Little-known ways to save money on your home and car insurance

If you’re worried about theft, you can also check whether your car is on the Insurance Bureau of Canada’s latest list of top 10 stolen vehicles.

Depending on where you live, what kind of property you own and what type of vehicle you drive, insurance premiums can be a costly expense.

But there are ways to reduce those costs, and sometimes all it takes is a phone call to your insurance agent. Here are 10 tips on how to save money on insurance:

Your car’s safety features

If your vehicle has modern safety features, such as a lane departure warning system and blind spot detection, some insurance providers may give you a discount.

The type of car you drive also matters. Each vehicle make and model is rated differently by insurance companies, based on safety features and theft rates.

If you’re worried about theft, you can also check whether your car is on the Insurance Bureau of Canada’s latest list of top 10 stolen vehicles.

Your driving habits

A number of insurers offer their clients the option to use telematics technology, which tracks driving habits such as speed, braking patterns and distance travelled.

Those who demonstrate good driving habits can be rewarded with lower insurance premiums. At Allstate Insurance that discount can be up to 30 per cent, said Greg Bergeron, Allstate’s Ottawa-area agency manager.

Some insurance providers also offer low-mileage discounts to clients who don’t drive their cars very far or often.

Drop collision coverage on older vehicles

If your vehicle is more than 10 years old and of low value, consider dropping collision coverage.

“That can save you a few hundred bucks easy,” Bergeron told CTVNews.ca in a phone interview from Ottawa.

“This may seem like a common thing, but a lot of people don’t think about it.”

The general advice from most insurance experts is to drop collision and comprehensive coverage when repairs to older vehicles no longer make financial sense.

Parking spot

Regularly parking your car in a driveway or a garage instead of on the street or in a lot will also save you some money, since there’s less chance that someone will hit it.

Winter tires

“We definitely reward individuals who have winter tires and it’s proven that people with winter tires have less frequency of accidents,” Bergeron said.

Many other insurance providers also offer winter tire discounts. At CAA, for example, that discount is five per cent.

READ MORE HERE AT CTV NEWS

Volkswagen tests highly-automated driving on new inner-city test route in Hamburg

Hamburg/Wolfsburg, April 3, 2019 – Volkswagen Group Research is testing automated vehicles in urban traffic in Hamburg. This is the first time Volkswagen has begun to test automated driving to Level 4 at real driving conditions in a major German city. From now, a fleet of five e-Golf, equipped with laser scanners, cameras, ultrasonic sensors and radars, will drive on a three-kilometer section of the digital test bed for automated and connected driving in the Hanseatic city. The results of the test drives, which will be continuously evaluated taking full account of all data protection rules, will be incorporated in the Group’s numerous research projects on automated driving, and will test customer-centric services and optimize individual transport.

Actually, a nine kilometer long test track for automated and connected driving (TAVF) is being created in the city of Hamburg and will be upgraded to infrastructure-to-vehicle (I2V) and vehicle-to-infrastructure (V2I) communication by 2020. It is characterised by realistic and thus demanding traffic situations. The test track is an open platform for vehicle manufacturers, technology companies, and research institutions to trial innovative mobility services in real traffic conditions on public roads. With the test track, the Free and Hanseatic City of Hamburg is creating a user-independent and technology-neutral application laboratory on which vehicle manufacturers, technology companies and research institutions can test innovative mobility services free of charge in real traffic on public roads. Interested companies and research institutions can apply at any time. The TAVF coordination center together with the Free and Hanseatic City of Hamburg takes various criteria like the impact of innovation, benefits for traffic flow and traffic safety or environmental effects on air quality into account.

With 1.8 million inhabitants, Hamburg is Germany’s second largest city. The City of Hamburg is promoting state-of-the-art technologies with the aim of becoming a showroom for innovative mobility. Digital technology plays a key role in making urban mobility and logistics in Hamburg safer, more efficient, and more eco-friendly. Therefore, Hamburg’s strategy on Intelligent Transport Systems (ITS) is targeted at traffic safety, traffic flows, environmental effects, and the promotion of innovations. These topics are pursued in six focal areas: data & information; intelligent traffic control & routing; intelligent infrastructure (maintenance & operation); intelligent parking; mobility as a service; and automated & connected driving. Running under the tagline “Experience Future Mobility Now?, the ITS World Congress will take place in Hamburg from 11 to 15 October 2021.

More information on test track for automated and connected driving in Hamburg: https://tavf.hamburg/en/

Car sharing offers ways to profit from or ditch personal car

By Cathy Bussewitz

THE ASSOCIATED PRESS

NEW YORK _ While a growing number of Americans are struggling to make payments on their auto loans, a new crop of companies is offering alternative ways for car owners to get rid of costly vehicles or earn money while their cars would normally sit idle.

Companies such as Turo and Getaround provide a platform for individual car owners to rent out their own personal vehicles to nearby drivers who find the cars using a smartphone. The idea behind peer-to-peer car-sharing is similar to Airbnb, where people rent out their homes to travellers.

“A car is a very expensive asset, and it starts depreciating in value the minute you buy it,” said Sharon Feigon, founder and executive director of the Shared Use Mobility Center.  “The average car sits for 95% of the time. It’s really a waste when you think of it from that perspective.”

DITCHING A CAR TO SHARE ONE INSTEAD

Car-sharing offers an alternative to individual car ownership and traditional car rental companies which typically rent by the day, instead enabling customers to borrow vehicles by the hour for shorter trips around town. Companies such as Zipcar and car2go eliminate the need to stand in line at rental car counters while waiting for vehicles, instead using smartphone apps to connect drivers with cars in their neighbourhoods or nearby.

The car-sharing model works best for people who live in dense areas, use mass transit or other modes of transportation, and sometimes but not always  need a car, said Sabrina Sussman, manager of public partnerships at Zipcar, which operates in 500 cities and towns and operates its own fleet of cars.

Zipcar drivers pay a monthly fee and can book cars by the hour or day, and then pay an hourly rate that includes gas, insurance and maintenance. Drivers pick up and return cars from the same parking spot.

More than half of Zipcar members got rid of their personal car after becoming a member, 87% of its customers spend $300 per month or less on transportation, and 40% of its customers have a household income that’s below the U.S. median.

“In almost every market, we have a near-even spread across all income categories,” said Sussman.

Maven, owned by General Motors, offers car-sharing for drivers borrowing cars for their personal use and those driving for delivery services or ride-hailing companies like Uber and Lyft. Some companies such as Envoy and AAA-owned Gig specialize in shared electric or hybrid vehicles.

MAKING MONEY THROUGH CAR-SHARING

Even if you own a car, you can still benefit financially from the car-sharing economy. More than 7 million Americans were three months behind in their car payments at the end of 2018, according to the Federal Reserve Bank of New York. Some are renting out their cars when they’re not using them to defray the cost.

On Turo.com, borrowers can choose from a wide range of vehicles from a BMW Z4 to a Dodge Ram Pickup, an environmentally friendly Toyota Prius, a 10-year-old Ford Focus for $53 a day or an 8-year-old Lexus RX 350 for $64 a day.

The average host earns $629 a month, said Steve Webb, spokesman for Turo, which operates in 5,500 cities. “They’re able to turn something that was depreciating and idle into something that’s generating revenue,” Webb said.

Earnings for hosts on Getaround, which operates in 140 cities, vary by car, location and availability, said spokeswoman Joan Wickham. With the Getaround platform, riders can unlock cars using the smartphone app.

Liz Tynan makes $300 to $900 per month renting out her 2017 Nissan Morano through Getaround and commutes to her telemarketing job on public transit.

“It makes having a car more affordable for us,” said Tynan, 34, of San Francisco. “It’s giving us that luxury to have that flexibility, and I’m happier because I can go see my friends when I want or drive to work when I need to.”

Some locations, such as New York, have laws prohibiting car-sharing services such as Turo and Getaround.

WHAT ABOUT SAFETY?

For hosts renting out their cars car through Turo or Getaround, both companies offer up to $1 million in liability insurance. Drivers are screened before they can take out a vehicle, and the companies offer 24-hour emergency assistance.

Even so, peer-to-peer car-sharing has been slower to take off than other alternative modes of transportation such as shared scooters, because some potential hosts worry about what would happen if a driver borrowing the car got a speeding ticket or used the car to commit a crime, said Steven Polzin, program director for mobility policy research at the Center for Urban Transportation Research, University of South Florida.

“I’m sure they all have language in the agreements, but those are the kinds of things that will make people scratch their heads and think twice about it,” Polzin said.

TAKING A TEST-DRIVE

The motley mix of cars on peer-to-peer car-sharing sites offers a way for car-shoppers to take vehicles on a longer test-drive than they might have through a dealership. For example, a driver could take out a Tesla Model 3 to see what it’s like to drive an electric vehicle. Another side benefit: no pesky salesman will be along for the ride.

Insurance Corporation of BC challenged over injury payouts, disputes resolution

VANCOUVER _ A legal battle is shaping up in British Columbia with the trial lawyers association promising to fight a move by the government-run auto insurer to overhaul claims payments and how it resolves disputes.

Effective immediately, the Insurance Corporation of British Columbia has set a $5,500 cap on pain and suffering payments for minor injuries, which the Crown corporation describes as payments “recognizing the inconvenience and emotional distress of being in a crash.”

The corporation is also sending all disagreements about how minor injuries are determined or disputes about any injury claim below $50,000 to a civil resolution tribunal.

On its website, the corporation says the tribunal can be used without the need for legal representation, but the Trial Lawyers Association of British Columbia has warned the government that it intends to launch a constitutional challenge.

The association says the revisions have the potential to unfairly cut compensation for crash victims.

Association president Ron Nairne says in a statement that the new process could also restrict access to the courts, denying claimants of a basic human right guaranteed by the Charter of Rights.

“The approach this government has taken to legislative and regulatory changes to address ICBC’s mismanagement problems violates the rights of British Columbians. This should be about protecting the public interest _ not about protecting ICBC,” Nairne says.

Attorney General David Eby said Friday that word of the constitutional challenge was not unexpected.

“They believe that you can only resolve disputes appropriately through the B.C. Supreme Court. We don’t, obviously, agree with their interpretation of the law,” he said.

Changes to insurance corporation payments and procedures were announced last year, shortly after Eby referred to the insurer as a “financial dumpster fire.”

The latest fiscal year ended March 31 and the corporation announced in February that its projected deficit was $1.18 billion, on top of the $1.3 billion loss posted over the 2017/18 fiscal year.

With the April 1 cap on pain and suffering payouts for minor injury claims, B.C. becomes the final province in Canada to limit the payments.

Cabbies paying thousands each year say current rates unsustainable

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Access to your driving record and insurance history should be immediate and free in Ontario. Currently, it’s not.

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