How to Save on Car Insurance
Car insurance rates vary from province-to-province, and even city-to-city within each province. There are some costs you can’t control, such as the base rates determined by the public insurance systems in BC, Manitoba and Saskatchewan. You also can’t change the fact that the size of the city you live in will affect a number of the costs that go into your total premium. You can, however, still find a number of ways to save money on your auto insurance rates. Here are some ideas:
- Take a driver training course that’s recognized by your insurance company. Passing a driver training course won’t affect your premiums in all provinces, but it’s something that is recognized in some and can result in a discount being taken off your premium. This tip is especially helpful for teens and young drivers.
- Build a good driving record free of accidents and convictions. Of course, “accidents” can be exactly that, but you should always drive carefully and obey the rules of the road. That includes wearing your seat belt, not driving impaired by drugs or alcohol, not speeding and not using your cell phone. The longer you keep your driving record clean, the better. For example, in BC, you can get a discount for every year you are claims-free, up to a maximum of 43% off.
- Figure out how much coverage you need – and don’t pay for anything you don’t. While it makes sense for someone with a newer car to have collision and/or comprehensive insurance, it may not make sense for you if your car isn’t worth very much. Make sure collision insurance isn’t a condition of your loan or lease before giving up this coverage, and always carry adequate third-party liability coverage.
- Think about insurance costs before you buy a vehicle. If you don’t want to pay a lot for car insurance, a good rule of thumb is to not buy anything brand new and never own a sports/luxury vehicle. Some cars also have higher theft rates than others, which is one factor that is used to calculate your car insurance rates. Before you buy a vehicle, test out the Insurance Bureau of Canada’s “How Cars Measure Up” tool, which compares vehicles in terms of their relative insurance costs and their safety features.
- Compare apples to apples. If you’re comparing car insurance rates from multiple insurance companies, make sure you are being quoted for the same coverage (e.g. $2 million third-party liability) across the board. Then compare what types of losses are covered by each policy, how the claims process works, etc. Sometimes, the best rate doesn’t equal the best product.
- Increase your deductible. The deductible is the amount you have to pay yourself when you make a claim. For example, if your car is damaged and it’s going to cost $2,000 to fix, and your deductible is $500, your insurance would pay $1,500. If you increase your deductible, you’re telling the insurance company that you’re willing to pay more later (if you need to), which typically results in them giving you a discount now. Deductibles often range from $300 to $1,000. The higher your deductible is, the lower your car insurance premium should be.
- Bundle up. Many insurers offer discounts for insuring more than one vehicle or having other types of insurance (e.g. car + home) with the same company.
- Ask about discounts. Ask your insurance company what additional discounts they offer. You might be able to save money by installing an alarm, using winter tires, or installing a telematics device which tracks your driving habits.
- Don’t miss a payment. This may seem like the most common piece of financial advice out there, but it’s especially true for car insurance. If your insurance company doesn’t receive a payment, it could result in the automatic cancellation of your car insurance policy – and you could be on the hook for a lot of money if get into an accident before you realize it. Another reason you don’t want to miss a payment is because it can result in you being deemed a “higher risk” to your car insurance company, which could result in higher premiums when you renew.
Ratehub.ca is not affiliated or otherwise associated with Hub International Canada.