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All You Need to Know about Auto Insurance in Toronto, Ontario, Canada

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Does anyone really like paying for car insurance? Since there’s no getting around it if you want to legally operate a vehicle in Canada, we’ve prepared a primer on how to bring those rates down as much as possible. 

1. Squeaky clean driving record

Drive defensively at all times and make sure your driving history is accident-free. Convictions do stay on your driving record for years. It’s the first thing insurance companies look at when they begin to calculate your rate, so keep that in mind when you feel tempted to take chances on the road. And mind your speed—lost points on your license can haunt your wallet where insurance is concerned.

2. Do your research

There’s no set rate for car insurance. Companies assess risk on an independent basis, so rates can vary pretty widely. Therefore, it really pays to do your homework and shop around.

Risk factors under consideration when an insurance provider looks at your application: where you live, the type of car you drive, how long you’ve been a licensed driver and yes, as we mentioned, your driving record. But because every insurance company has had different claims and loss experiences built up, their rates can be quite different for the type of car and driver for the exact same level of coverage.

3. Brokers

You might think that brokers have access to the entire insurance market. But brokers are actually limited to providing quotes from a limited number of insurance companies, usually about four or five in their own roster. An insurance agent definitely can’t shop the wider market at all and so is only ever able to give you the rate available from the insurance company he or she works for.

The insurance game is huge. Ontario has more than 30 car insurance providers. To be sure that you’re getting the best rate, gather competitive quotes from as wide a sampling as possible. There are a number of online sources for this type of information. It also doesn’t hurt to poll friends, family and co-workers about their providers, but keep in mind that the aforementioned risk profile will still impact your own rate at the end of the day.

4. Ramp up your deductible

A deductible refers to the amount paid by you before your insurance company will agree to cover any expenses related to a claim. For the most part, higher deductibles result in lower premiums. Increasing your deductible is one way to lower your rate. Just remember: if something happens to your car and you do need to make a claim, you’ll be paying higher out-of-pocket costs. Take your financial situation into account as realistically as possible when considering this move.

5. Examine your coverage

How much is your vehicle worth?  You might want to consult with your broker or agent about the type of coverage you actually require. If, for example, you drive an older model car, you may want to think about dropping collision and comprehensive coverage, which typically boosts a significant portion of your premium.

6. What are you driving?

The type of car you drive is a key factor when it comes to setting your insurance rate. New cars usually cost more to insure than older cars, and sports cars definitely cost more than family sedans. Your insurance company will look at stats on theft, safety rankings, and the claims history for each category when setting rates.

The Insurance Bureau of Canada tracks the difference in the frequency of theft and claims for various cars and can help you to better understand how your choice of wheels can impact the amount you pay for car insurance.

7. There might be discounts

By all means, inquire about discounts. At worst, the insurance company will tell you they don’t offer any. But many companies will reward you for bringing all of your insurance needs to one provider, for maintaining a pristine driving record and, in some instances, for installing anti-theft devices.

8. Accident forgiveness

Accident forgiveness is exactly what it sounds like: coverage that protects your driving record and insurance rate increases in the event of an “at-fault” accident. It can save you hundreds of dollars on your next renewal if you find a company with a good rate for this option.

It might be worth considering the additional cost of accident forgiveness. It helps keep your driving record clean, and some companies may even provide it free of charge with your insurance package.

9. Loyalty can cost you

Staying with the same insurance company for a long time can lead to a discount, and there are certain benefits to not moving your insurance around too often. But don’t get lulled into a false sense of security—another company might just be able to offer you an even better rate. In certain instances, the money saved by switching providers can outweigh a small-by-comparison loyalty discount. Again: shop around.

10. Driver education

New to driving? You’ll really want to enroll in an accredited driver training course. Not only will you become a more skilled driver, but driver education with a reputable trainer usually snags notable discounts with many insurance companies.

Although we can’t help you avoid the cost of auto insurance completely, you can see from the info primer that getting a better car insurance rate is an option, even here in Toronto. We’d love to hear about how your hunt for an insurance deal went. Come see us at Ontario Chrysler. 

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