See car insurance rates in Ottawa, Ontario.

Part of a series on car insurance rates in Ontario.

Fast facts about auto insurance in Ottawa

Average annual car insurance rate

Regular drivers in the city

Collisions per year (approximately)


Collision rate for the city

Average age

Average household income


Unemployment rate


Understanding car insurance in Ottawa, Ontario

Canada’s capitol is a reasonably large and affluent city, with nearly a million people living within its limits. Commuters don’t necessarily need to use the 417 (Queensway), even though it runs right through the city’s core and across the Rideau River, which explains why the city enjoys reasonable car insurance premiums despite the moderately high collision rate.

Ottawa enjoys the perception as a very safe city, and overall, it is. Having said that, the area’s crime rate has risen overall between 2016 and 2018, which could explain why the city’s rates sit just on the higher end of the province’s averages.

Ottawa also has a reasonably efficient public transit system (OC Transpo) that runs frequently with busses and a light rail transit system (LRT) in and around the core routes. That means that it may be cheaper to use public transit in Ottawa’s core, but there’s a good chance you’ll need a car if you’re living outside of it.

Despite OC Transpo’s high rate of collisions, public transit remains one of the safest means to travel around the city on a regular basis. Since the public transit lines run along routes toward downtown, you can reduce your car insurance rates by commuting via public transit most of the time.

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Want even cheaper insurance? Save up to 50% on home and up to 18% on car insurance when you bundle them.

Busting myths about driving and insurance in Ottawa

Myth: Ottawa is safer than most cities.

This is actually true, at least as far as the 2016 census can tell us. In 2016 Ottawa had a crime severity index of 51.3, whereas Gatineau (right across the river) scored 56.7, and Montreal scored 57.8. Halifax scored 61, Hamilton scored 53.6, and London scored 68.4. 

Myth: Public transit runs better than Ontario’s other cities.

Few opinions stand in the middle of this debate. While routes traveling downtown have a reputation for reliability, you’ll hear more than one complaint about all other bus routes around the city. If you can’t take a direct route downtown, then  it might be worth exploring a personal vehicle.

Myth: Public transit is unsafe in Ottawa.

This is false, but with a caveat. While public transit is still an incredibly safe way to get around town (either on the bus or the LRT), OC Transpo has seen more collision fatalities in the last decade than eight other Canadian metro areas combined. Thankfully, the collision numbers are only in the single digits.

Myth: Ottawa has higher rates because it’s a bigger city with more drivers.

False. In fact, our data shows that Ottawa’s average annual car insurance rate is $570 lower than that of London (Ontario), which has roughly one-third of the population. Ottawa’s low crime rate probably contributes to the city’s affordable rates in addition to familiarity with regular winter driving.

How Ottawa’s rates compare to other cities in Ontario

  • North York: $4,261
  • Etobicoke: $4,199
  • Brampton: $4,071
  • Scarborough: $3,825
  • East York: $3,605
  • Woodbridge: $3,603
  • Richmond Hill: $3,579
  • Mississauga: $3,473
  • Markham: $3,389
  • Niagara Falls: $3,321
  • Bowmanville: $3,308
  • Peterborough: $3,259
  • Pickering: $ 3,245
  • Newmarket: $ 3,216
  • Hamilton: $3,201
  • Brantford: $ 3,158
  • Maple: $3,150
  • Whitby: $3,087
  • Ajax: $3,053
  • York: $2,999
  • Toronto: $2,983
  • Barrie: $2,924
  • Thornhill: $2,871
  • Waterloo: $2,867
  • Caledon: $2,780
  • London: $2,765
  • Fort Erie: $2,720
  • Oakville: $2,720
  • Sault Ste Marie: $ 2,713
  • Kitchener: $2,705
  • Milton: $2,680
  • St Catharines: $ 2,550
  • Windsor: $2,536
  • Woodstock: $2,513
  • Innisfil: $2,505
  • Burlington: $2,476
  • Kingston: $ 2,360
  • Cambridge: $2,297
  • Oshawa: $2,295
  • Guelph: $2,268
  • Gloucester: $2,256
  • Stoney Creek: $2,222
  • Nepean: $2,196
  • Ottawa: $2,195
  • Sudbury: $2,005
  • Kanata: $2,002
  • Thunder Bay: $1,973
  • Wasaga Beach: $1,958

Quick tips on insurance and driving in Ottawa

Don’t live where the crime severity index is high.

While Ottawa is generally a safe city with an overall crime severity index of 51.3 (as of the 2016 census), certain wards do have significantly higher crime rates per capita than others. Avoid these ones to reduce your overall car insurance rates, if possible:

  • Downtown (Somerset): 11,240 crimes per 100,000 people
  • Rideau-Vanier: 9,790 crimes per 100,000 people

Most other wards have no more than 4,000 crimes per 100,00 people.

Ottawa is pretty far north. Winter driving skills will save you from making claims.

 The Ottawa Police Force have a helpful guide on how to prepare for winter driving around the capitol:

  • Top up windshield fluid frequently. Visibility is safety.
  • Invest in winter tires. Seriously. They come with insurance discounts.
  • Clear all snow, ice, and slush from your vehicle—even the roof—or else it could blind other drivers.
  • Test your vehicle’s brakes in winter conditions, even just for 5 minutes in an empty parking lot.

Practice escaping a skid (safely).

Far more accidents happen in winter, and driving over ice is one of the most dangerous parts of the season. That’s why it pays to learn how to regain control of your car if it loses enough traction to start skidding on the road.

  • Take your feet off the accelerator or brake.
  • Look and gently steer in the direction you want to move.
  • If skidding straight, shift to Neutral Gear until you regain traction, then shift back and drive slowly.

Sources about Ottawa:

  • Stats Canada, 2016 Census Profile, Ottawa
  • CBC, “Ottawa’s violent crime rate jumped in 2017”
  • Ottawa Police, 2018 Annual Report, Crime Statistics
  • Ministry of Transportation, 2016 Road Safety Report
  • Crime Severity Index, 2016 Census
  • David and Marie Haynes, “Crime Levels in Ottawa’s Neigbourhoods”
  • Ottawa Citizen, “OC Transpo has had more collision fatalities in 10 years than eight major Canadian transit systems combined”

Source for average insurance rates by city:

  • Survey of 2,800 auto insurance policy holders in Ontario

Google Rating: 4.8

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