Car insurance premium giving you a fright? 13 tips to lower your bill

The Financial Services Regulatory Authority of Ontario recently approved auto insurance rate increases for several insurance providers across the province. If your insurance company has been approved for an increase, you can expect to see a higher rate the next time your policy is renewed.

But auto insurance rates don’t have to be frightening. Here are 13 tips to keep your insurance bill down.

1. Don't wait for your renewal to shop around

Don’t wait until your renewal notice to shop around. It's time to carve out some real savings and see if there's a better rate available when:

  • You buy a new car, because every insurance provider will rate your new wheels differently.
  • You move, because the insurance company who offered you the best rate at your old residence may no longer offer you the best rate at your new address.
  • You’re adding a teen to your policy. The fact is: some insurance providers are more teen friendly than others.

These are just a few common reasons why you should shop around mid-policy, but there are other key times, too. You might end up paying more for than necessary for your coverage, so don’t wait to compare car insurance quotes.

2. Ask about available discounts

You’ll be surprised to discover how many discounts are available. Ask your insurance provider for a list of discounts, because you never know what details about your life might qualify you for a cheaper rate. For example, your occupation, that roadside assistance program you signed up for, or your teen driver’s grades could all help you get a lower rate.

3. Take an accredited driving course

New drivers who complete an accredited driver’s training course will likely be eligible for a discount. Insurance companies know that drivers who are taught by professionals tend to be better, safer drivers and thus reward these drivers with premiums lower than what they would pay otherwise.

4. Combine insurance policies

Do you have your home insurance and car insurance policies with the same company? If not, you could save by bundling all your policies with one provider. The discount can range anywhere from 5% to 15% off one, or even both of your policies.

5. Multi-line discounts: More than your home and auto insurance

Often people think that only a home insurance and auto insurance policy qualify for a multi-line discount, but there’s actually more to it. Policies for snowmobiles, RVs, or motorcycles can all usually be bundled to qualify for a multi-line discount, too.

6. Change your tires seasonally

Drivers who use winter tires can often save up to 5% with a winter tire discount. Winter is just around the corner and soon, the roads will be covered in ice and snow.

7. Consider usage-based insurance

Many car insurance companies offer usage-based insurance (UBI). This technology tracks the typical distance, speed, and time a driver is on the road, as well as their accelerating and braking. In Ontario, auto insurance companies can now penalize drivers for unsafe driving behaviour like consistently driving over the speed or making sharp turns. Your good driving behaviour can save you up to 30% on your car insurance.

8. Drive carefully and maintain a clean driving record

Your driving record is one of the biggest factors in determining your insurance rate. Traffic tickets can raise your insurance rate for up to three years, and accidents stay on your record for at least six.

Over several years, a bad driving record can cost you hundreds and even thousands of dollars in unnecessarily high premiums.

9. Increase your deductibles

The higher your deductibles, the lower your insurance premium. If your deductibles for collision and comprehensive are each set at $500, consider increasing them to $1,000 because you can typically save anywhere between 5% and 10% on your premium when you increase your deductibles.

10. Have an older car? Review the necessity for optional coverage

Owners of older vehicles may not realize that some of the optional coverages (like collision and comprehensive) that once made sense on a new car may no longer be worth it, now that the car is considerably older. You must weigh the cost of the coverage with the value of your car and your chosen deductibles. It might not make sense to pay for coverage with a $1,000 deductible if the vehicle is only worth $1,000.

11. Drive a vehicle that’s less likely to be stolen

When it comes to insurance rates, not every vehicle is the same. Some vehicles are more prone to theft, which can make them prone to higher car insurance rates. Drive a car that’s less likely to attract the attention of would-be thieves and chances are you’ll pay less for your car insurance.

12. Carpool, bike, or take public transit to work

Insurance rates are higher for drivers who commute to work every day. The reason behind this is that the more often you drive, the more likely you are to get in an accident. So, if you're able to take public transportation, carpool, or bike to work then you can likely lower your insurance premium, and save money on parking and gas, too.

13. Compare car insurance quotes, at minimum, every year

When you get your car insurance renewal documents, for the sake of convenience, you may be tempted to simply renew with your current insurance provider. But this could result in you overpaying for your coverage. Car insurance rates often change, and the only way to know for certain that your current insurance provider is still giving you the best price is to compare quotes every year at least. Don’t let your car insurance rate creep up. Compare car insurance quotes today.

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