Car insurance rates are increasing across the world, but you can find ways to insure your drive without breaking the bank if you're willing to make a few changes.
Ontario's last quarter saw premiums rise by almost 14 percent year-over-year to mark two consecutive quarters of record highs, according to LowestRates.ca. Auto insurance rates in Alberta have risen more than 16 percent, a new record for the province. Pete Karageorgos, head of consumer and industry relations at the Insurance Bureau of Canada, advises:
The best advice I can give on getting the best rate is, be a safe driver.
This ensures no collisions where you are at fault and no breaches of law— apart from fines for parking— such as speeding. For more than six years, injuries will affect your premiums. You can save money by increasing the premium, but there's a catch. Upgrading the amount for which the policyholder is responsible— from, for example, $500 to $1,000— means paying more out of your own pocket in the event of a crash, he added. And with the arrival of today's increasingly high-tech cars with side-view sensors and backup cameras, trips to the repair shop are becoming more costly.
Motorists with an older vehicle that has dropped significantly in value must consider dropping their accident or extensive coverage, he said. If the vehicle has a retail price of a few thousand dollars, in the case of a major accident, it is probably not worth the insurance or the deductible costs. Insurance companies have been gradually selling in-car monitoring devices over the past six years that reward consumers for good driving.
The Ajusto software of Desjardins General Insurance, now in the form of an app, tracks information such as braking pace, acceleration and "fast cornering" as well as travel rate, daytime and handheld phone usage— "which is a no - no," said Desjardins spokesperson Joe Daly. "If you're driving during rush hour in Toronto or Montreal, you're much more likely to get into an accident," he said.
The monitoring program can lead to discounts of up to 25%, he said.
"You may have a young driver in the household who's just as safe as the family, and through the use of one of these devices it could back that up," Daly said.
Make and model also play a key role in calculating premiums, as vehicles with higher insurance rates are more likely to be stolen. If you own a high-risk car, you can slightly offset your premium by adding an anti-theft system. Providers offer lower prices for a number of other routes. Another choice is to package coverage via home insurance or multi-vehicle discounts, while winter tires can offer lower premiums elsewhere while compulsory in Quebec.
Justin Thouin, co-founder of LowestRates.ca, based in Toronto, suggests every year shopping, while B.C. which has the most affordable car insurance in Canada on average— Manitoba and Saskatchewan have car insurance markets run by the government. The disparity between the cheapest and the most expensive can be thousands of dollars, Thouin said.
It can be the cheapest one year and the most expensive the next. So it's super-important to compare every year.