A view of Saint John, New Brunswick's cityline.

When your New Brunswick car insurance renews this year or next, be prepared for an increase. New Brunswick's consumer advocate for insurance has warned that some New Brunswick drivers could see double-digit increases in their premiums when they come up for renewal.

In January, some car insurance customers began receiving notices of renewal with premium hikes of up to 25 percent. Companies began requesting rate increases from New Brunswick's provincial insurance board in 2018.

Why are car insurance premiums going up in New Brunswick?

Auto accident claims in New Brunswick have been on the rise for several years. Canada's General Insurance Statistical Agency (GISA) reported that auto accident claims totalled $376.9 million in 2017. The 2017 accident claims were $144 million, or 62 percent higher, than the total claims paid out in 2012.

Insurance companies had not significantly raised New Brunswick auto insurance premiums between 2012 and 2017. Many of the increased accident claims are a result of more generous policies regarding payment of "minor injury" insurance claims and harsh winter weather.

Where do New Brunswick auto insurance premiums fit among Canadian provinces?

Although upcoming rate hikes in the province could give you sticker shock when you see your renewal offer, New Brunswick has historically had lower car insurance premiums than several other provinces. New Brunswick's average car insurance rates in 2016 were 30 percent lower than Alberta and about 40 percent lower than Ontario.

New Brunswick hasn't seen large auto insurance premium hikes since 2002 and 2003 when major increases led to public criticism for the provincial government. The outcry led to New Brunswick's legislature mandating basic, no-fault auto insurance policies for hard-to-insure New Brunswickers. The reforms adopted by the legislature also included a mandate that every insurance company wanting to sell auto insurance in New Brunswick must submit premium rates and increases for approval by the New Brunswick Insurance Board (NBIB).

What should I do if I get a big increase in my New Brunswick auto insurance premium?

New Brunswick's consumer advocate for insurance has advised drivers in the province to shop around and compare auto insurance. The cycle of insurance increases is expected to last about three years as companies submit applications for rate increases based on the higher level of auto accident claims seen in 2017.

Do I have opportunities for lower car insurance premiums in New Brunswick?

You have several opportunities for discounts as a New Brunswick driver. If you're new to driving, you may be eligible for a First Chance discount. If you insure more than one car and driver in your household, you may receive a break on your premiums. Which insurance territory you live in within the province may also influence your car insurance rates, along with your driving and payment history.

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