Most of us who live in Ontario think about Auto Insurance before purchasing a vehicle. The reason is obvious – Cost of Car Insurance. As per driving.ca residents of Ontario pay the highest in Auto Insurance in Canada. Changing a province of residence is not the best way to reduce your car insurance premium. So the other alternative is to look in to options to reduce the auto insurance rates.
Here are 5 main tips to Save money, when it comes to your Auto Insurance:
Maintain a Good Driving Record
Insurance companies want every driver with a good driving history/record. If you maintain a good driving record free of accidents, convictions, license suspensions, non-pay cancellation then you will be eligible for some of the best rates. Convictions/tickets, non-pay cancellations affect your insurance for 3 years and accident affects your insurance for 6 years.
Discounts and Deductibles
There are number of discounts available to Auto Insurance customers. They all have some eligibility criteria but there is no harm in talking about them with your broker. Some of the most common discounts are Multi vehicle discount, multi lines discounts (for having home and auto insurance with same company), Good student discount, Graduated licensing discount, Driver training discount, Retiree discount, winter tire discount, conviction free discount.
Increasing deductibles reduces your premium too but you have to be very careful with it. Deductible is the amount you pay first in the event of a loss or claim. You need to have this amount handy all the time. Your broker will advise you based on your individual situation the amount of deductible you should choose.
Telematics – Usage based Insurance
This is a new development in the Auto Insurance sector. Some companies are offering it with an initial start up discount and you can build on it by practicing safe driving. You are given a small device to plug in your vehicle or asked to download an app. Typically it measures how you accelerate, how you apply brakes, time of day/night you drive the vehicle and mileage.
Hire a Broker
An Insurance Broker is an insurance professional who provides unbiased advice at no cost. He / She will shop the market for you. It is in the interest of the broker to provide the best coverage, at the best cost to you as he / she is paid commission by the insurance company. Also, a broker will advise you about selecting the best coverage. Sometimes it’s not worth buying full coverage for an older vehicle. Your best cost-effective insurance is always with an Insurance Broker.
What affects my Car(Auto) Insurance Premiums?
There are 4 main factors that affect your Auto Insurance In Ontario:
1) The vehicle your drive (Year, make and Model)
2) The area you live (postal code)
3) Your driving record (years licensed, at fault accidents, moving violations, non payment cancellations, license suspensions, years continuously insured, cancellation of the policy due to misrepresentation/non disclosure)
4) The use of the vehicle -commute, pleasure, business or commercial
You can always talk to your Broker about Insurance discounts that help manage the prices if its too expensive but not at the cost of getting a substandard product.
Some common auto insurance discounts are:
- Home and Auto Discount ( combine them to save in the long run)
- Winter tire discount (always have installation receipts of the winter tires. It is a requirement of most companies to have them installed before November 1 to April 31)
-Conviction free discount
- Loyalty discount
- Now a days a popular one is telematics (Usage based insurance - install a device in your car and get your use tracked).
- Good student Discount and Graduated License Discount ( for under 25 year old drivers)
Fun Fact- Color of the Car has no effect on your Auto Insurance.
When you have an accident in most cases we are not thinking right. it happens to the best of us. As Humans we panic, get angry, upset etc. We all agree being in a Car accident is not the best feeling no matter how small the accident is. It shakes us up to the core.
We all also agree that we cannot do much once the accident has occurred. Now the important question is who is at fault and who is not. The following scenarios can play out:
-The driver of the car with whom you had the accident stays at the scene
-The driver of the car with whom you had the accident flees the scene
-The driver of the car with whom you had the accident tries to make a deal as he/she has no insurance.
-The driver of the car with whom you had the accident tries to make a deal thinking he/she is at fault
-It is a hit and run. Driver who hit your car is nowhere to be found- In this case you should call the police as soon as you can. Also call your insurance company or broker to notify of the damage.
What ever happens you should collect some valuable information which will help.
The most important thing -DONOT SAY SORRY OR ADMIT ITS YOUR FAULT TO ANYONE AT THE SCENE.
Make sure everyone is ok, call the police and start exchanging information. Now a days most of us have smartphones so the best thing you can do is take pictures of 3 items- the ownership document, insurance document and license of the driver who was involved in the accident. If the police comes to the scene and makes a report take a picture of the police report. Collect names and phone numbers of any witnesses who saw what happened.
REMEMBER- passenger sitting in the vehicle involved in the accident is not considered a witness in most cases.
Call for a tow truck and ambulance if required. If a tow truck comes you should always remember you do have an option to the vehicle to the car yard / body shop of your choice.
One last thing take pictures of the surroundings, the damage to your vehicle and damage to the other vehicle(s) or the property involved.
The information you need in order to set up a claim:
Date of the Accident:
Time of the Accident:
Name of the Owner of the Vehicle:
Name of the Driver of the Vehicle:
Year + Make + Model of the vehicle:
Body type (pick up, sedan, suv etc):
License Plate of the Vehicle:
Insurance Company name:
Insurance Policy Number:
Address of the Driver:
Phone numbers of the Driver:
Address of the owner:
Driver's License number of the Driver:
Witness' Phone Number:
Did any one get a ticket? If yes who?
Police Officer's name:
Police officer's Badge Number:
Police officer's Phone number:
Location of the Accident (nearest intersection):
Address of the Accident (if possible):
You can buy insurance through several sources, but your best insurance is through an insurance broker. There are many advantages to you and your community when you use the services of your local broker. We have listed a just a few below:
Personal Insurance Adviser – An Insurance Broker works for you and not the insurance company. An Insurance broker provides advise, guidance, expertise to you so you can make an educated choice about your personal and business insurance matters. An Insurance broker will always provide unbiased advice.
Choice - There are many insurance companies in Ontario and each company has its own unique characteristics. An Insurance Broker typically represents a few insurance companies. Hence you always have choice. An insurance broker will always analyze your situation and advise you why you should choose a company over other. The choice is yours but at least you have been offered one unlike insurance companies who can only offer a product through one insurance provider. On a side note – some of the best insurance companies do not even sell directly to public but instead sell through brokers.
Confident Purchase – An insurance broker will put the needs of your family or business above anything else and hence you can be rest assured that the insurance product you purchase will always work for you. The broker provides advise, expertise, knowledge, experience and guidance in purchasing an insurance product.
Comfort of Home – You can meet a broker in the comfort of your own home or in the office or at a coffee shop or the phone, wherever you want. A broker will work according to your schedule.
Claims Advise – In the unfortunate event of a claim the broker will guide you through the process, advocate for you, help you gather necessary evidence if necessary and talk to claims adjuster on your behalf. If you buy from a direct writer or an insurance company directly, in the event of claim you will deal with the insurance adjuster directly.
Risk Assessment – When it comes to knowledge and risk assessment you have no choice but choose an Insurance Broker. Brokers must pass an exam to get a license and in order to maintain the license in good standing they must continue studying every year. Hence Brokers are knowledgeable and well versed with today’s insurance market. Broker will use all their knowledge and risk assessment skills to provide unbiased, independent insurance advise to you.
Free Service – You do not pay any fees to the insurance broker. When you pay your insurance premiums the insurance broker makes a commission from that premium. There is no additional cost to you. You can ask for the commission statement which provides the details on how much commission a broker makes from the sale of the policy. A broker will gladly show you the details. This is a very transparent transaction. Hence it is in the broker’s best interest to provide sound advise and excellent customer service to you.
All the above-mentioned benefits prove that your best insurance is an Insurance Broker. You get free advice, unparalleled customer service, lots of options, amazing knowledge and the list goes on when you decide to hire a broker to help you with your personal or business insurance needs.
When it comes to Auto Insurance convictions have a huge impact. Some Insurance companies provide discounts for being conviction free in past 3 years, some surcharge every conviction you get. Now a days there is a coverage at an additional cost that will make sure your rates don’t go up due to minor conviction(s), depending on the insurance company. Every insurance company does not offer this protection. A broker can tell which companies offer the conviction protection coverage and which do not.
All convictions under the Compulsory Automobile Insurance Act (CAIA) and the Highway Traffic Act are divided in 3 categories – Minor, Major and Serious (or Criminal). They all have various degree of impact on your Auto Insurance in Ontario.
Minor tickets usually do not have any impact on your auto insurance policy unless you are under the age of 25 or G1 driver or there are more than 1 minor convictions within past 3 years. Some insurance companies will add a surcharge distinctly while some will include the additional cost in the premiums. Only convictions within 3 years are penalised by the insurance company. Most companies will refuse to renew your policy if you have 3 or more minor convictions in past 3 years. At that point a high-risk insurance company will be able to help you.
Major conviction is serious as you have violated a condition of license, insurance or been negligent while operating your vehicle. One of the most common major violation is driving the vehicle which has no insurance. The second one is G1 driver unaccompanied by a qualified driver. These convictions may result in a license suspension. One major conviction will make you a high-risk driver.
Serious conviction is also called criminal conviction as you have violated the law of the land. This accompanies a severe license suspension, prison time etc. A very common one is Driving Under Influence. Second is driving with a suspended driver’s license. One serious conviction makes you a high-risk driver.
If you have demerits on your license it does not affect your insurance unless your license is suspended, and you drive the vehicle. The resulting conviction of driving while suspended is a serious conviction. These two suspensions – License suspension due to demerit points and driving with a suspended license will affect your insurance rates and eligibility.
For a full list please see the link - http://www.ontariocourts.ca/ocj/how-do-i/set-fines/set-fines-i/schedule-43/
Remember a moving violation affects your insurance for 3 years and license suspensions will affect your insurance for 6 years, with most insurance companies. It is important to disclose the accurate information to your broker when are shopping for insurance.
Tip-Parking tickets do not affect your insurance rates.
Am I a high-risk driver?
Do I need high Risk Auto Insurance? What is high Risk Insurance?
If you have these questions, then you are not alone. A high percentage of Ontario drivers are high risk due to several reasons. In general, High-Risk Auto Insurance is a term used for high risk drivers or high-risk automobiles. Yes, you read that right High-Risk Automobiles. If your vehicle is modified to enhance the performance, you need high risk auto insurance. Since the vehicle is modified, regular auto insurance companies do not have a method to rate it appropriately. Hence, they will ask you to insure it with high risk carrier. Such vehicles are insured through the facility association in Ontario. Obtaining insurance for a modified vehicle can be tricky but its not impossible. Your local insurance broker can help you with it. It is important to know that you should inform your insurance provider that your vehicle is modified, customized in any shape or form. If such information is withheld from the insurance company and a claim arises there is high chance that the claim will be denied, and your policy will be cancelled for misrepresentation.
Now let us look at a High-Risk driver. If you are looking for High Risk Auto Insurance, then it means you are aware you have some issues with your Auto Insurance in the past. At a driver level it is due to your driving record. The 3 factors that determine your Insurance Premiums is your Driving Record, Type of Automobile and Your Postal Code. A driving record comprises of Accidents, Convictions, License Suspensions, Non-pay cancellations. Please see below how the driving record make you a high-risk driver.
· Accidents- Only At fault accidents within past 6 years (for some companies 5 years) are penalized against you. If you have 2 or more at fault accidents in the past 6 years (for some companies 5 years) then you are a high-risk driver. If you want to find out when you are at fault please see the link-www.ontario.ca/laws/regulation/900668
· Suspensions – Driver License suspension can result from an unpaid fine, Driving under influence, medical reasons etc. Only those suspension that are a result of a driving offence are rateable or penalized. Typically one suspension will make you high risk or regular insurance companies will not provide favorable rates.
· Convictions- The big one yet the most complicated one. There are 3 categories of tickets-Minor Convictions, Major Convictions and Serious/Criminal Convictions. I will make it simple to understand. Within past 3 years If you have ONE major conviction or One Serious/Criminal Conviction you are considered high risk. Within past 3 years if you have 4 (for some companies it 3 minor convictions) or more convictions then you are classified a high-risk driver.
· Non-Payment Cancellation- This is a unique one as it is not due to any driving issues, however two or more non pay cancellations can result in you being a high risk driver.
Sometimes you have 2 minor conviction in past 3 years and a small at fault parking lot accident in past 6 (for some companies 5 years) years. This classifies you as a high-risk driver too. Such combinations exist for all the above-mentioned issues. Hence only a knowledgeable broker can help you get auto insurance at a reasonable cost.
At Aaxel Insurance Brokers we provide a plan to help you come back to the regular auto insurance companies. Our plan is customized according your personal circumstances. So call us at 289 274 4807 for a quote for your High-Risk Auto Insurance.