Auto insurance premiums have always been a concern for Ontarians, and an ever-growing challenge for insurance companies to keep premiums low. The premium you pay for auto insurance varies based on several factors apart from the insurance company you select, the insurer’s claims experience for your risk characteristics, and the competition it faces.
While there are minimum standard coverages in Ontario, there are still many options. The only way to ensure you get the best auto premium is to make sure that you obtain quotes from different companies and compare the coverage for similar policies. Weigh the cost associated with each coverage. Your goal should be to buy the right amount of coverage that adequately protects you at a price you can afford.
Choose the coverage you need – don’t pay for coverage you don’t need
While it is a no brainer to have comprehensive coverage for a new or a vehicle that has substantial market value, it may not be cost effective to have optional collision or comprehensive damage coverage for a vehicle that is worth less than $3500.Any claim you make on such a vehicle would not substantially exceed your deductibles or the annual premium.
Consider a higher deductible
Deductible is the portion of loss that you are required to pay. Increasing the deductible would imply that you will contribute more towards the loss in the event of an accident, but choosing a higher deductible can result in a lower insurance premium.
Build a good driving record – claims and conviction free
Claims and convictions do affect your insurance premium, so building a good driving history – meaning driving carefully and obeying the rules of the road– will help you get better insurance rates. Some convictions have higher severity (e.g. using a cellphone, distracted driving, driving under influence) and have a huge impact on your insurance premium.
Usage Based Insurance (UBI) - or how the vehicle is used
Most companies now offer usage-based insurance. By enrolling into the UBI program, you would download an App that tracks; (1) how quickly you accelerate (2) how harsh you break and (3) time of driving your vehicle. Monitoring this data could help you become a better / diligent driver and the insurer would offer additional discounts based on your driving habits. Merely enrolling into the program can save you 10% - 15% on the annual premium.
Make sure you pay premiums on time
If your policy is cancelled for non-payment more than twice, you may have higher premium implications. Non-payment policy cancellation coupled with any other convictions could push you further into non-standard or high-risk insurance premium markets.
Choose your vehicle wisely
You may also save on insurance premium based on the type of vehicle. Some vehicle have high theft ratios and hence result in higher premiums whereas improved safety features in some vehicles can help in keeping premium low.
Keep your policy updated for drivers and usage
Always consult your broker and ensure that your policy is updated for its usage and different drivers in the household as this also has an impact on the premium you pay.
There are multiple discounts that could be applied depending on your own situation. You must check with your broker to take advantage of discounts such as:
Multi-Policy Discount: You could be entitled a discount up to10% -15% on both your home and auto policies when you bundle the two. Most companies prefer this and reward you for combining you auto & home insurance policies.
Multi-Vehicle Discount: If you have more than one vehicle in the household, having all vehicles on the same policy would help you save even more with a multi-vehicle discount which could again vary between 5 – 15 percent.
Driver Training Discount: Most companies would offer reduced premiums or a discount for new drivers who completed a defensive driving course - also known as Driver Training Certificate (DTC). This could be a great saving tool for new or young drivers who are continuing to develop better driving skills.
Mature Driver Discount: Insurance companies may reward mature drivers, age 50 or older, with good driving records in the form of a mature driver discount.
Renewal Discount: Insurance companies may also have loyalty programs in the form of renewal discounts. You may receive lower premiums when you renew with the same insurance company and have been free of at fault accidents for a certain number of years.
Retiree Discount: If you are retired and meet the insurance company’s criteria, you may be eligible for a retiree discount on your premium which can range from 5 – 15 percent.
Winter Tire Discount: All insurance companies offer a discount during Nov-Mar for installing winter tires on your vehicle. Ask your broker or insurance company on how to qualify for this discount.
Private Parking Discount: Some companies offer additional discounts when you park your vehicle in your private garage or on your private driveway. Check with your broker to see if your insurance company has a provision for this discount.
As a new or young driver, you are generally subjected to a higher premium rating by insurance companies. The following tips may help you get a better rate:
As a young driver, building a good driving record free of at fault accidents and convictions is the best way to ensure you get a better insurance premium.
To know more or discuss your situation, feel free to contact our Registered Insurance Broker.