The more you know about how insurance works, the more you'll be able to save off your premiums. Follow these simple tips and you'll not only be a more informed consumer, but you'll know how to maximize your car insurance savings.

Make sure all your cars are on the same policy

Most car insurance companies offer a "Multi-vehicle discount" for customers who insure more than one car on the same policy. This can bring you a savings of up to 10 to 20 per cent.

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 discount as an incentive to get your property insurance business too. It's all perfectly legal and it's a great way to get another five to 15 per cent off your premiums.

Change your tires seasonally

Did you know that consumers who use winter tires could save up to five per cent with some insurance companies? With winter tires, not only can you benefit from cheaper car insurance but your vehicle will be equipped with tires designed specifically for driving on ice and snow.

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 on your own. If you switch your deductibles from a $500 deductible to a $1000 deductible you'll save between five and 10 per cent. Make sure it's affordable though; in the event of a claim the deductible is the portion you have to pay.

Learn more about car insurance deductibles: Demystifying your auto insurance deductibles

Older car? Think about dropping your collision coverage

If your car is getting up there in age, 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 that's worth $1000, and your deductible was $1000, that collision coverage is not going to be worth a hoot.

Pay your premium all at once, rather than in monthly installments

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, at the end of the day you'll pay less for your coverage.

Drive carefully

Your driving record is one of the most influential factors in determining your insurance rate. 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

Insurance rates for cars are based on the previous claims history for that vehicle. The more likely a car is to be stolen, the more you'll pay for insurance. If you are buying a new car, check with the Insurance Bureau of Canada or compare quotes to see how your dream-car rates. This may influence your purchase.

Don't drive to work

The more you are on the road, the higher your chances of getting in an accident. Insurance rates are higher for people who commute to work. So taking the bus or sharing a ride will not only help you save on parking and gas, but will help lower your insurance premiums.

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 3 years. Safer drivers pay lower insurance rates.

Learn more about car insurance for new drivers: Auto insurance tips for first time buyers

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 your vehicle. Check to see if your company offers this "Alarm or anti-theft discount" and consider 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.

Shop around

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, compare, compare.

Compare car insurance quotes today from competing insurers.

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