsured or unknown drivers by ensuring they have a place where they can sue and receive payment for their personal injuries. Helpful information can be found in "Motor Vehicle Accident Claims Program".

  12. Who do I contact if I have concerns regarding my automobile insurance?

    The first point of contact is the broker, direct writer, agent or adjuster from which you obtained your automobile insurance coverage. If you are not able to reach a resolution with your broker, direct writer, agent or adjuster, your next step would be to contact the management of your insurance company. Someone from management or a senior representative will discuss your issue with you, and attempt to reach a resolution.

    Some insurance companies have an internal ombudsman who you can contact for an additional level of review. Click here for the list of Insurers, Reciprocal Insurance Exchanges, and Fraternal Societies Licensed in Alberta, which includes contact information for the Complaint Liaison Officer/Ombudsperson.

    If you still have not reached a resolution, the final step is to contact the General Insurance OmbudService (GIO).