If you are new to Alberta and you were driving in your home province, state or country – learn how to get the lowest rate available.

Driving History and Insurance History

In Alberta, insurance companies set your rate based on a few things:

  • When you were first licensed
  • Convictions in the last 3 years
  • Suspensions in the last 6 years
  • Claims in the last 8-10 years

When you are first licensed and insured in Alberta, we get this information from 2 places:

  1. Your driver’s abstract, also referred to as a Motor Vehicle Report (MVR)
  2. Your insurance history, which is kept by AutoplusYou can check out Autoplus here

Why Does This Matter?

Maybe you’ve been driving for years before moving to Alberta with a clean record – no claims or speeding tickets. You’re a good driver: so why is the insurance company quoting you such a high premium?

They just can’t take your word for it – they need some documentation.  They need proof.

If you have 9 years of clean driving, you’ll pay a much lower rate than if you have 2 years. Calling the “cheapest” company won’t help if they don’t give you any credit for those 9 years.  The difference between 9 years and 2 years can be over $1,000 a year!

Getting a copy of your driver’s abstract and claims experience letter might seem like a hassle, but it could save you a bundle.

Your Driver’s Abstract and Claims Experience Letter

Insurance companies need 2 things from you:

  1. Your driver’s abstract, also referred to as a Motor Vehicle Report (MVR). It’s issued by the province, state or licensing authority.  It lists when you were first licensed and if you’ve had any convictions or suspensions.  Most licensing authorities have a website and the order form.  Below you’ll see the links to some of them.  You’ll need to know your driver’s license number and they’ll ask you some personal information.  Expect to pay about $15 to get a copy.
  2. A claims experience letter from the insurance company.  It needs to be on company letterhead and will show when you were added and removed from the policy.  It should list all claims and whether you were at-fault or not at-fault.

To get a copy of your claims experience letter, the insurance company needs your policy number.  Keep that number!  You should always keep a copy of old insurance policies with the number.  They won’t charge you a fee for this report.

If you’ve had insurance from a few companies, you’ll need letters from all of them.  We need to figure out if you’ve had continuous insurance history – or if you’ve had a gap.

Not All Insurance Companies are the Same

  1. All companies will take history from the Canadian provinces
  2. Most will take history from the United States
  3. A few will take history from all other countries

If you’re moving to Alberta from outside Canada or the US, get a quote from a company that recognizes your history.  All of the companies we deal with will count it!

Moving from Ontario or the Maritimes

If you’re moving to Alberta from these provinces, you’re in luck – we do things the same way.  Keep your driver’s license number.  We’ll need it to pull your Autoplus report.  For your driver’s abstract, here are the links:

You might have to pay $15 or so – but you’ll only need to do this once.  The abstract will show convictions in the last 3 years and any suspensions.

Moving from British Columbia, Saskatchewan or Manitoba

These 3 provinces manage your license and your insurance.  When you request a copy of your abstract, you’ll also get claims experience information on that report.

Moving from Quebec

Although Quebec works the same way as Alberta, we can’t access Quebec Autoplus reports.  You’ll need to request your abstract from SAAQ and your claims experience letter from your insurance company.

Moving from the United States

If you’re moving to Alberta from the US, it works basically the same.  You’ll request your abstract your state DMV (Department of Motor Vehicles) or the DPS (Department of Public Safety).  You’ll also need a claims experience letter from your insurance company.  Here are a few links:

If you google your state with ‘drivers abstract’, you should be able to find out where to request the report.

For your claims experience letter, you’ll need to know what insurance company (or companies) you had and your policy number.  Make sure to keep that information!

Moving from All Other Countries

Before you get to Canada, get a copy of your driver’s abstract from your local licensing authority.  It will need to be in English, or you can have it translated into English.

You’ll also need a claims experience letter from the insurance company.  Don’t forget – it needs to be on company letterhead!

Here are a few countries that have driver abstracts:

How Far Back Do You Need to Go?

Some insurance companies look at the past 6, 8 or even 9 years.  You don’t need history from 1985, but back to 2007 is enough to get the best rate possible.

In Alberta, we also use something called the grid.   We use your abstract and claims experience to figure out your grid rating and the best is -15. This can be very important if you have an accident later on and it was your fault.

A little work can save you a lot of money

In my experience as an insurance broker, I get calls from people who have been driving for years in another province or country, but they are paying way too much.  This wasn’t explained to them, or they didn’t know that it could make such a big difference.

It is a bit of work, but to save $1,000 a year on your insurance for the next 6 years really adds up!