Top Ten Tips for Getting The Best Car Insurance Quotes
Car insurance. It’s one of those things you know you need but probably dislike buying. After all, you pay for it, all the while hoping you never need to use it. Understandably, there are probably many other ways you’d prefer to spend your money.
Fortunately, there are also plenty of ways to save on car insurance. From using a comparison shopping site and maintaining a clean driving record, to raising your deductible and reevaluating your coverage needs, there are multiple strategies for lowering your premium.
If you’re looking for car insurance quotes, you probably want to get the best rate possible for the coverage you need. Here are 10 of our best tips for getting affordable quotes on your next policy.
Tip 1Shop Around
As with any purchase, it’s a good idea to shop around for the best coverage and price. You probably comparison shop when it comes to buying clothes, furniture or other items — why not do the same for your car insurance?
This is how a comparison site like My Insurance Broker can help (plus, it helps that we’re also an insurance broker — meaning that we can find and set you up with the best car insurance for you). Many drivers wonder how they can calculate insurance costs. We make it easy to compare insurers by offering you a way to get quick quotes on coverage from the top 15 car insurance companies in Canada. Use our online insurance quote tool to get results in just two minutes.
While you may be familiar with insurance agents or brokers, these options generally limit your choices. Insurance agents offer coverage from one insurer, and a broker may only work with a handful of insurance companies. By contrast, My Insurance Broker gives you access to car insurance quotes from 15 companies — just enter your vehicle info, licence details and information about the driver you wish to insure.
In Ontario alone, there are over 30 companies selling car insurance. By getting a broad range of quotes, you can rest easy knowing you have the information you need to make an informed choice.
Get quotes from the top 15 car insurance companies in Canada in just two minutes with our car insurance calculator tool.
Tip 2Don’t Overlook Smaller or Regional Insurance Companies
If you watch enough television, you will inevitably see commercials from the big names in the insurance industry. These companies spend millions on ads, but do they really offer the best coverage? In some cases, they might. However, insuring your vehicle with a local or regional insurance company may save you money. Some drivers also feel like they receive more personalized service from a smaller carrier.
In short, don’t assume that bigger always means better coverage — or a better price. Depending on where you live, a regional insurance company may offer the most affordable coverage at a price the bigger guys can’t beat.
Tip 3Ask for Discounts
Always check for ways to save on your car insurance policy — you never know unless you ask! There are a variety of ways to lower your premiums. For example, many insurance companies offer price breaks if you bundle your car insurance with other policies, such as business coverage or homeowner’s insurance.
Additionally, some insurers discount policies when customers insure more than one vehicle, or when members of the same family take out policies with the same company. If you belong to a particular professional group, alumni organization or business association, you may also qualify for group discounts.
You may also be eligible for discounts if you drive a vehicle that incorporates anti-theft technology or special safety features. You can also ask for a discount if you agree to pay your policy in full rather than spread it out over payments.
Ontario drivers can also ask about special discounts for winter tires, which make your car safer to drive in snowy and icy weather.
Most insurance companies offer a long list of discounts, so make sure to inquire if you think you might qualify for money off your policy.
Tip 4Review Your Coverage Regularly
It goes without saying that you should always comply with provincial requirements regarding minimum car insurance, but what about extra coverage and add-ons to your policy? Are you paying for insurance coverage you no longer need? Many people think of car insurance as a “set it and forget it” product, but it’s really not. As your lifestyle changes, your car insurance does, too.
For example, maybe you commuted to work in the city for years, but now you’re retired and drive only to run errands or grab lunch with friends. Or maybe you started carpooling with a neighbour a few days a week rather than driving into the office each day. If your driving habits have changed, you may be paying for car insurance you don’t need.
It’s also a good idea to revisit whether you need comprehensive car insurance coverage at all. Many people wonder how much it costs for full-coverage auto insurance. However, a better question might be: do you really need full coverage auto insurance for your vehicle and your driving habits? For example, if your car is 15 years old, it might not be worth it to pay for “all perils” coverage. Instead, maybe the minimum car insurance requirements could suit your needs and protect you behind the wheel.
Not sure if comprehensive coverage is right for you? Click here to download our guide to find out if you should drop your comprehensive coverage.
Likewise, if you belong to a motorists’ organization that offers roadside assistance, it makes sense to opt out of similar coverage offered by your insurance company. Look for overlaps in coverage, unnecessary coverage and coverage you can live without — then eliminate it whenever possible.
By the same token, if you’ve been with the same car insurance company for years or even decades, it’s worth taking a look at other insurers to see how their policies stack up. Although your insurance company might reward you with loyalty discounts if you’ve been with them for many years, it doesn’t hurt to shop around for a better deal.
Tip 5Choose the Right Vehicle
Have you ever wondered why some cars cost more (or less) to insure than others? If you’ve always dreamed of zipping around town in a convertible sports car in the summer, be prepared to pay more for your car insurance.
When it comes to insurance, what you drive is often just as important as how you drive. Insurance companies work constantly to revise their statistical models of risk, and they assess this risk based on a vehicle’s likelihood of being involved in an accident.
High end models will cost you more in car insurance coverage, so think twice before buying a new car. Lists of the least expensive versus most expensive cars to insure vary, but top picks for the least expensive include the Honda Odyssey, the Ford Escape and the Subaru Outback. As for the most expensive cars to insure, the list includes the Mercedes S65 AMG, Maserati GranTurismo and the Porsche Panamera Turbo.
Tip 6Pay Your Bill on Time
Although insurance companies can’t consider a customer’s employment status (including unemployment) when deciding whether to extend a policy, they can drop your coverage if you fall behind on your payments. And when you apply for a new policy down the road, you may end up paying more.
It’s important to note, however, that insurance companies can’t ask about your credit history or credit score. They’re also prohibited from making rate decisions based on a person’s history of bankruptcy or level of indebtedness.
Tip 7Rethink Your Location
Some insurance companies offer discounts for drivers who log a lower number of miles on average each year. The logic is that the less time you spend behind the wheel, the less likely you are to be involved in a car accident. Conversely, folks who wear out their odometers have a higher risk of being in a crash, simply because they’re on the road more often.
This is something to keep in mind if you’re thinking about a move. How far is your new place from your job? From shops and restaurants? If moving will burden you with a lengthy highway commute, your car insurance rates may go up as a result.
If you don’t drive long distances, you may even want to consider signing up for a usage-based insurance program. To participate, you must use a monitoring device that plugs into your vehicle and keeps track of how many miles you drive, how often you brake and how quickly you accelerate.
Tip 8Maintain a Good Driving Record
One of the best ways to keep your car insurance rates low is to maintain a clean driving record. Drivers with no accidents pay less for car insurance than those whose driving records show a past littered with speeding tickets and crashes.
If you’ve been involved in a car accident in the past, it doesn’t mean you’re forever doomed to pay more for car insurance. If it’s been a few years since your last accident, and you have maintained a good driving record since then, ask if you qualify for a rate reduction. Don’t assume that this is something your insurance company will do automatically. In most cases, you must take the initiative to negotiate a lower rate.
Additionally, many insurance companies offer accident forgiveness, which protects you from rate spikes. While not every insurer offers accident forgiveness, it might be worth shopping around for one that does — especially if you’re worried about an accident causing your premiums to rise.
Tip 9Consider Raising Your Deductible
You can also save on your car insurance by raising your deductible, which is the amount of money you will pay out of pocket before your insurance kicks in. By agreeing to a higher deductible, you will generally pay less on your car insurance premium. However, it’s important to be certain your budget can handle the deductible if you’re involved in an accident.
While the idea of increasing your deductible might sound like a big leap financially, experts say you don’t have to bump it up that high to see lower premiums. Consumer Reports estimates that increasing your deductible from $200 to $500 can reduce your premium on collision by 15 to 30 per cent. If you raise your deductible to $1,000, you may be able to save as much as 40 per cent.
Tip 10Know How Demographics Affect Prices
Insurance companies charge more or less depending on a variety of factors, including things like age, gender and marital status. While you can’t change certain statistics about yourself, you can take some steps to make yourself less of a perceived risk to insurance companies. For example, insurers view married individuals as a lower risk, as married people have fewer accidents than single people. Likewise, parents are involved in fewer car accidents on average, and insurance companies see them as safer drivers.
While you probably won’t run out and get married just to save a few bucks on car insurance, it’s important to let your insurance company know if you’ve recently married, had a baby or turned 25 years old (25 being the age when insurance premiums start to go down). If you think a major milestone in your life may impact how much you pay for car insurance, be sure to let your insurance company know. Parents of teen drivers can also ask about lower rates for students who perform well academically.
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