15 Ways to Get Cheaper Auto Insurance

If you’re grumbling about how much you’re paying to insure your vehicle, don’t get mad, get inquisitive.

The more you know about how auto insurance works – and the discounts you may be entitled to – the more you'll be able to reduce your premium. Here are 15 ways that may help you get a lower car insurance rate:

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1. Insure all your cars on the same policy

Most car insurance companies offer a multi-vehicle discount to customers who insure more than one car on the same policy. That discount can bring you savings typically in the range of 10% to 20%.

2. Bundle your auto and home insurance policies

If you get your home insurance or condo insurance from the same company that insures your vehicle, you'll usually get what's called a multi-line discount. The discount you may get ranges from 5% to 15% off your combined premiums.

3. Change your tires seasonally

Winter tires are a great way to tackle the winter season safely, and in Ontario, having them will ensure you get a discount, usually in the neighbourhood of about 5%. The Ontario winter tire auto insurance discount has been in place since 2016, and all insurers in the province must offer it to drivers who change their tires seasonally. Many insurers in other provinces, like Alberta, also offer a winter tire discount.

4. Ask about discounts

There are oodles of auto insurance discounts that can help you save on your auto insurance. Ask your insurer for their list because you never know how the details about your life could save you money. Have a smarty pants in the family? There's the Good Student Discount that may be available. Is your child away at college or university? If they only drive the car when home visiting, some insurers offer a Student-Away-at-School discount. Have you recently signed up for a roadside assistance program? There's often a discount for that too.

5. Increase your deductibles

In a nutshell, the higher your deductibles, the lower your insurance premiums. Insurance was really meant to cover damages you could never afford yourself. If you switch your deductibles from $500 to $1,000, you'll likely save between 5% and 10%. Make sure you can afford it though, because in the event you must file a claim, the deductible is the portion you have to pay upfront before your insurance is activated.

6. Drop comprehensive and collision coverage on older vehicles

It may be time to rethink your collision and comprehensive coverages if your car is 10 years old or older. That said, it's not always a clear-cut decision. You need to weigh the cost of the coverage with the value of your car and your chosen deductibles. For example, if you have an old car that's worth $1,000 and your deductible is $1,000, that coverage is not going to be worth a hoot.

7. Pay your premium annually instead of in monthly instalments

Many companies charge a little extra to cover the cost of administering payments every month, so if you can afford to pay your premium annually rather than monthly, you'll pay less for your coverage.

8. Drive defensively

Your driving record is one of the most influential factors in determining your insurance rate. Being a cautious and courteous driver at all times and driving the posted speed limit will help you keep that record spotless. Tickets affect your insurance rate for up to three years and accidents stay on your record for at least six years. Also, many people fidget with a mobile device when they’re behind the wheel. Don’t. You can be charged with distracted driving if a police officer notices a mobile device in your hand even when you’re at a stoplight. A driving record that’s rife with traffic convictions will make it exceedingly tough to get a cheap auto insurance rate.

9. Enrol in a usage-based insurance program

A usage-based insurance (UBI) program can save you typically 5% to 10% just for signing up, with additional savings of up to 25% annually for good drivers. UBI programs involve downloading and using a mobile app to monitor how, when, and how far you drive. It tracks things like how fast you accelerate and brake, the time of day you're on the road, trip duration, and speed. UBI programs can help lower your rate. If you don’t qualify for a safe-driving discount, the data they collect cannot be used to increase what you currently pay.

10. Drive a "low-risk" car

Insurance rates for cars are based on the claims history for that vehicle as well as how costly the vehicle is to repair if it’s damaged in an accident. Also, the more likely a car is to be stolen, the more you'll pay to insure it.

11. Don't drive to work

The more you drive, the greater the chance of getting in an accident. Insurance rates are higher for people who commute to work. If you cannot work from home, try taking the bus or carpooling with others if possible. The COVID-19 pandemic may deter you from either of those options currently, but if you can do so safely, it will help you save money on parking, gas, and it may lower your insurance premium too. Be sure to notify your broker or insurer if you are driving less or not at all to realize a savings.

12. Are you a new driver? Take a driver's training course

Most insurance companies offer a discount to newly licensed drivers who have completed an approved driver training course in the last three years. Drivers who graduate from a driver training course typically pay lower insurance rates.

13. Check-in on your car insurance rates as your life changes

Life events like getting married, crossing the age of 60, moving, adding teen drivers to your policy, or changing jobs (or retiring) are all key times when you should check-in on your rates to make sure your current provider is still giving you lowest rate you can get. Car insurance rates often change, and the company that provided you the best rate five years ago, two years ago, or even last year may no longer offer you the best deal today.

14. Have an anti-theft device installed in your car

Some insurance companies recognize your car is less likely to be stolen if you have an anti-theft device installed in it. Newer vehicles are typically equipped with anti-theft protection, as well as many driver-assist technologies. Many insurers provide discounts if you’re driving a vehicle that has these technologies.

15. Compare auto insurance rates

Car insurance coverage may be standard throughout your province, but insurance premiums are another story. Coverage from one company to the next can vary by hundreds, if not thousands of dollars. The only way to make sure you are getting the best price for your policy is to compare quotes whether your auto policy is up for renewal or not.

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