If you’re like most people, you’re looking to save a few bucks wherever you can, and car insurance is no exception. The average Ontarian pays over $1,500 a year on car insurance premiums alone – that’s money that could be going towards other expenses, like paying off your mortgage or that new kitchen renovation you’ve been dreaming of for years!The good news is, there are plenty of ways to lower your premium without sacrificing your coverage – and today’s blog is going to show you how. But before we share our pro tips, it’s important we first discuss how car insurance rates are calculated.
How is Car Insurance Calculated in Ontario?
If you’re looking to save money on car insurance, it’s important to understand what components are at play. In Ontario, premiums are determined by a number of factors, including both those in and out of your control. Here are some examples of the factors that fall within each.
Car Insurance Factors Within Your Control
- Driving record. To determine premiums, insurance providers look at several factors, including your driving record. This includes any major and minor traffic tickets, as well as any at-fault insurance claims. The number of tickets and the severity of each will also be considered. Traffic convictions may increase your premium for up to 3 years while an at-fault claim can increase your premium for up to ten years.
- Vehicle make and model. The make and model of your vehicle has a lot to do with the cost of your car insurance. Each vehicle has its own Canadian Loss Experience Automobile Rating (CLEAR) rating based on its claim probability as well as its cost to repair and replace. Theft also plays a factor. For example, if your vehicle has zero loss prevention features and a high occurrence of being stolen, you may find that your rate is higher than someone who drives a similar make and model but has installed an alarm system and other theft prevention features.
- Insurance providers also pay close attention to how many kilometres you drive each year. In fact, driving fewer kilometres annually leads to lower premiums. Why? Well, the less you drive, the less likely you are to get into an accident, and that means your insurer will pay out fewer claims over time.
Car Insurance Factors Out of Your Control
- Insurance history and driving experience. When calculating your premium, insurers look at how you drive, how much risk is believed to exist, and whether or not you have an established history. This means that if you are a new driver, or if you’ve had a lapse in coverage, insurance providers will have a hard time finding previous information to go on and will therefore have a harder time determining your risk which could result in higher premiums. The longer you go without any lapse in insurance coverage, the lower your premium should be. And if you’re a new driver, the earlier you can start building up your record to demonstrate your driving experience, the better.
- The age of a driver is a major factor in determining car insurance rates. Most drivers under the age of 25 are considered high-risk and as a result, see higher premiums. However, as you gain more experience and maintain a clean driving record, your age has the potential to offer a lowered rate.
- Postal Code. Where you live can also impact your premium. Policyholders living in areas where there are more claims and payouts, tend to see higher premiums than those living in areas where claims are less common. For example, nine out of the 10 cities with the most expensive car insurance rates in Ontario (Vaughan, Ajax, Richmond Hill, Brampton, Mississauga, Pickering, Toronto, Oshawa, and Markham) are all part of the GTA. Auto insurance rates are typically less outside of the GTA because there are fewer drivers and collisions.
- It’s true – men tend to pay more for car insurance, especially when they’re young. This is because men are statistically shown to partake in riskier behaviours when behind the wheel. According to a recent report from LowestRates.ca, when compared to women, men are three times more likely to drive impaired and engage in other unsafe driving practices like speeding and failing to wear a seatbelt. However, while age and gender do play a role in determining premiums, they do not surpass other important parameters like a clean driving history, having no insurance gap, or claims history.
8 Easy Ways to Lower Your Car Insurance
Take Advantage of Multi-Vehicle Discounts
If you’re part of a family of drivers, you know how expensive it can be to keep your vehicles insured. But did you know that if you have more than one vehicle with the same coverage, you may be able to save money on your auto insurance by signing up for a multi-vehicle discount?
Multi-vehicle insurance is applied when you insure multiple cars with the same company at the same level of coverage. This discount can save you money by reducing your premiums based on the number of vehicles on your policy.
Shop around for better rates
Rates vary from company to company, so don’t be afraid to shop around and see what’s out there before making your final decision.
When you’re comparing quotes, it’s important to consider more than just price. Make sure you consider the reputation of the company – do they have a good one? How long have they been in business?
Remember, cheap doesn’t always mean good! At the end of the day, you want to make sure that the company you choose has a solid reputation for quality work and service.
Bundle home and auto insurance
Bundling your car and home insurance is another great way to save money on auto insurance! In fact, when you bundle with Acumen Insurance Group, you can expect to save up to 30% on your home and auto insurance each year!
Seek out other discounts
There are all sorts of discounts available to help you save money on car insurance. Some of them are fairly common, like swapping out your all seasons for winter tires, while others are more obscure. Do some research and see what applies to you.
Here are a few discounts to get you started:
- Swap out all seasons for snow tires. This is an easy way to save money on car insurance while increasing the safety of your vehicle. At Acumen Insurance Group, we offer discounts on all our policies for drivers who swap out their all-seasons for snow tires.
- Park your car in a garage. Acumen provides policyholders who park their vehicles in a garage with an additional discount on their car insurance. It protects your vehicle against theft while also keeping you and your car out of the elements, which is an added bonus.
- Install an anti-theft device. Your car insurance provider may offer a discount if you have an antitheft device installed in your vehicle, such as an alarm or tracking system.
- Become a long-time customer. If you’ve been with your insurer for a long time, you may be eligible for a loyalty discount.
- Take a defensive driving course. Don’t forget about the good old defensive driving course. These courses are designed to teach you how to be a defensive driver and avoid accidents, which means that if you complete one, your insurance company will likely provide a discount.
Save on Car Insurance with Telematics
Partnerships between telematics providers and insurance companies have become increasingly popular over the last couple of years. But what exactly is telematics? And how can it save you money?
Telematics is a system that tracks and records you’re driving behaviour and uses the information it collects to determine how much you should be paying for car insurance. Once installed, the insurer tracks how your car is driven by specifically monitoring your acceleration, braking and the time of day. These three components are then compared against your total driving distance to generate a real-time analysis of your road habits. It’s simple – the better you drive, the more you save!
Telematics is especially advantageous for inexperienced drivers, less frequent drivers with low annual mileage, and young drivers as they are categorized as high-risk and typically face higher premiums.
Pay your premium off at once if possible
Another way you can lower your auto insurance costs is by paying your monthly premiums in one lump sum, rather than in installments. Many insurers will provide a discount to policyholders who choose to pay their premiums all at once at their renewal date. Not to mention, you’ll avoid the risk, and added stress, of missing monthly payments and incurring NSF fees.
If you have the option of paying your premium in full at renewal time, it’s worth taking advantage of this discount!
If you’re comfortable with greater out-of-pocket expenses in the event of an accident, you could also consider increasing your deductible (the amount insurance companies expect you to pay out of pocket when you make a claim) to lower your monthly premium.
While increasing your deductibles will bring down the cost of your premium if you have a low income or are just starting out financially, doing so may not be the best option for you. The last thing you want is to be faced with out-of-pocket expenses that you can’t afford.
Have you ever looked at your car insurance policy and thought, “I Don’t even know what this is?” You’re not alone. Many people are unaware of the details of their auto insurance policies, which is why it’s incredibly important that you take the time to review your policy.
It’s recommended that you review your car insurance policy at least once a year, and when doing so, consider asking yourself the following:
- Are you paying for things that aren’t covered under your policy?
- Are there coverage options that could save you money?
- Are there any hidden fees that can be eliminated?
It’s easy to get bogged down in life and forget about things like reviewing your car insurance policy. But remember, taking time now to review your coverage could save you thousands of dollars over the course of a year!
Start saving on Car Insurance with Acumen
We understand that when you’re looking for car insurance, you need to trust that you’re getting the best possible coverage at a reasonable price. That’s why Acumen is committed to helping you find that balance between cost and protection.
Whether you’re a new driver, experienced commuter, or car enthusiast, Acumen is here to help you understand how your car insurance can protect you, your vehicle, and your family by providing guidance, expertise, and education. Our knowledgeable brokers will walk you through all of your options so that we can find a plan that will fit both your budget and lifestyle. Request a quote or contact us today to get started.