How much car insurance is enough for you? To answer that question, you have to decide what you want to insure, and then find out the costs. Getting good service is also important. Before you buy, ask yourself:
- Do I need peace of mind from knowing I have full and complete insurance coverage for my car?
- Am I comfortable insuring myself only for the most likely losses?
- How much of any damage or loss am I willing to pay (the deductible)?
- How much coverage can I afford?
- Who do I want to be dealing with at a time of loss?
Six tips to keep your car insurance costs down
- Shop around. Insurance companies all calculate premiums a bit differently. Costs can vary a lot even for the same coverage. Get quotes from more than one insurance company. Check websites for online quotes.
- Take a higher deductible. For example, let’s say you have a $300 direct damage deductible on your comprehensive coverage. This means that if you have an accident and damage your car, you will pay the first $300 of the repair bill yourself. Your insurance company covers the rest. By increasing the deductible to $500 instead of $300, you may pay 10% less for comprehensive coverage. You choose your deductible when you buy your policy.
- Take advantage of group plans. Check if you can get some of the same coverage more cheaply through a workplace plan. Or, if you belong to a group like a union, a professional association, or the Canadian Automobile Association (CAA), you may also get a lower group rate.
- Don’t pay for coverage you don’t need. Some people have more insurance than they need. For example, if your car is worth less than $1,000, do you need to cover it for every possible kind of damage? You’ll save money if you drop some damage insurance, like comprehensive. Also check your workplace plan for other types of insurance you already have. For example, if your employer covers you if you get hurt and can’t work, then you might need lower accident benefits from your car insurance. Learn more now about the accident benefits you would receive in a standard policy.
- Keep a good driving record. If you don’t have accidents, you’ll pay less for insurance. If you have a bad driving record, your insurance can cost a lot more.
- Take any discounts you can get: Insurance companies often offer discounts. For example, new drivers pay less for insurance if they take certain driver training programs. You can also get a discount if you buy your home and car insurance from the same company. This discount can be as high as 15%.
Remember: The most important thing to do is to make sure you get the right type of coverage.
If cost is a real issue, ask yourself: Do I really need this much insurance? What could happen if I don’t get it? Then decide what’s right for you.
Content in this section is provided in partnership with the Investor Education Fund, a non-profit organization promoting financial literacy to Canadians. To find out more go to GetSmarterAboutMoney.ca.