18 Myths About Car Insurance

We debunk common myths about auto insurance that can steer drivers in the wrong direction.

There are many misconceptions about car insurance in Canada. Some tend to lead the country’s 26 million licensed drivers down the wrong road. Let’s right these wrongs today so that the route ahead is clear.

Top myths about auto insurance

1. Car colour affects your car insurance premium

Chances are you’ve heard that red cars cost more to insure. They aren’t. It doesn’t matter if your car is red, blue, silver, white, or black; your insurance rate for that make and model of car will be the same regardless of its hue.

2. Lending your car to a friend won’t affect your premiums if they get in an accident

In general, if you lend your car, you’re also lending your insurance. It pays to be extra picky about who you hand over your car keys to because if they’re found to be at fault for a collision, it’s usually your coverage that will cover any claims.

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3. A two-door car is more expensive to insure than a four-door car

Not necessarily. The number of doors a car has is not indicative of how much the vehicle costs to insure. However, what does matter is the vehicle’s accident frequency, repair costs, theft frequency, the likelihood of vandalism, and safety ratings, for example. When these factors are combined, a four-door could cost more to insure than a two-door model.

4. Getting a parking ticket means your insurance rates will go up

Parking tickets do not count against your insurance, but unpaid tickets could affect your ability to renew your vehicle’s licence plate.

5. Getting a speeding ticket means your insurance rates will go up

Your first ticket may not affect your rates if it is a minor speeding ticket. It will depend on your insurer as some are more forgiving than others. However, drivers who exceed the speed limit by 16 to 29 km/h will receive three demerit points. The penalty only increases with the speed drivers exceed.

If you have several tickets on your driver’s record already, you’ll probably pay more to be insured. Those with a need for speed may land themselves a high-risk driver designation and expensive premiums.

6. All traffic tickets will affect your premiums in the same way

There are three types of traffic tickets: minor, major and criminal or serious convictions — each with a different impact on your premiums.

A minor ticket may not increase your premiums much (if at all) if it’s your only ticket in the last three years. Failing to signal a turn or lane change or not wearing your seat belt are typical examples of minor tickets.

On the other hand, a major ticket will have a significant impact on the rates you pay. These tickets are more serious, and the penalties reflect this reality. Distracted driving, speeding in a school or construction zone, or speeding over 50 km/h are examples of major speeding tickets.

The most severe financial penalties are for criminal or serious convictions. This type of conviction considers your province’s Highway Traffic Act or the country’s Criminal Code and often comes with the threat of a licence suspension or even jail time. Examples include racing, impaired driving and leaving the scene of an accident.

7. Auto insurance covers personal items in your vehicle from theft

Suppose items are stolen from your car, like your golf clubs, smartphone or laptop. In that case, it is your home insurance (or condominium or tenant policy) that will provide you with the coverage you need to replace these valuables rather than your auto insurance policy.

8. Thieves target new cars to steal

According to last year’s list of Canada’s most stolen vehicles, criminals have a taste for high-end SUVs with keyless remote fobs. The age, however, ranges from two to three years old.

9. Men always pay more for auto insurance

If you are 25 or older, this is, in fact, a myth. At 25, from an insurance standpoint, a male driver will be treated the same as his female counterpart. Young male drivers, however, do pay higher premiums before hitting the quarter-century mark.

10.Your rates will be similar to your neighbour’s

Where you live is just one component that affects your auto insurance rate. There are many others, too. Your driving experience, insurance history, traffic tickets, the number of drivers in your home and the type of vehicle you drive play a role in what you pay for coverage.

11.You’ll pay the same auto insurance rate if you move

Where you live is one of the factors taken into consideration when determining your rate. When you move, your premiums will likely change; for the lucky, it might mean paying less; for others, it might mean paying more. It all depends on the claims history of the new neighbourhood.

12. Your new car will be automatically covered under your trade-in’s policy

You may have coverage, but it won’t be for long, and it will mirror the coverage you had on your old vehicle, which may not be sufficient for your new set of wheels. Your best bet is to notify your insurer before you pick up your new car to make sure your policy is updated promptly, and you have the coverage you need.

13. The lower your deductible, the lower your premium

This one confuses many people. A deductible is the portion of an insurance claim you agree to pay; your insurance company picks up the rest. As a result, the more you’re willing to take on at the time of a claim, the less you’ll have to pay in premiums. Translation: The higher your deductible, the lower your premium.

14. Shopping around for coverage is only necessary for drivers with a poor driving history

Too often, drivers think that only those with bad driving histories have to shop around. This is simply not true. Everyone, good drivers or bad, should compare car insurance quotes to ensure they’re getting the best price for the coverage they need.

15. Your auto insurance rate will increase if you shop around

This is a common fear for consumers, but the fact is, your auto insurance rate will not increase just because you’ve shopped around for your coverage.

16. Your auto insurance policy is locked in for the year, no matter what

If you shop around mid-policy and find that another auto insurer offers you the coverage you need at a better rate, you can cancel your policy before its renewal. However, if you cancel your policy mid-term, you may be subject to a cancellation fee, so you’ll want to ensure that the savings are worth it. If they’re not, it may be best to wait until your policy is up for renewal, at which time, if you cancel, there is no fee.

17. A loyalty discount ensures the best available price for coverage

Everyone fears losing their loyalty discount, which usually saves drivers around 5% of their premiums. While it is true, your loyalty discount can result in an excellent car insurance rate, you could save more by shopping around when it is time to renew.

18. All insurers offer the same rates

Auto insurance rates vary considerably from company to company. Each insurer’s car insurance rates are unique, and it is safe to say that no two are alike.

The truth about lower auto insurance rates

At InsuranceHotline.com, we help you shop the insurance marketplace to get your best rate, making it easier to get quotes from the top providers all in one place. Shop around for car insurance quotes to ensure you are getting the coverage you need at the best available price.