Ottawa Auto Insurance

Ottawa is one of the most iconic and picturesque cities in Canada. If you’re lucky enough to call our nation’s capital home, you already know the charm of ByWard Market, the beauty of Rideau Falls, and the splendour of Parliament Hill on Canada Day.

One interesting fact you might not know is that while Ottawa may have a reputation for high housing and transportation costs overall, it’s actually one of the least expensive cities in all of Ontario when it comes to automobile insurance—approximately $300 cheaper than the provincial average (according to RATESDOTCA ). This is excellent news for Ottawa car owners. Not only does it provide a much-needed break for your wallet it also means that the roads in Ottawa are considered some of the safest in the province (more on this later).

But just because Ottawa auto insurance is more affordable than the provincial average doesn’t mean it’s inexpensive. Seeking out cheap car insurance is smart, proactive, and highly recommended. That being said, pay attention to the details and be sure you aren’t cutting important corners by paying less than you should.

Below, we’ll take a look at how auto insurance works in Ottawa, the factors that determine your rates, and how to find the best deal without compromising on the inclusions and services that you value most. Whether you’re parking long-term at Macdonald-Cartier International Airport, taking in the latest exhibit at the National Gallery of Canada, or en route to Winterlude, you want to feel secure in your car insurance coverage. Westland Insurance can help.

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How Ottawa Auto Insurance Works

Like every other province in Canada, Ontario mandates insurance coverage for all vehicle owners and leasees, without exception. While some provinces operate on a public insurance model, Ontario drivers must purchase private insurance from one of the many insurance providers available.

Private insurance comes with a greater selection of options and a wider range of prices than public insurance, but that doesn’t mean that insurance providers can haphazardly offer whatever coverage they want for random prices. In Ottawa, auto insurance prices are regulated by the Financial Services Regulatory Authority (FRSA) and must include specific types of coverage. Though there is some flexibility when it comes to adjusting rates to reflect operating costs, claims, and profit, all Ottawa auto insurance companies must, at a minimum, offer the following in every plan:

  • Third-Party Liability – Third-party liability coverage covers the costs (up to a limit) associated with an at-fault collision where a third party is injured—or even killed. It also compensates the at-fault driver’s associated damages and medical costs, plus any payments resulting from a lawsuit. Third-Party liability (TPL) coverage includes a $200,000 minimum that can be increased to $500,000, $1 million, or more.
  • Direct Compensation Property Damage (DCPD) – DCPD coverage allows you to quickly claim and receive compensation for a collision where you were not at fault. It includes compensation for damage to your vehicle and its contents as well as access to a rental car. While DCPD coverage amounts may vary, this type of insurance only applies if the at-fault vehicle is also insured (which should automatically be the case anywhere in Canada).
  • Uninsured Motorist – This type of coverage provides compensation in the event that you’re injured (or killed) by an uninsured driver. It also includes damages resulting from a hit-and-run by an unidentified/uninsured driver. Uninsured motorist insurance typically includes $200,000 of coverage that can be increased up to $1 million.
  • Accident Benefits/Bodily Injury – Accident benefits insurance covers your medical costs associated with an accident, regardless of who is at fault. In addition, it can also cover lost wages, home care, and funeral costs, if necessary. The amount of coverage will depend on your insurance plan and provider.

In addition to the four types of mandatory insurance above (which can all be increased, as desired), Ontario insurance providers also offer a wide selection of optional coverages. Let’s take a look at some of the most common ones:

  • Collision Coverage – If you don’t have collision coverage, you’ll have to pay to repair or replace your vehicle if you’re found to be at fault in a collision. With collision coverage, the expenses will be covered by insurance regardless of who’s at fault.
  • Specified Perils – Specified perils insurance covers a driver against a predetermined list of perils (risks) that are specified in their insurance plan. Commonly named perils include theft, damage in transport, riots, windstorms, explosions, natural disasters, hail, rising water, and more. Vandalism is not typically included as a specified peril.
  • Comprehensive Coverage – Comprehensive coverage protects a driver against all types of damage with the exception of a few perils that are listed in the policy. If a peril isn’t on the list, you should be covered for it. While comprehensive insurance covers a lot of perils, it doesn’t provide additional protection if your vehicle is stolen by an employee or household member.
  • All Perils – All perils auto insurance is a combination of comprehensive coverage and collision/upset coverage rolled into one. In addition to comprehensive damage protection, all perils insurance provides additional protection in the event that your vehicle is stolen by an employee or household member.
  • Transportation Replacement Coverage – This type of coverage ensures that you’ll be covered for transportation replacement and rental car insurance if your vehicle is damaged or stolen and cannot be driven for a period of time.
  • Borrowed and Rented Vehicles Coverage – This type of insurance covers you in the event that you damage a borrowed or rented vehicle.

If you want even more coverage options, there are a number of endorsements (additional insurance) available in the province of Ontario. They include:

  • Leased Vehicle Coverage – If you lease a vehicle long-term, you’ll require this type of endorsement to ensure you’re protected by your insurance provider.
  • New Vehicle Replacement Coverage– If you’ve purchased a brand-new vehicle, you may want to consider this type of insurance. It covers the cost of your new vehicle (within about a two-year period and up to 5000 km) without factoring in depreciation. In the case of damage, this could make it much easier to fully replace your vehicle with another new one.
  • Emergency Road Service – If your car ever breaks down on the road or you lock your keys in the car, you’ll be glad to have invested in emergency road service coverage. This one comes in really handy when you least expect it!
  • Family Protection – This type of endorsement guarantees that damages and expenses will be covered for you and your family in case of a no-fault collision—even if the at-fault party can’t cover all the costs through their insurance or on their own.
  • Accident Waiver/Forgiveness – If you’ve had your first ever at-fault accident, this type of coverage can protect your premium from rising as a result.

The Cost of Ottawa Car Insurance

The cost of car insurance is determined by many factors (see below). On average, though, Ottawa is one of the most affordable cities in Ontario for car insurance rates. Let’s take a peek.

First off, you might be interested to note that average car insurance rates for Canada in 2022 ranged between $1,300 and $1,800 annually. Quebecers are on the low end, with an average of just $717 annually, while British Columbians pay a whopping $1,832 on average.

Ontario is closer to the high end of the Canadian auto insurance spectrum, with an average provincial car insurance rate of about $1,557 annually. In Ottawa, the amount is about $300 less (estimated based on a 35-year-old male with a clean driving record insuring a 2018 Honda Civic 4-door).

The average cost of car insurance in Ottawa is $1,257 annually. According to, this is about 24% cheaper than the national average.

Factors That Determine Your Ottawa Car Insurance Rates

Why would auto insurance be less expensive on average in Ottawa than any other city in Ontario? The answer all boils down to risk.

Insurance providers analyze the standard risk of drivers getting into a collision (and filing a costly claim) based on factors like road safety, population density, and number of daily commuters. When all is said and done, Ottawa is not considered a high-risk city for drivers; in fact, its auto insurance premiums are ranked 44th out of all the cities in Ontario (highest to lowest).

While this is great news (especially because it means you’re statistically less likely to have a collision on Ottawa’s roads than in many other places), it doesn’t necessarily indicate that your personal insurance rates will be cheap. In addition to the city the vehicle is being insured in, insurance companies determine every individual motorist’s premium based on a number of other factors.

These include:

  • Age & Gender – Statistically speaking, age and gender do have an impact on the likelihood of insurance claims being filed. Whether it seems fair or not, your auto insurance premium will be adjusted accordingly. Males under the age of 25 typically pay the most for their car insurance.
  • Claims History – If you have a history of filing numerous and/or expensive claims, you can be sure that your premium will reflect that fact. The more likely your insurance provider deems you to file claims, the higher your premium will be.
  • Driving Record – Years of driving experience combined with a clean driving record (no tickets or claims) can go a long way toward reducing your insurance premiums. Likewise, penalties for poor or inexperienced driving will increase your rates.
  • Vehicle Type – Some car models are statistically more likely to be in a collision, more expensive to repair or replace, or more popular amongst car thieves. You may want to research these factors when selecting and purchasing a vehicle. Vehicle age also contributes to premium costs (older cars are usually less expensive to insure).
  • Driving Habits – If you only use your car for pleasure, you’ll pay less than you would on a vehicle you use for daily commuting. Your insurance provider will factor in the usage and associated number of kilometers you’ll be covering and calculate your premium accordingly.
  • Location – We’ve already established that your location can impact your insurance premium. But did you know that cost adjustments can come right down to postal code? Your insurance provider’s calculation will take into account your neighbourhood, its crime rate, and past claims history, among other things.
  • Insurance ProviderOntario auto insurance is private, which means that premium rates may vary from plan to plan and provider to provider. Be sure to take the time to compare car insurance quotes from multiple sources.

Ottawa Car Insurance Premiums Vs. Other Ontario Regions

As mentioned above, Ottawa’s auto insurance premiums are amongst the lowest in Ontario. To see precisely how Ottawa premiums measure up against those of Ontario’s priciest auto insurance zones, take a look at the table below:

Rank City 2021 premium Change from 2020
44 Ottawa $1,257 +3.6%
1 Vaughan $2,179 -6.7%
2 Ajax $2,104 -1.7%
3 Richmond Hill $2,025 -11.4%
4 Brampton $1,976 -26.8%
5 Mississauga $1,971 -16.9%
6 Pickering $1,959 -0.1%
7 Toronto $1,953 -11.3%
8 Oshawa $1,833 +12.1%
9 Whitby $1,792 +0.9%
10 Nobleton, Schomberg, Orangeville, King City $1,766 +14.2%

Getting the Cheapest Car Insurance in Ottawa

While there’s no magic solution for finding Ottawa’s most affordable car insurance, there are definitely some concrete actions you can take to lower your premium as much as possible.

These include the following (not an exhaustive list):

  • Increase Your Deductible – Your deductible is the amount you pay out of pocket before your auto insurance kicks in. If you’re willing (and able) to shoulder a higher cost in the event that damage occurs, you may be able to lower your premium up front.
  • Bundle Insurance Policies – Often, insurance providers will offer discounts if you purchase more than one type of insurance through them (e.g., car insurance and home insurance). Compare discounts from multiple providers before making a final decision. You may also be eligible for a loyalty discount if you’ve purchased insurance through the same provider for many years.
  • Shop Around – Auto insurance is private in Ontario, which means that rates may vary throughout the city of Ottawa. Getting quotes from different companies and locations can greatly improve your odds on finding the best deal in town.
  • Maintain An Excellent Record – The more experience and less collisions, claims, and tickets you have on record, the more affordably priced your auto insurance should be. Besides keeping you safe, being a responsible driver can have major financial rewards.
  • Payment Option Savings – Sometimes you can get a cheaper price on car insurance if you pay annually in one lump sum (instead of monthly). Paying your fees on time also keeps costs from increasing.
  • Improve Your Driving – Insurance companies look favourably upon motorists who invest in continuing driver training. If you’ve recently taken a driver’s education refresher, let your insurance provider know.
  • Invest In Winter Tires – In Ottawa, winter tires make good sense—and insurance providers know it! If you’ve recently upgraded specific safety features of your car (such as winter tires or a security system), ask your insurance company if there are any associated discounts.
  • Review Your Policy – Before renewing your car insurance policy each year, be certain that the coverage still fits your situation. For instance, endorsements that made sense with a newer vehicle may no longer be necessary once the vehicle has aged. Paying attention and reading carefully can save you money in the long run.

With a national presence of over 200 locations across Canada, Westland Insurance is an award-winning agency that puts customer satisfaction first. Our knowledgeable and professional agents are ready to assist you with all of your auto insurance questions. Request an online quote and find out what Westland Insurance can offer you today!


Although Ottawa’s average car insurance premium represents a substantial amount (roughly $1,257 annually), it’s actually $300 less than the provincial average ($1,557 annually). In reality, Ottawa car insurance is very affordable, relatively speaking.

No. While you may occasionally be able to insure your vehicle for as little as six months, a one-year policy is standard—and generally non-negotiable—in Ontario.

To buy car insurance in Ottawa, you’ll need to provide a valid driver’s licence as well as the year, make, and model of the vehicle you want to insure. In addition, you’ll also be asked for personal information, including your name, age, gender, details of your driving history, how you plan to use the vehicle, and more.

A poor driving record will make it tougher to get auto insurance in Ottawa (and anywhere else in Canada). Insurance companies know that a high-risk driver is likely to file claims, and this results in increased premiums.

Under some circumstances, it’s possible that high-risk drivers may be denied auto insurance coverage in Ottawa. If you’re a high-risk driver, be upfront about your driving record and take the time to research which insurance provider will be the best fit for your particular circumstances.

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