What to Consider When Buying a Car

When buying a car, it’s easy for you to be drawn to a model’s exciting colour, fuel efficiency and even the smaller details like seat fabric. But while a vehicle’s aesthetic is a big factor in your decision, you may be surprised by some additional considerations.

Auto insurance and the factors that impact your premiums should also be on your radar.

Auto insurance is an agreement between you and an insurance company that protects you against financial loss in the event of an accident or theft, with your payments going into a pool made up of payments from other drivers.

In Alberta, every driver is required to purchase basic automobile insurance, a costly investment for new drivers. When it comes to your insurance premiums, many things are taken into account, including your vehicle’s make, model, year and safety features, plus your driving record and where you live, to name a few.

Feeling overwhelmed? Don’t worry! A little research can go a long way in helping new drivers manage their auto-related costs.


Here are a few basics to consider when finding your ideal vehicle:

  • Learn about the vehicle’s safety features
  • Know the make and model of the vehicle or the Vehicle’s Identification Number (VIN) when speaking to an insurance provider
  • Check to see whether it has a high rate of theft
  • Learn about the vehicle’s collision history
  • Understand what is important to insurers


The Canadian Loss Experience Automobile Rating (CLEAR) uses insurance claims data to predict how likely a certain vehicle will be involved in a future claim. Insurance providers refer to CLEAR when determining your auto insurance premium, along with the following vehicle safety features that affect insurance rates:

  • Car alarms
  • Dual and side airbags
  • Side-impact door reinforcements
  • Anti-theft devices
  • Anti-lock brakes


If you’re buying a used car, it’s especially worth checking out IBC’s free Verify VIN service to see whether a car was affected by a natural disaster. The database reports affected VINs as damaged by floods and fires and whether the vehicle is irreparable or salvaged.


According to the Insurance Bureau of Canada, insurers spend approximately $542 million replacing or fixing stolen cars every year. For this reason, auto-theft plays a huge role in determining insurance premiums. Check out the Insurance Bureau of Canada’s (IBC) list of the top 10 stolen vehicles to learn more, then speak to your insurance provider about coverage in the event your car is stolen.


You might have a pristine driving record, but just because you’ve never been involved in a collision, doesn’t mean the car you’re interested in buying hasn’t. When a vehicle has been involved in a collision, regardless of the driver, the vehicle’s integrity can be compromised. If you’re buying a used car, ask the seller these key questions:

  • Have you ever been involved in a collision while operating this vehicle?
  • Are you willing to share your vehicle’s maintenance records?


Each person’s auto insurance needs will be a little different, but the insurance companies will look at the following when they’re deciding on your plan:

  • Your driving record - History is hard to erase, including your history of driving violations and tickets
  • Where you live - Cities mean a greater potential for collisions and therefore higher premiums
  • Your age and gender - Young and male drivers tend to have higher insurance premiums
  • Car use and how often you use it - The more driving you do, the higher the risk of a collision
  • Your level of driver's license - This tells insurers your level of driving experience

If you want to read more about how car insurance premiums get calculated, read this. If you’re a younger, first-time car buyer, the Insurance Bureau of Canada tells you more about how to keep costs low no matter the insurance provider.

For more helpful tips and tricks, visit the Alberta Automobile Insurance Rate Board. Still curious? Make sure to learn more about how Carrot can help you score the best insurance rates, making driving a safe and rewarding experience for every new driver.


Carrot is as easy to use as 123:

  1. Enroll with InsureMy (plus get a 10% discount)
  2. Connect your vehicle to the Drive With Carrot App
    a. (Download it on iTunes or Google )
  3. Buckle up and start getting cash rewards for driving smart!

Want to Get Started? Click ahead!

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