BrokerLink: How to lower your car insurance premium in Ontario

BrokerLink: How to lower your car insurance premium in Ontario

BrokerLink Blog

In the province of Ontario, every single driver is required to have a current and up-to-date auto insurance policy. This policy must include four mandatory coverages: Liability, Accident Benefits, Direct Compensation and Uninsured Automobile.

Unfortunately, Ontario has some of the most expensive rates in the country, in regards to auto insurance premiums. This can make finding a policy quite difficult for some drivers. However, there are some ways to help reduce your premium and save some money on your insurance.

How is my car insurance rate determined?

Every individual insurance policy will have a different cost. This will be due to that fact that many different factors can actually influence your car insurance rate. At BrokerLink, we go through each of our clients’ individual information to make sure that they receive all of the possible savings offered for their circumstances.

While the list of factors that determine your rate is quite extensive, we have compiled a few of the most common factors car insurance companies consider when determining rates in Ontario:

  • Your Age: Did you know that younger drivers tend to have higher premium rates? This is because they fall into a demographic that tends to have a lot more accidents. As you get older, your insurance rate is likely to go down.
  • Your Driving History: The number of years you’ve had your license, any past speeding tickets and any accidents will all be considered when determining your rate. Having a good driving record can save you money, as insurance providers see you as a low risk client, while having a bad driving record can make your premiums go up significantly.
  • Where You Live: The city in which you live in can affect the price of your premium. For example, Ottawa’s premium rates are actually quite low compared to other cities in Ontario, while Toronto’s rates are quite expensive in comparison.
  • Frequency of Use: Your premium rate will be affected depending on how often you actually drive your vehicle. For example, someone who drives to and from work every day will pay more than a driver who uses public transit to commute and only drives on the weekend.
  • The Make and Model of Your Vehicle: Some makes and/or brands of cars tend to be more costly to insure than others. There are many different reasons for this, including the fact that some cars are more prone to theft, and some have more expensive and/or less common parts.
  • The Level of Coverage You Choose: The level of coverage you choose to have on your policy will impact the price of your premium.

How can I lower my premium rate in Ontario?

There are many different ways that you can save on your car insurance in Ontario. We have listed four of the most common and recommended ways to save below!

1. Bundle your policies

Bundling your policies is a great way to save some money on your premium. If you have multiple insurance policies, whether they be for your home, your business or your cottage, try and get them with the same insurance company. Most companies allow for you to bundle these policies together, which could save you a significant amount of money.

2. Take advantage of discounts

There are so many discounts available for car insurance policies in Ontario. You probably are already aware of some, including the winter-tire discount and the renewal discount. However, there are also a lot of amazing deals our there they many people simply don’t know about. Here are a few that you should be aware of:

Private Parking Discount

Did you know that where you park your car could make a difference to your premium rate? A car that is parked in a private garage or driveway is way less likely to be stolen or damaged than one that is parked publicly on the street! Adding a private parking discount to your policy can save you money.

Safe Driving Discount

Many insurance companies offer a safe driving discount, generally giving you up to 30 per cent off of your premium. Talk to your broker and see if this is available for you!

Good Student Discount

Did you know that students are eligible for discounts on their car insurance simply by having good grades in school? If you have an average of at least 80 per cent, students under the age of 25 years old are eligible for a 15 per cent discount off of their premiums.

Retiree Discount

If you are a customer who is retired, you may be eligible for an additional discount. This discount can save you up to 15 per cent off of your premium for accidental benefits coverage.

University Discount

When your child moves away for post-secondary, you’ll still want to keep them on your policy so that they are covered when they come home. However, it doesn’t make that much sense to pay the full premium when they won’t be driving the vehicle for the majority of the year. The university discount will provide you with 50 per cent off of your child’s premium while they are away at school!

3. Adjust your payments

There are many options for you when it comes to payment schedules for your premium; some of these options can save you more money than others. Firstly, paying your premium as one-time, yearly payment can be cheaper in the long run than paying it on a monthly basis. This is because some insurance providers will give you a discount for paying one larger lump sum.

Secondly, increasing your deductible can help to minimize the cost of your premium. Many policy holders choose this option, as you only have to pay for your deductible when making a claim. However, this will really only benefit you, and stay inexpensive, if you very rarely make claims and thus avoid paying your deductible. By increasing your deductible, you can generally save anywhere from 10 to 40 per cent on your premiums.

4. Review your existing policy

You may not even be aware of some of the costs and features that are included on your policy. This is why it is extremely important to go over your policy and review it with your broker. If you have a safe driving history, and rarely make any claims, you may not need to have any additional coverages on your policy. This can also apply if you drive a relatively old vehicle. As it depreciates in value, you may not see the need to have coverages such as collision on your policy. Having only the minimum provincial coverages on your policy, without any of the add-ons, can ultimately save you quite a bit of money.

If you’re looking for an Ontario car insurance broker who can help you save money on your premium, BrokerLink is here for you. BrokerLink has been helping Canadian drivers find the best insurance at competitive rates since 1991. Our brokers live in the communities we work in, which means we know what coverage makes the most sense for you. As one of the largest insurance brokerages in Canada, you can have confidence that we are reliable.

Source: BrokerLink

Keep motorcyclists safe by sharing the road, urges ICBC

Keep motorcyclists safe by sharing the road, urges ICBC

June 16, 2020

With warmer weather upon us, more riders will be hitting the road. Summer is also the time when the majority of motorcycle crashes occur. In fact, on average, seven motorcyclists are injured every day in July and August. That’s why ICBC is urging everyone to expect more riders on the road and to share the roads safely with them.

On average, 1,600 motorcyclists are injured and 37 are killed in 2,500 crashes every year in B.C.

Motorcyclists can be difficult to see – especially if you’re not actively looking for them. The most common contributing factors police assign to drivers who hit motorcyclists are distracted or inattentive driving and failing to yield the right-of-way.

It’s important that both drivers and riders practice safe driving to keep our communities safe. Whether you’re riding a motorcycle or driving a vehicle, we all need to do our part to prevent crashes and avoid putting additional pressure on first responders and medical resources.

Tips for drivers:

  • Stay focused and avoid distractions that take your mind off driving and your eyes off the road.

  • Scan intersections and look for motorcycles. When turning left, look carefully for oncoming motorcycles.

  • Look for motorcycles before changing lanes. Due to their smaller profile, motorcycles can be harder to see, and fit more easily into your vehicle’s blind spots.

  • Make a game of looking for motorcycles while you drive. Have each person in your vehicle guess how many riders you’ll see during the drive and then count them as you go. It’s a great way train yourself, and your passengers, to look for motorcyclists.

  • Give lots of space when passing a motorcycle and allow at least three seconds following distance when you’re behind a motorcycle.

Tips for riders:

  • Get training – whether it’s in preparation for getting a licence, or to refresh your skills.

  • Practice, practice, practice – find an empty parking lot, set up cones, and practice your turning, low-speed manoeuvres, and emergency braking skills, so they’ll be second nature when you need them on the road.

  • Don’t ride more bike than you can handle. Choose a motorcycle that is a fit for your experience and skill ability. It’s important to be familiar with the handling characteristics of your ride and be able to safely manage it.

  • Choose to wear safety gear designed for riding, especially gear that not only protects you from the road, but also gives you the best chance of being seen. Bright colours and reflective materials are best.

  • Protect yourself from serious injury by always wearing a helmet that meets or exceeds legal requirements. Full face helmets offer the best protection. At a minimum, look for a helmet that meets DOT, Snell or ECE safety standards.

If you’re interested in getting your motorcycle licence, COVID-19 restrictions have been eased and you can now book an appointment for your knowledge test and motorcycle skills testing.

If your learner’s licence (class 6L) expired on or after March 17, then your first requalification test fee of $15 will be waived. If you are unsuccessful, you will need to book another appointment to reattempt the test. Regular fees will apply.

Get more driver and rider tips on icbc.com and the latest information on road test bookings at icbc.com/covid-19.

Regional statistics*:

  • In the Lower Mainland, 800 motorcyclists were injured in 1,300 crashes in 2018. On average, 13 motorcyclists are killed in crashes each year in the region.

  • On Vancouver Island, 330 motorcyclists were injured in 500 crashes in 2018. On average, seven motorcyclists are killed in crashes each year in the region.

  • In the Southern Interior, 300 motorcyclists were injured in 380 crashes in 2018. On average, 14 motorcyclists are killed in crashes each year in the region.

  • In the North Central region, 47 motorcyclists were injured in 57 crashes in 2018. On average, four motorcyclists are killed in crashes each year in the region.

*Motorcyclist incident and injuries in B.C. based on ICBC claims data (2018). Includes incidents in parking lots and incidents involving parked vehicles; and excludes crashes involving out of province vehicles.

Motorcyclist fatalities in B.C. based on police-reported data (2014-2018). Includes low-speed motorcycles (scooters, mopeds and trikes).

Road tests for certain types of driver licenses set to resume in B.C.

VANCOUVER _ The Insurance Corporation of British Columbia is resuming on-road testing for commercial licences but drivers waiting for passenger vehicle tests must hold on a little longer.

In line with B.C.’s COVID-19 restart plan, the corporation says commercial road tests resume next week and appointments can be booked starting Thursday.

The tests are for drivers seeking licence endorsements ranging from a Class 1, which is operation of a semi-trailer, to Class 4, which covers school buses, ambulances, taxis and limousines.

ICBC says a decision about tests for other licence types, including Class 5 passenger vehicle licences, depends on the effectiveness of the first phase of testing and access to enough protective gear.

Examiners will use a combination of masks, shields, goggles, gloves and disposable seat covers when doing the tests.

Those taking the tests will be asked several health questions and must wear a supplied medical-grade mask during the test.

ICBC suspended all road tests on March 17 because of the pandemic.

Nicolas Jimenez, the corporation’s president and CEO, says the safety of its customers and employees is the top priority.

“We have taken a thoughtful approach to develop a plan that allows us to resume road tests in the safest manner possible,” he says in a statement.

“Customers have been eager to see these services resume and we’re happy to have found a way to do so safely.”

Some knowledge tests, required in advance of a road test, resumed on May 4. The corporation expanded its approach on June 1 by including knowledge tests for all types of licenses.

 

Road tests for commercial drivers resume next week

Road tests for commercial drivers resume next week

In line with B.C.’s Restart Plan, ICBC is now moving forward with a phased approach to offering in-person driver licensing services. Commercial road tests (Class 1 – 4) can resume next week, and will be by appointment only.

Starting June 11, customers wishing to obtain a commercial licence can call 1-800-950-1498 to book an appointment. We ask customers for their patience as we anticipate high call volumes. Priority appointments will initially be provided to customers who had their commercial road test appointments cancelled between March 17th and March 30th.

The plan for resuming road tests is focused on the health and safety of our employees and customers, aligned with the guidelines set out by the Provincial Health Office and WorkSafeBC, and developed in consultation with our employees and MoveUP.

Customers are asked to arrive on-time for their appointment with the required identification and ensure the interior of their vehicle is clean. Upon arrival, they will be asked a series of health screening questions and provided a mandatory medical-grade mask to wear for the duration of the road test.

Driver examiners will continue to conduct road tests from inside the customer’s vehicle to ensure the examiner is able to fully assess the road test and to take control of the vehicle in the event of an emergency. Driver examiners will be provided the appropriate personal protective equipment (PPE) which can include a combination of masks, shields, goggles, gloves and disposable seat covers.

To date, ICBC has secured sufficient PPE for this initial phase. ICBC is planning to expand the availability of road tests to other classes of licences as soon as possible. The timing of that expansion will be dependent on the successful roll-out of this initial phase and our continued ability to secure sufficient PPE for our employees and customers.

Quotes:

Nicolas Jimenez, ICBC’s President and CEO

“The safety of our customers and employees is our top priority and we have taken a thoughtful approach to develop a plan that allows us to resume road tests in the safest manner possible. Customers have been eager to see these services resume and we’re happy to have found a way to do so safely.”

Dave Earle, BC Trucking Association President and CEO

“ICBC’s plan prioritizes the safety of our members and allows us to continue our critical role in helping families and organizations across the province by delivering goods and services during these challenging times.”

Learn more:

I just got a speeding ticket for going 20 km/h over the limit, even though other people on the highway were going a lot faster. Will it affect my insurance rates?
Read more

Car sharing service Turo says launch into B.C. market is ‘imminent’

VANCOUVER _ Fans of car-sharing services in British Columbia are about to get another option within weeks of the closure of two other car-share businesses in the province.

Turo, which describes itself as the world’s largest peer-to-peer car sharing platform, says it is preparing for “imminent expansion” into B.C.

A statement from the company says it has secured coverage from the Insurance Corporation of B.C. in advance of its launch but doesn’t say when its platform will be available.

Turo’s announcement follows cancellation of Boston-based Zipcar in Vancouver and Victoria on May 1 and closure of Share Now, formerly Car2Go, across North America earlier this year.

Turo has been operating in several other provinces since 2016 and says it has 850,000 members and 35,000 cars in Alberta, Ontario, Quebec and Nova Scotia.

Users can book cars owned by Turo members, which the company says will “put Canada’s 23 million vehicles to better use.”

The company says participating car owners earn an average of $620 a month in regions where the program is already operating.

When Zipcar announced its departure, the company said the “complexities” of operating in B.C., including local insurance regulations, were behind its decision.

Cedric Mathieu, vice president and head of Turo’s Canadian operations says it’s time B.C. enjoyed the benefits of peer-to-peer car-sharing that have been available in four other provinces for four years.

“With the recent exit of car-sharing platforms from B.C. we’re happy to step in and answer the demand with a car-sharing model that makes more economical and environmental sense and that does not inflict additional pressure on cities’ parking infrastructures,” Mathieu says in the statement.

In addition to what Turo says is a comprehensive insurance package reached with the provincial insurer and included in every reservation, the company says it carries out extensive screenings of would-be renters and offers round-the-clock roadside assistance.

It has also implemented new policies linked to the COVID-19 pandemic, aimed at ensuring the safety of renters and owners through enhanced cleaning and disinfection.

Turo says information about its launch and details for those interested in becoming car hosts will be posted on the Turo app or at turo.com.

This story by The Canadian Press was first published May 28, 2020

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