Complete Car-Buying Guide: Car Insurance, Registration & More

By Mark Richardson

Auto insurance is compulsory in Alberta, but there are many different plans. AMA offers complete insurance services, and recommends bundling your home and auto insurance for bigger savings. It’s easy to get an insurance quote online.

“Buy the best you can afford,” says Karen McDougall of AMA Insurance. “You’re buying the promise of somebody taking care of you in the event of an accident.” Speak to an AMA Insurance advisor to make sure you’re covered and brush up on some insurance lingo:

Third-party liability: Mandatory in Alberta, it covers the cost if you hurt someone else. AMA recommends at least $1 million in coverage, preferably $2 million

Accident benefits: Also mandatory, it covers medical and rehabilitation costs if you or your passengers are killed or injured in a collision

Collision: Covers the costs of repairing your vehicle after a collision or rollover

Comprehensive: Covers damage to your vehicle after most things not covered by Collision, like hitting an animal, fire, theft or vandalism

Selecting the style of vehicle, trim package and more that’s right for you

Loss of use: Covers the cost of renting a car, or using taxis and buses, while your damaged car is being repaired

Limited waiver of depreciation: Provides the full value—not the depreciated value—of a new replacement vehicle if your new car is written off, within a specified time

Glass: Covers the cost of repairing a chip or if you require a complete windshield replacement

Limited glass: Removes coverage for repairing a windshield from your Comprehensive policy, in order to lower the premium

Car Buying Guide Driver's Licence
photo: Antonio_Diaz/iStock

Before driving off the lot in your new ride, be sure you’ve got everything you legally need to get behind the wheel. (If you buy from a private seller, it’s your responsibility to be sure the paperwork is complete.) Follow this list of essentials before turning the key.

Insurance: The biggest expense after the vehicle itself, and the most variable. It’s compulsory in Canada to have auto insurance to drive on a public road. Find out more about coverage options through AMA Insurance.

Licence plate: It stays with you, not with the vehicle. If you’re trading in a vehicle, swap the plate over. If you’re buying for the first time, or buying an additional vehicle, you need a new plate. Visit an AMA centre to buy one along with your registration. Your plate must be linked to a vehicle when first purchasing, so you’ll need to provide the Vehicle Identification Number of your new car.

What to know if you’re thinking about buying a used car

Registration: Every vehicle must be provincially registered annually in order to drive legally on the road. A sticker on your licence plate proves it. Sign up for Vehicle Registration Auto-Renew to automatically renew your registration every year.

Driver’s licence: It must be valid and represent the province in which you currently live. If you’ve moved from another province, you have 90 days to transfer your licence. For a Class-5 licence, your local AMA centre can do this for you.