You can’t control every factor that raises and lowers your car insurance premiums, but you may have more control over your rates than you think.
It’s no secret that car insurance prices in Ontario are higher than the national average. As a whole, Ontario drivers only pay less than British Columbia residents for insurance. While accident rates are relatively low in our province, other factors like severe weather and fraud affect what Ontarians pay for auto insurance.
We’ve compiled a comprehensive list of how to lower car insurance in Ontario so you can learn about every insurance discount you deserve and can work towards earning.
Drive a safe and practical vehicle.
Some cars are more prone to theft, while others have rare or high-end parts that are costly to replace. Similarly, installing an approved anti-theft device can lower your insurance rates, while adding a state-of-the-art stereo system could increase them.
Since vehicles with high safety ratings are less prone to accidents, they can help lower your premiums. In addition, there is evidence that newer models with advanced safety features like blind-spot monitoring and backup cameras help reduce collisions. However, repairing modern vehicles equipped with safety sensors and advanced computer systems can be more expensive so a steep repair bill could bump up your rates.
In general, having a safer ride and ensuring your vehicle is always well-maintained can help you save as you build a reputation as a responsible, claim-free driver. Accidents are more likely to occur on roads covered with ice and snow, and a little winter maintenance goes a long way, so get your winter tires ready when the temperature drops into single digits and get the insurance discount you deserve.
Drive as safely as possible to lower car insurance.
We all know that safe drivers save more on insurance because they tend to make less expensive claims related to at-fault accidents. If you’re concerned about a claim increasing your premiums, consider purchasing accident forgiveness to protect your rates after a first at-fault accident.
Keep in mind that accident forgiveness is only available for proven safe drivers. If you have been involved in an accident or received a driving conviction in the last six years, it’s unlikely to qualify for this add-on coverage. Further, accident forgiveness won’t apply if a driver is charged with an Ontario Highway Traffic Act violation or if an accident relates to a driving conviction like careless driving.
Insurance companies will use your Ontario driving record to determine your insurance rates. Depending on the severity of the offence and whether the violation was prosecuted under the Criminal Code of Canada, a range of charges can affect your insurance rates for 3-8 years, including:
- Speeding tickets.
- License suspensions.
- Driving with a hand-held device.*
- Driving without insurance.
- Dangerous driving.
- Driving under the influence of drugs or alcohol or refusing a breath test.
- Fleeing the scene of a collision.
- Not stopping for the police.
- Negligence resulting in death or bodily harm.
* Note that a charge for driving with a hand help device holds a fine for $615 for the first offence and is a surchargeable conviction on your insurance with all insurers.
Parking tickets won’t affect your insurance rates; however, a severe driving charge or multiple charges in a short period can cause your insurer to cancel your policy, at which point you would need to purchase high-risk insurance. Therefore, being a safe, law-abiding driver is crucial to maintaining affordable insurance.
If possible, reduce how often and far you drive.
In general, insurers consider commuting on a highway during rush hour riskier than running errands around your neighbourhood on the weekends.
Carpooling or taking public transit to work will reduce the number of kilometres you drive annually and help you save on your auto insurance. If you’re retired, work from home or exclusively commute with an alternate mode of transport, talk to your insurer about discounts for leisure drivers.
Whether you drive for Uber or need to make frequent business trips, we understand that not every employee can reduce how much they drive for work. If driving is part of your job, and you don’t already have access to a group auto insurance rate with your employer, you should purchase commercial auto insurance to stay protected for every work trip.
Consider how moving will affect your rates.
One of the first things people think about when they move is how their new location will change their commute. You may qualify for lower mileage discounts if you live closer to work. However, it’s also possible that moving to an urban center can increase your insurance premium.
Consider moving to an area with lower average insurance rates. For example, GTA cities near major highways like the 404, 407 and 401, including Mississauga, Vaughan and Richmond Hill, have some of Ontario’s most expensive insurance rates.
In contrast, downtown Toronto neighbourhoods like Lawrence Park, Yonge and Lawrence and Wanless Park have the lowest insurance prices in the city because they are relatively safe and quiet areas where people tend to walk or take public transit more often. A lack of well-maintained roads, emergency service access and reliable public transportation also affects insurance prices in rural areas.
The city with the cheapest average car insurance rates in Ontario is actually a tie between Amherstview, Brockville, Iroquois, Martintown, Elizabethtown, Kingston, Gananoque and Cornwall. Find out more about which cities have the Cheapest Car Insurance in Ontario.
Before moving, ask your broker: How will my new address affect my car insurance?
Where you park your vehicle is also important.
Suppose you move to a home where private parking is available, like a garage or driveway. In that case, your automobile is less likely to be stolen, vandalized, or hit by another vehicle than if you have to park on a public street regularly. Talk to your broker about private parking savings.
Be a good insurance customer to lower car insurance.
If you stay with an insurance company for several years, they may be able to offer you a loyalty discount. In addition, bundling your home and auto policies and policies for leisure products like a cottage, RV or boat with the same company can qualify you for preferred rates.
It’s crucial to make your payments on time and avoid a lapse in coverage because other insurers can access your insurance history and use it to calculate your rates. A gap in your coverage can make an insurer less likely to insure you for a lower rate.
Moreover, opting to pay for your insurance annually instead of monthly makes it easier for your insurer to collect your payment, and additional savings can be passed along to you.
Stay on the lookout for better deals.
Beware of cancellation fees if you cancel your policy before it comes up for renewal. Still, it never hurts to get quotes from other insurers or brokers who work with multiple insurance companies before your current policy renews. You always want to ensure you get the best deal for the coverage you need.
Secure enough coverage, but don’t overinsure your vehicle.
Cheap insurance doesn’t necessarily mean better insurance. We recommend purchasing more third-party liability coverage than the $200,000 minimum required in Ontario. Paying for liability claims after an accident can be significantly more costly, and increasing your liability protection can be relatively inexpensive.
That said, if you drive an older vehicle to save money, you may not need collision and comprehensive insurance if the cost to insure your car for repairs after an accident outweighs its actual cash value.
Remember, you have deductible options to lower car insurance.
Your deductible is the portion of an insurance claim you are responsible for paying. Say, if your vehicle needs $1,500 worth of repairs after a collision, and your deductible is set at $500, your insurance payout will be $1,000.
Typically, deductible amounts range from $500 to $5,000. Your policy can have separate deductibles for different types of coverage. For example, your collision coverage deductible could be set at $500, while the comprehensive portion of your policy could have a $5,000 deductible. Insurance providers may waive your deductible for not-at-fault accidents and claims with relatively lower price tags, like a cracked windshield.
The bottom line is higher deductibles will help you pay less for your insurance, as long as you’re willing to pay more if you need to make a claim.
New drivers: Take steps to mitigate high insurance rates.
You can’t change your age or how much driving experience you have at this point in your life. New drivers are more expensive to insure because they have less driving experience, so it’s best to have an experienced driver (such as a spouse or a parent) add you as a secondary driver on their auto insurance policy.
Take an accredited driver training course and talk to your insurer about student and alumni discounts in addition to occasional driver savings for post-secondary students who live at least 100km away from home.
Younger drivers (with good driving records) should start to see their rates decrease significantly between the ages of 18 and 25, while older drivers can speak to their insurers about retirement discounts.
It’s unlikely that you or a secondary driver on your policy will qualify for all of these savings opportunities. Still, there’s a good chance you already benefit from some and that others will be within your reach in the future. If you think you’re paying too much for insurance, get a 3-minute quote with aha, we can help you find your most affordable car insurance option in Ontario.