How did Canadians save money on their auto insurance premiums in 2008? This year-end compilation may provide some clues, helping you save in 2009.

Drive carefully

Your driving record is an influential factor in determining your insurance rate. For example, in Ontario tickets affect your insurance rates for up to three years and accidents stay on your record for at least six! With a bad driving record, you can find yourself paying a lot of extra premium over the years.

Drive a "low-risk" car

If you're looking to buy a car in the new year, consider the cost of insurance before purchasing. Insurance rates for cars are based on the previous claims history for that vehicle. The more likely a car is to be stolen or in an accident, the more you'll pay for insurance. So before buying, you can easily compare car insurance rate quotes online through to get an idea of how it rates; this may influence your purchase.

Have an anti-theft device installed in your car

If you take measures to ensure your car is less likely to be stolen, then some insurance companies will offer an "Anti-theft discount" if certain anti-theft devices are installed. Check to see if your company offers this discount and then see if the price of the device is worth the added savings over the years. If you already have an approved, factory-installed alarm in your car, insurance companies will take this into account when determining your rate.

Make sure all your cars are on the same policy

Most insurance companies offer a "Multi-vehicle discount" for customers who insure more than one car on the same policy.

Insure both your car and home with the same company

Again, this will qualify you for a discount called the "Multi-line discount". Most companies offer this savings as an incentive to get your property insurance business too, and it's a great way to get another discount off your premiums.

Ask about other discounts you might be able to get

Other than the multi-vehicle, multi-line and anti-theft discounts, additional common discounts include the:

  • Age discount: A discount on your insurance as you pass certain age milestones. If available, the qualifying age differs from insurer to insurer.
  • Internet discount: Sometimes available from insurers who offer car insurance rate quotes online (just one of the reasons how a visit to could save you money)
  • Low mileage discount: Available if your vehicle is not driven often.
  • Occupational discount: Offered if you work in a certain field or hold a certain degree.
  • Group discount: Some companies offer a 'group' discount if you belong to certain employer groups, trade unions, or alumni and professional associations.
  • Auto club discount: Available if you are a member of an auto club, like CAA.
While the availability of discounts will vary depending on your insurer, where you live and whether you meet the eligibility requirements, asking about them could save you significant money.

Increase your deductibles

In a nutshell, the higher your deductibles, the lower your insurance premiums. Insurance was really meant to cover you for damages you could never afford on your own. If you can afford a $1000 repair job, then raise your deductibles to $1000 and pay less for your insurance now.

Think about dropping collision coverage if you drive an older car

If your car is older, you may want to think about dropping the collision coverage on your policy. You need to think about this one though - it's not always a clear-cut decision. You need to weigh the cost of the collision coverage with the value of your car and your chosen deductibles. For example, if you had a 10-year-old car worth about $1000, and your deductible was $1000, that collision coverage is not going to help much.

Get rate quotes if you have moved, or are moving

Chances are if you moved residences in 2008, or are planning to in the new year, it will affect your car insurance premiums. Don't assume your current insurer will continue to offer you the best rate at your new address. After moving, the best advice is to compare car insurance quotes from competing insurers to what you're paying with your current insurer. It's the only way to know you're getting the best insurance rate possible.

Get rate quotes, each and every year

It's the only way to know that you are getting the best insurance rate.

Compare car insurance quotes today to save in 2009.

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