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57% Of Canadians May Have Missed Out on Car Insurance Discounts (Survey)

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The flurry of activity trying to lock down a world facing a global pandemic was interrupted by Netflix asking us if we were still watching. According to a recent Ratehub.ca survey, many of us were, with over 57% of Canadians not reaching out to their provider to inquire about car insurance discounts or changes to their policies due to less driving. 

Understandably, we were too busy staying safe, adapting to a masked-up world, and face timing our moms. 

But it means many Canadians may have missed out on significant savings. Aviva, for instance, gave 15% off base premiums, but only if you reached out to them. The Personal Insurance Group allowed you to apply for a discount and issued a refund if you drove less. You could save 15% or up to 80% for putting your car insurance on hold if you had called Echelon insurance. 

Read: How car insurance companies responded to COVID-19

But, many other insurers offered automatic pandemic-related car insurance discounts. They were for 30-90 days assuming people would drive less until this crisis blew over. However, in case you’re checking your calendar, it’s been over 450 days since the pandemic began. 

Why you need to connect with your insurance company

The Ratehub.ca survey, which polled over 1,300 Canadian drivers, found of the 38% of Canadians who did reach out to their car insurance company:

  • 24% inquired about lowering their rate due to less driving. 
  • 20% asked about pandemic-related car insurance discounts or “rate relief” measures.  
  • 14% wanted to change their coverage due to less driving.
  • 3% asked about cancelling their car insurance altogether.  

Any way you look at that 38%, they saved money. Some Canadians, however, especially those in public car insurance provinces of Manitoba, Saskatchewan, and BC, maybe didn’t reach out to their providers because many were granted automatic discounts, with Saskatchewan Government Insurance (SGI) awarding their members an eventual $285 per vehicle

Specifically, Manitoba and Saskatchewan residents made up the highest number of those who didn’t reach out to their insurer (78%), followed by British Columbia (75%), Atlantic Canada (62%), Alberta (61%), Quebec (58%), and Ontario (45%)

Automatic discounts are one thing, but a change to your driving behaviour could yield more savings.  You can put your car insurance on hold or reduce coverage to only comprehensive (parked car insurance), cancel car insurance on a car and sell it (if there’s no more commute), or even reducing the kilometres you drive in a given year. 

A quick study using Ratehub’s car insurance calculator revealed savings of more than $200 per year by reducing your kilometres. If you’re not commuting to school or work anymore, there are  significant car insurance savings. 

Which provinces asked about car insurance discounts?

Ontarians led the pleas for changes or discounts, with 50% asking for relief on their Ontario car insurance. Likely because, well, Ontarians pay the most for private car insurance in Canada.

Quebec operates on more of a hybrid system of public and private and, as a result, pays the least for car insurance. Still, 40% of residents reached out to ask for discounts.  Alberta came in at  37% and Atlantic Canada finished with 32% seeking relief measures.  A mere 19%  of residents in British Columbia, Manitoba, Saskatchewan asked for discounts.

Why you need to reach out to our insurance company now

Now that we’re getting back to normal, vaccinations are rolling out, and case counts dropping, if you haven’t already, it’s time to connect with your insurance provider. A change in your driving habits, specifically in kilometres driven, will affect your car insurance rate. But, whether it goes up or down, you don’t want to be left under or overinsured, whether it’s for car insurance savings or for when you need insurance most. 

For instance, if you put your car insurance on hold before you start driving again, you need to reinstate your car insurance. Driving without insurance isn’t worth the risk. If you reduced your kilometres due to less driving, your provider could deny a claim for misrepresentation if you’ve gone over your updated limit. 

Ways to get discounts on car insurance

If you didn’t get an automatic car insurance discount from your provider, and you didn’t call to request one, there are still ways to save right now. 

Immediate car insurance discounts

  • Call your provider and ask about a discount for driving less, especially if you’re still working from home and not using the car as much. 
  • Ask your provider about eligible discounts for union membership or alumni discounts. 
  • Increase your deductible (the portion of any claim you must pay before the rest is paid out)
  • Review your coverage – Do you still need collision coverage? If your car’s value is less than the deductible you’d pay, consider dropping it. 
  • Take advantage of multi-car discounts. If you have more than one vehicle, putting them together on one policy can lead to savings. 
  • Bundle with your home insurance. It can save you up to 25% on your total insurance premium. 
  • If you can afford it, pay annually. 
  • Switch to usage-based insurance

Auto insurance discounts over time

  • Compare car insurance online from multiple providers to see if you could get a better rate. Don’t let it auto-renew.
  • If you’re driving less (9,000km or less), consider switching to pay as you go insurance
  • When shopping for a new car, don’t just look at fuel efficiency, insurance costs are often more than gas. 
  • Improve your credit rating, once it’s better, call for a discount
  • Take a driving course from an accredited institution and watch your rates drop
  • Get a clean driving record. It usually takes about 3 years to remove any convictions from your record. Once it’s clean, shop for new car insurance quotes. 

The bottom line

Even if you missed out on car insurance discounts, you can still call your provider to ask. If you feel you’re still paying too much, compare car insurance with Ratehub.ca, even if it’s just to compare the market and see if you could get a better rate elsewhere. Don’t let your insurance auto-renew without first comparing what’s out there. 

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About the survey:

An online survey of 1,529 Canadians (n=1,312 have auto insurance) was completed between May 7-9, 2021, using Leger’s online panel. No margin of error can be associated with a non-probability sample (i.e. a web panel in this case). For comparative purposes, though, a probability sample of 1,529 respondents would have a margin of error of +/- 2.5%, 19 times out of 20.

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