Your auto insurance rate is cheaper if you sign up when the weather is warm. That’s the key takeaway from a two-year price analysis by LowestRates.ca.
The financial product comparison website found that rates quoted in Ontario were at their lowest between July and October, dipping by as much as six per cent in August 2017 from the annual average. The colder months, between January and April, saw the average rate spike by over six per cent in February. The same pattern was observed in 2016.
LowestRates.ca managing editor John Shmuel said he believes similar seasonal price swings play out in other provinces where auto insurance is not publicly managed.
“We were really surprised by the data,” he told CTVNews.ca on Tuesday. “Summer, in general, is a great time to get auto insurance.”
Insurers base their pricing on a combination of you and your vehicle. Age, sex, marital status, postal code and driving history all factor in. More expensive cars that are pricier to fix and models that see a higher volume of claims are costlier for drivers to insure.
The season in which you get your quote factors in because more people buy cars in the summer. Insurance companies in Ontario’s competitive market are eager to undercut one another to capture the annual flurry of new business, Shmuel explains.
“Ontario has a lot of insurance companies. We believe that these insurance companies are artificially lowering their prices,” he said.
Canada’s 2017 new light vehicle sales did in fact peak during the summer, according to data from DesRosiers Automotive Consultants. But the largest monthly volume, with 200,400 vehicles sold, was April, a month when auto insurance rates were found to be 3.7 per cent above average.
Vehicle sales statistics fell more in line with the price trend for auto insurance during the winter. January was the low point for sales (108,600). That month was found to have the second highest auto insurance rates, six per cent above average, virtually the same as February’s 6.1 per cent increase.
“No one wants to test drive a car in the snow. It’s stressful. It isn’t fun. You don’t want to be driving your new car when there is all this salt on the ground,” Shmuel said. “It (sales) correlates with the seasons.”
Drivers looking for lower rates may not have the option to wait for summertime insurance rates. Like most financial products, auto insurance rates can be negotiated. There are several ways to lower your premium. Customers can ask for their deductible to be increased, bundle auto insurance with other insurance products, or remove some parts of comprehensive coverage, for example.
Arming yourself with relevant data can help you haggle if you are forced to buy when prices are above average.
“You can definitely speak to a representative at your insurance company if you feel like you are not getting a good quote,” Shmuel said.