If you think you've already done everything within your power to fight rising car insurance costs, think again. We've all heard many of the most common tips for reducing your rate - things like increasing your deductibles, asking about discounts, reviewing your coverage, etc. But what can you do after exhausting all of these options to make sure your premiums stay low? Be sure to follow these steps to help keep your low rate from rising:
1. Always report a hit and run to the police
If your car is damaged by an unidentified third party, it is best to report this to the police within 24 hours. If you make a claim to your insurance company without filing a police report, your insurance company may consider it an "at fault accident". Although filing a police report may still require you to pay your deductible, it will prevent you from having an "at fault accident" on your record which would hinder your driving record and cause your insurance rate to rise.
2. Buckle up your seat belt
In Ontario, you will have 2 demerit points added to your license if you are convicted of not wearing your seat belt or if passengers under the age of 16 in a car you are driving do not have their seat belts fastened. A seat belt conviction affects your driving record the same way that any other minor infraction would.
3. Do not tail gate
You can be charged with "following too closely" if you hit the driver in front of you. Also beware that you can be charged with following too closely even if you're not involved in a collision with another driver. If a police officer feels that you are driving too close to the vehicle ahead of you, the officer reserves the right to charge you. In these instances you will have 4 demerits added to your license.
4. Review your payment plan options
Some insurance companies charge a fee when you opt to pay your insurance premium on a monthly basis instead of annually. This fee is usually approximately 3% of your annual premium. Check with your insurance company to inquire if they charge a fee and how much it is costing you a month. To avoid this extra charge, if you cannot afford to pay your premium in one payment, your company may offer other payment plans. Some companies offer a 2 or 3 payment plan with no service fee.
5. Hide any valuable items in your car from view
Keep valuable items out of sight while they're in your car. Lock portable electronics in the glove compartment or in the trunk, if possible. If someone breaks into your car and steals an item such as your GPS or iPhone, and in addition damages either the windows or the locks in the process, you might end up having to file two insurance claims - one claim with your auto insurance policy for the damage to the car, and the other claim under your home/condo or tenants insurance for the items that were stolen. This may result in you having to pay two deductibles, plus you may lose any claims free discounts that you might have had.
In addition, with rates changing constantly it is always a good idea to shop around for a better rate, even if you suspect your premium couldn't possibly be any lower. Comparison websites like InsuranceHotline.com make it easy to search for quotes from over 30 insurance companies to find the lowest rate for your driving profile. It's fast, it's confidential and it's free.