Canada’s capital city is home to nearly 900,000 people according to 2011 Household Survey data, and that number climbs to over 1.2 million when the metropolitan area is included. The beautiful and historic Ottawa area has been growing at a pace faster than the average across Canada. As one of Canada’s largest metro areas, Ottawa is a busy city with a lot of drivers on the road.
Sharing a border with Quebec and the city of Gatineau, Ottawa’s average car insurance rates may not be as low as those in Quebec, which consistently come in among the lowest in Canada, but they are lower than in many other areas of Ontario. Lower crime rates and less insurance fraud may be among the reasons cheap car insurance in Ottawa is easier to find than in Toronto, where rates are among the nation’s highest.
Driving Ottawa’s Roads
Just over 70% of commuters in the Ottawa-Gatineau area commute to work in a passenger vehicle, and over 63% of those commuters report that they are the driver, which means the majority of people in Ottawa drive themselves to work.
With an average of 26.3 minutes spent on that commute, Ottawa comes in among the longer commuting times across Canada, although drivers spend less time commuting than in cities like Toronto and Oshawa, where commutes are over 30 minutes.
Commuters head from Gatineau into Ottawa and vice versa, as well as coming into the city from surrounding cities and towns, creating a lot of cross traffic. This contributes to the length of the daily commute for many drivers.
Crime in Ottawa
Ottawa is generally considered to be one of the safest cities in Canada, and lower crime rates compared to other major metro areas. Crime has been on the decline in Ottawa, a pattern that has generally been true across Canada since the 90s, making it an even safer place to live and work.
Like all cities, crime patterns vary by neighbourhood, with some areas seeing more violent crimes, but overall property crimes have been decreasing. As of 2013, car theft was generally on the decline in the city, although the ward of Somerset saw higher than normal theft rates.
Car insurance rates by zip code are often impacted by car theft numbers, so some of the cheapest car insurance in Ottawa, all other things being equal, will be found in low car-theft neighbourhoods.
Car Insurance Laws and Ottawa Drivers
Because Ottawa borders the Quebec city of Gatineau, drivers on the roads in the cities may be subject to different car insurance laws. Car insurance laws of the province in which the driver resides will apply, even if that driver commutes across the border and spends most of their days in a different province.
In Ontario, drivers are required by law to carry $200,000 in third-party liability as well as accident benefits coverage. Quebec law, on the other hand, requires only $50,000 in liability. Commuters who live in Gatineau are subject to the Quebec laws, even if they work in Ottawa. As a result, co-workers may have very different car insurance rates simply because they live on different sides of the water.
Because Ontario has faced a big problem with car insurance fraud, the province recently passed legislation aimed at the insurance industry and the reduction of fraud. Although fraud isn’t nearly the problem in Ottawa that it has been in Toronto, the city has still felt the effects of higher insurance rates across the province.
Getting Cheap Car Insurance in Ottawa
Often the biggest reason Ottawa drivers overpay for car insurance is that they haven’t taken the time to shop around. Rates in the city can vary greatly, even by as much as several thousand dollars a year, even for drivers who have clean records and a low risk level.
Ottawa residents have access to a privatized car insurance program for all of their coverage needs, while Gatineau residents are subject to the Quebec system, which is partially public and partially privatized.
Shopping around for car insurance in Ottawa can therefore make an enormous difference in rates, and that is especially true when drivers compare rates on cars prior to purchasing. Some cars, especially those that fall high on the list of the most commonly stolen, can cost a lot more to insure.
Ontario’s most stolen cars include the Acura RSX and the BMW X6, both luxury SUVs. Across Canada, the Ford F350, Honda Civic, and Cadillac Escalade top the list. Ottawa has had problems with the theft of luxury cars in recent years, which are already more expensive to insure due to their value. As a result, buying a luxury car can cost you a lot more in insurance than a more modest and less often stolen choice.
Insurance Brokers in Ottawa
Rhodes & Williams Insurance Brokers
1050 Morrison Dr.
2435 Holly Ln #200
Oegema Nicholson & Associates
1451 Woodroffe Ave
Carlton Insurance Brokers
461 Churchill Av N
Gifford Associates Insurance Brokers
346 Moodie Dr.
Trigon Insurance Brokers
2412 Kaladar Avenue
266 Beechwood Ave. Suite 202
Mantha Insurance Brokers Ltd.
295 Montreal Road
Halpenny Insurance Brokers, Ltd.
1550 Laperriere Ave.
2712 St. Joseph Blvd.