Knowing what insurance companies look at is important when you're shopping for new auto insurance; there's a lot that goes into calculating your insurance rate like where you live, your driving record, the car you drive and your driving and insurance history. Your insurance history specifically plays a significant role and insurers consider the following factors when calculating your premium:
- Previous cancellations (by an insurer, not cancellations you've initiated)
- Claims history
- Length of time you have been continuously insured and records of your past policies within the province
But what happens, if for some reason, your insurance history is not easily available, or there are discrepancies on your insurance history? You may be asked to provide a Letter of Experience.
What is a Letter of Experience?
A Letter of Experience is a written confirmation from your previous insurer confirming the information you've provided about your driving and insurance history with an insurer is correct and up-to-date. If you have switched insurers several times, it is possible that several letters will be requested.
When might I be asked to provide a Letter of Experience?
There are multiple situations where a broker or agent will request that you provide a Letter of Experience. It may help you get the lowest car insurance rates possible. The following situations are times when you might be asked to provide a Letter of Experience:
- Recently moved from another province or country
If you have recently moved provinces or moved to Canada from another country, you will likely need to provide a Letter of Experience from your insurer who provided you coverage in your former province or country. If coming from another province in Canada, your driving and insurance history will typically carry-over into your new home province.
- Related Read: How to Get Car Insurance in a New Province
If you don't already have a letter in your possession, you will want to contact your previous broker or agent so they can assist you in getting one. Most insurance companies will need to confirm any insurance history you want to account for, and they do this through a Letter of Experience if they're unable to access it through a public database. Generally, brokers and agents only have access to driving records and insurance history for the regions they are licensed in.
- Commercial driving history
If you have been insured on a company car insurance policy (often referred to as a Fleet Policy), this may not show up on your personal insurance information. You may need to get a Letter of Experience from your fleet car insurance policy insurer so your new company can review the history and use that experience when calculating your premiums.
- Problems or discrepancies
If the driving history you provide is not consistent with what is recorded in your insurance history, you may be required to provide a Letter of Experience. Sometimes insurance companies make mistakes, and these mistakes could get recorded in your insurance history. If you are aware of any discrepancies that exist on your driving abstract with what has really occurred, you will require a Letter of Experience.
What is typically included in a Letter of Experience?
A Letter of Experience will be written on the insurance company's letterhead, and will typically include the following details about your current, or previous policy:
- The policy number
- The start date and end date (if applicable)
- The name of the driver requesting the letter
- The claims reported or paid against the policy
Who can provide me with a Letter of Experience?
Only the insurance company that provided you coverage can provide you with a Letter of Experience. While your previous broker can assist you in getting the letter from your insurer, they cannot write the letter. The letter needs to come from the insurance company directly.
Need a Letter of Experience? It may help you lower your car insurance rates.
While a Letter of Experience won't always help you lower your car insurance premiums, if needed, it may help you clear up any discrepancies or help you get credit for your experience behind the wheel here, elsewhere in Canada or abroad.
- Related Read: Top 15 Tips to Cheaper Auto Insurance
Another way to lower your car insurance premiums is to ensure you shop around. Coverage from one company to the next can vary by hundreds, if not thousands of dollars and the only way to make sure you are getting the best price for your policy is to compare, compare, compare. Kanetix.ca makes it easy and shops the market for you. Compare car insurance quotes today for a better price. It's easy, secure and free.