Frequently Asked Questions

  1. What is the role of the Automobile Insurance Rate Board regarding automobile insurance for private passenger vehicles? The Automobile Insurance Rate Board regulates insurer rating programs for basic and additional coverage for private passenger, miscellaneous private passenger and commercial vehicles. A public meeting is held annually to establish rating factor guidelines to be used when reviewing individual insurer’s rating programs and adjusting the Grid premium level.

  2. What is Graduated Licensing? Graduated Licensing is a program for all new drivers who must meet specific requirements/restrictions before they can obtain a driver’s license. A driver is considered a fully licensed driver once they have completed the two stages of the program; learner and probationary. The purpose is to allow new drivers to gain real hands-on driving experience with less risk before "graduating" to more demanding driving conditions.

  3. What are the different ways to purchase insurance? Agent, Direct Writer or Broker.

  4. 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. (The majority, over 98% of vehicles are insured for at least a $1,000,000 limit of third party liability.)

  5. What is the Grid rating program? The Grid rating program was introduced by the Alberta Government 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.

  6. 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.

  7. 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, most commonly, with collision and comprehensive coverage.

  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. 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".

  10. 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.)

  11. If I lend my vehicle to someone and they have an accident, does it affect my insurance premiums? In Alberta, when you lend your vehicle, you are essentially lending your insurance as well. The insurance is on the vehicle and will be the primary coverage in the event of an accident. If a claim occurs while another person is driving your vehicle, your insurance company may treat the claim as though it was yours.

  12. Who do I contact if I have concerns regarding my automobile insurance? The first point of contact is the broker or agent from which you obtained your automobile insurance coverage. If the issue has not been resolved, you should contact the Complaint Liaison Officer for your insurance company.

  13. What is the "All Comers Rule"?  The 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 existing policyholder. There are a few exceptions where coverage can be refused; an example is for non-payment of all or part of a premium.