Every year, Ontario drivers are tasked with reviewing their current car insurance coverage and deciding if they are still receiving the best price. But how do you know if your premium is still a fair price? You may decide to look for quotes to switch your coverage at renewal, or when major life events happen. Big changes, like moving to a new residence or purchasing a new vehicle, can affect your insurance rates. The good news is, if you need a quote for auto insurance, it’s faster and easier than ever. At isure, we’ve got you covered with this guide to applying for car insurance quotes, wherever you’re at.
How does car insurance work in Canada?
In Canada, the way you go about getting a quote for car insurance will vary depending on where you live. Provinces have either private or public auto insurance – and one even has both! Ontario residents can purchase their insurance privately. Private insurance companies compete against each other for your business. As a customer, you can shop around for quotes and choose which one is most in line with your needs. This means comparing coverages and customer service – and who’s got the best price, of course.
In provinces like British Columbia, Manitoba, and Saskatchewan, residents may purchase public insurance – offered by the provincial government. Meanwhile, Québec’s car insurance plan is a hybrid plan between public and private insurance. The Société de l’assurance automobile du Québec (SAAQ) public insurance plan covers all Quebecers for personal injury if they are in an accident. Everything else – like coverage for damage to your actual car – has to be bought from a private car insurer, like in Ontario.
What do you need to apply for car insurance?
When you are looking to apply for car insurance, the insurance company will require information in order to determine your rates. These factors can be broken down into three categories:
1. Vehicle information
- Vehicle make, model, and year
- The main use of the vehicle (for work or pleasure)
- Expected usage (mileage)
2. Driver information
- Full name
- Postal code – If you live in an urban centre, like downtown Toronto or Vancouver, your premiums will most likely be higher due to the increased risk of an accident.
- Date of birth – Younger drivers (under 25 years of age) are seen as a higher risk by insurers, as too are retirees.
- Marital status
- Licence information
- Licence type – The type of licence you have determines the type of vehicle you are allowed to drive and be insured for. For a complete breakdown of the types of licences available, please click here.
- Type of car driven – If your vehicle is prone to theft or accidents, or is expensive to repair, you will most likely pay higher premiums.
You should also take note of the physical condition of your car and mention any existing damage. Insurance companies may also want to know if it’s four-wheel drive or two-wheel drive if they don’t have that vehicle information in front of them during the quote.
- Date G1/G2/G was obtained
- Licence suspensions – While your licence is suspended, you won’t be able to purchase auto insurance in Ontario. After which, insurance providers will consider you a “high-risk driver” – a factor that will increase your insurance rates by at least 10%, and as much as 50%.
- Completion of a Canadian driver training course – new drivers are encouraged to take drivers education courses to better prepare them for driving and as an added perk, discounts are available to those that do.
- Accident/ticket/claims history – Traffic tickets are divided into three categories:
- Serious convictions
- Each of these types can affect your rates, regardless of the number of demerit points or the severity of the fine associated with the traffic infraction.
3. Insurance history
- Current insurance status (renewing/new driver/retired)
- Years of continuous insurance coverage
- Years insured
- Previous insurance cancellations (due to non-payment, tickets, etc.)
In addition, you will have to choose your coverage type and deductibles, both of which have an effect on the insurance premium.
Buying car insurance
For Canadian residents, there are several options when looking to apply for car insurance to purchase:
Individuals who sell insurance on behalf of several insurance companies (such as an isure broker). Purchasing insurance through a broker is beneficial when you need help to choose the best coverage and rate, as well as their experience with processing claims.
Individuals who sell insurance on behalf of only one company.
Insurance companies sell insurance directly to the consumer, usually online or through a call center. As you are buying directly from the insurer, you are eligible for discounts not available to brokers. There are also no broker fees. Many like the convenience of being able to complete the transaction online, however, if you have never bought insurance before, you do not have access to assistance in weighing up the options offered.
What coverages should you choose when applying for car insurance?
This is possibly one of the biggest costs of being a car owner that will remain constant. Of course, you can’t own a vehicle with the purpose of driving it without purchasing car insurance (it’s illegal!) This is a mandatory requirement to have before you get behind the wheel of your new car. According to Ontario law, each driver must have a basic auto policy at the very least:
- Third-party liability coverage
- Direct Compensation Property Damage (DCPD),
- Accident Benefits (AB) protection and
- Uninsured automobile coverage.
Beyond this, insurance providers offer a plethora of additional protection that can be catered to you and your needs, such as:
- Comprehensive coverage: Comprehensive insurance covers incidents that don’t involve another vehicle. This includes natural disasters, theft, vandalism, and fires.
- Collision coverage: Collision insurance is exactly what it sounds like! It will pay for damages or losses resulting from a car accident whether you are at fault or not. This will also help you in the event you hit an object, such as a tree or pole, or if you are involved in a hit-and-run.
- All Perils and Specified Perils: Although they’re a less common choice among drivers, you also have the option to select either of these options.
If you’re one of the 37% of car owners leasing or financing a vehicle, you’ll probably be required to have All Perils or both collision and comprehensive coverages, as well as a minimum deductible, too.
Car insurance discounts
Auto insurance discounts are available under a variety of conditions, ranging from life, vehicle, history, and more. From policy discounts to vehicle discounts, individual discounts tied to your age or proximity to work, we’ve got you covered. The amount you can save varies greatly, but one thing is for sure – you should contact one of our isure representatives for a quote and see what you might just be able to save!
To learn more about the auto discounts that are available, please click here.
The bottom line on applying for car insurance
As you begin researching various insurance companies and packages, you may become overwhelmed. How do you decide which car insurance quote to choose? A good price is what usually clinches the deal, but it’s important to ensure the company you go with has the right coverage for you alongside top-notch customer service and claims experiences. At isure, we want to take the stress and the guesswork out of the process for you. When you need to apply for car insurance, we want you to get the best possible price that will suit all your needs. If you have any questions about car insurance, contact one of our isure brokers for help today.