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Car ownership is one of the biggest drains on family finances. Physical distancing offers a way to temporarily lighten the load.

You’ll save on gas for sure. But if you’re driving less by working from home, there are opportunities to save much more by changing your vehicle insurance.

Two-car families, consider parking one of your vehicles and adjusting your insurance coverage accordingly. Anne Marie Thomas, insurance expert at InsuranceHotline.com, suggests removing all coverage on the second vehicle except comprehensive. That way, your vehicle is still protected against theft or fire.

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Ms. Thomas said a couple paying $300 per month to insure two vehicles might get that cost down to the $185 to $200 range by parking a second car, halting collision coverage on that vehicle and keeping only the comprehensive coverage.

Tempted to stop driving and dispense with insurance altogether? “I would not suggest to anyone that they cancel their coverage,” Ms. Thomas said. “Insurance companies like to see a period of continued coverage. So if you have a gap of a few months, that could potentially have a negative impact [on premiums].”

People who made long commutes to work may be able to save money simply by reporting to their insurer that they are working at home as a result of the pandemic, Ms. Thomas said.

Finally, Ms. Thomas reminds people to let their insurer know when they resume normal driving habits with a car they parked during the pandemic. “You’re going to have a lot going on when it’s time to get back to work,” she said. “Don’t forget to let your insurance company know you’re driving that vehicle again. Don’t drive without insurance.”

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Rob’s personal finance reading list…

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How to survive a financial emergency

A financial-planning firm created this thorough guide for people facing financial hardship as a result of the pandemic. Includes information on how to access government support programs.

Seven ways the pandemic will affect the economy

CBC business columnist Don Pittis includes debt-accumulation and housing in this survey of how COVID-19 might affect the economy.

COVID-19 and the housing market

An attempt to gauge the impact the virus will have on the residential real estate market by going back to the 2008-09 recession. One important difference between then and now: The previous recession was comparatively mild compared to what might be ahead.

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How to turn food in your cupboards into complete meals

Economize on grocery spending by using items already in your panty to make complete dinners.

Are you in debt? Do you suffer from FOMO?

Does fear of missing out mess with your finances? Have you spent too much because of social media? If so, we’d like to hear from you for a Globe podcast we are working on. Send us an email.

Ask Rob

Q: What market advice do you have for someone old enough to have quite a near investing horizon, five years or less, rather than the 10 to 20 years or longer stretch that most contemplate?

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A: What about keeping things safe and simple –a high-interest savings account or a three-year ladder of guaranteed investment certificates? There’s a strong chance that stocks will be higher in five years than they are now, but the future has never been hazier.

Do you have a question for me? Send it my way. Sorry I can’t answer every one personally. Questions and answers are edited for length and clarity.

Today’s financial tool

See how much Canada Emergency Response Benefit you qualify for.

In case you missed these Globe and Mail personal finance-related stories

  • How financial planners are helping clients through their financial difficulties
  • Working from home during this pandemic could provide tax savings
  • Can this couple still afford to retire given the turmoil in financial markets?

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