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How to save money on car insurance Add to ...

Let me tell you what insiders know about saving their insurance dollars and what you need to know to save yours, too.

I'm asked all the time: How do I get the best insurance rate? Am I being ripped off? Which insurance company has the best rate? Which policy has the best coverage for the best price? If you buy cheap does it affect your claim's service?

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Well, dear reader, here are the answers:

If you buy cheap, does it affect your claim's service?

Absolutely Not.

When you get into a car accident I can assure you that the insurance adjuster does not run down to the underwriting department to see how much you paid for your insurance to determine if you should be treated fairly or not.

Truth is, an insurance company can be hugely expensive for one driver - while at the same time have the best price for another.

What you need to be concerned about is how the adjuster determines whose fault the accident was, and fight like crazy to make sure you're not labelled either "partially" or "at fault" for the accident if you weren't, as that could double your rate for six long years.

Which insurance policy has the best coverage for the best price?

There are dozens of insurance companies selling the same policy for a different price. Like a can of Coke. You can buy it from the corner store for less than at a sporting event. Same Coke, different price. Same insurance policy, different price.

Which insurance company has the best rate?

No one insurance company has the lowest rate for everyone, but one company will have the lowest rate for you. All drivers who are with your parent's insurance company because they got a good rate, are probably overpaying. Referrals from family and friends are generally useless when it comes to finding the best-priced insurance company for you.

Am I being ripped off?

If you think you're being ripped off, you probably are.

People drive miles to save a couple of cents on gas, although these same people could be paying hundreds, even thousands of dollars more than necessary every year for insurance. And it's not like you can get this money back when you realize that another company is $500 cheaper.

If more people understood that there are vast rate differences being charged for the same policy by each insurance company, they could possibly save an amount equal to what they pay annually in gas.

Here's an example of seven insurance companies' rates published by the Financial Services Commission of Ontario. This example is a fair representation of the spread of insurance rates in other provinces, too.

This example is based on a female driver with one accident. It not only depicts the hugely different rates between insurance companies, it also shows the price differences in different postal code areas with the same company.





Companies

Ottawa

Brockville

Hamilton

Toronto

London

Windsor

Sudbury

Thunder Bay

AXA

$4,839

$4,290

$7,325

$8,992

$6,131

$6,055

$4,568

$4,783

Aviva

$4,144

$4,137

$9,725

$6,913

$6,030

$7,239

$4,592

$4,770

Belair

$2,239

$2,139

$4,066

$3,596

$2,812

$3,350

$2,512

$2,620

CAA

$4,395

$5,269

$7,116

$9,296

$6,143

$7,336

$5,965

$5,961

Dominion of Canada

$4,162

$4,286

$7,235

$7,968

$5,807

$6,337

$4,942

$4,645

Chubb

$1,895

$1,932

$2,488

$2,304

$1,615

$1,959

$2,326

$2,295

Economical Mutual

$3,869

$3,627

$6,218

$6,165

$4,795

$5,249

$4,528

$3,648

SOURCE: fsco.gov.on.ca

Drivers in provinces where government auto insurance exists only have the option of adjusting their coverages and deductibles to decrease their rate - or move.

How do I get the best insurance rate?

You need to compare what you're paying right now to what's available in the marketplace.

This is especially important for Ontario drivers as insurance coverage for the treatment of minor injuries from a car accident is going to be slashed from $100,000 to $3,500 for policies up for renewal after Sept. 1, 2010.

For this huge decrease in coverage you may only see a 1 per cent savings in your premium. You would be much better off to switch to the lowest rated insurance company before September.

From this rate example, if you were insured with Dominion Insurance in Toronto at $7,968 and switched to Chubb at $2,304 today, you would not only save $5,664, but you would be able to keep your $100,000 coverage for Accident Benefits until your policy renews next year.

You need to phone insurance companies or go online to compare rates. Good hunting!

Do you have an insurance or traffic-ticket headache? E-mail your question to Lee at globedrive@globeandmail.com

Lee Romanov
Want to learn more about your auto insurance and regulations? Lee Romanov can help.

Follow us on Twitter: @Globe_Drive

 

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