What to Look For in a Car Insurance Policy

Car insurance shopping can be a headache, three different insurance companies can be singing three different songs to you about policies. Depending on where you live in Canada there might be different laws that pertain to the kind of insurance you get. If you’re looking at insurance policies in Ontario, there’s some things you should know and look out for. 

 

Insurance You Need To Have 

Most provinces require a minimum standard of insurance, and that insurance policy may vary depending where you live. In Ontario you need to have insurance that covers up to $200 000 in damages if there is a fatality or injuries as a result of a collision you were involved in. This is also known as third-party liability coverage, you need to be insured to cover the other person. You also need to have insurance that will cover your injuries regardless of who was at fault, this is known as statutory accident benefits coverage. If someone else was at fault the minimum form of insurance you will need is direct compensation and property damage coverage. 

There are some scenarios where another driver may perform a hit and run, and their insurance company will never be able to pay out, or they might not have insurance. In order to properly protect you against these instances, the Ontario government requires that you have uninsured automobile insurance. This might sound like quite a lengthy list of initial requirements, but it’s meant to protect you and other drivers from not receiving payouts on damages. 

If you currently live in Ontario I’m sure you’ve heard just how high insurance rates have been climbing. Thankfully there are insurance calculators online, and this useful tool can help you find out what you should expect to pay for premiums. Given how expensive insurance has gotten, it’s important you try to find the lowest rate possible to avoid paying ridiculous premiums. 

 

Reasonable Discounting 

Now that we’ve covered the minimum requirement for insurance policies, here are some discounts you should expect to receive. Many provinces, including Ontario have introduced a law that allows you to claim a lower premium if you have winter tires. Given the condition of Ontario roads in the wintertime, this was introduced as an incentive for people to purchase winter tires and result in lower accident rates. If an insurance company refuses to give you a lower premium when you have winter tires, inform that it’s the law. You can choose to either report them or seek insurance from another business if this is the case. 

If you’ve been with an insurance company for a period of time, they should be reducing your rates as long as you’ve been accident free. If you call your insurance company and ask for a reduced premium they may offer you some resistance. The best thing you can do is seek quotes from other insurance companies and if they’re lower give your own insurance company a call and inform them you received a lower quote. The older you get the lower your insurance should become, and if your policy doesn’t support this, switch companies. 

 

Extra Coverage You Want 

Most insurance companies will offer additional coverage options on top of base policies. These can include income replacement in case you’re injured and you’re unable to continue working. There are other options that will pay for rehab, which isn’t a covered medical expense by OHIP so this might be something you want to include. Other forms of insurance will cover your funeral costs, which given the rising costs of funerals is ideal. Many insurance policies will include an option that lets you use a roadside assistance program. This is highly recommended as paying for a tow can run a pretty penny. 

Keep in mind these extra coverage options can end up raising your premium significantly, so you need to decide if they’re worth it for you in the long run. A method of circumventing premium costs is to increase your deductible amount. Your deductible is the amount you pay your insurance company in order to cover repairs on your car. Although you don’t want to set your deductible so high it becomes unfeasible for you to pay.   

The best thing you can do is look up the top insurance companies for customer service, and start by looking for quotes from them. These will be the companies that will be more likely to reward people who are accident free as they age. They’re also less likely to try and pull the wool over your eyes over policy discounts. Extra coverage may raise your premiums, but if you’re providing for a family it might be something you want to look out for. Just be sure you’re setting your deductible at a reasonable amount, and have a premium that’s affordable to you with your policy options. 

The views expressed in this article are those of the authors and do not necessarily reflect the views or policies of The World Financial Review.