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Mackay Insurance Blog

 

March 2020

5 Steps to Shop for Car Insurance Online in Ontario

key with insurance tag for auto insurance

Sometimes it seems you can buy just about anything online today.

Car insurance is no exception.

It has never been easier than it is today to shop for car insurance online in Canada.

But in exchange for the convenience of doing your research from home, you give up some potential cost savers that come with shopping over the phone or in person.

Plus, the world wide web is like the last Wild West frontier for shoppers – if you don’t know how to tell if an online auto insurer is legitimate, you might get taken for the wrong kind of ride.

In this post, we outline our tips for shopping effectively for car insurance online here in Ontario. Of course, you can always contact us directly for an insurance quote. We’re happy to do the shopping for you and find the best rate available for you from all of our vendors.

1. Get all your auto insurance needs down on paper

This may not be something you feel confident to answer yourself. But you can at least familiarize yourself with what the province of Ontario requires as far as a basic car insurance policy.

At the time of this post, the Financial Services Commission of Ontario mandates that your car insurance policy must at least meet the following requirements:

  • Third party liability coverage: $200,000 minimum

  • Income replacement benefit: 70 percent of gross income (up to $400/week)

  • Medical rehabilitation/non-catastrophic: $65,000

  • Medical rehabilitation/catastrophic: $1 million

  • Catastrophic/caregiver: $250/week for dependent 1 and $50 for each additional

  • Catastrophic/home: $100/week

  • Death and funeral: $25,000 payout to spouse; $10,000 payout to each dependent; $6,000 funeral expenses

These are the minimum legal requirements and are not adequate for anyone. As an example the minimum liability limit anyone should consider is $1,000,000, and the other minimum limits should be reviewed. However if you do an online quote for “basic coverage,” this may be all you are buying. Check what you are getting a price on against this checklist so you know what has been upgraded and what has not.

These minimum coverages also do not give you insurance on your car – for example, if it is stolen or if you bump into someone in a parking lot and your car is damaged.

2. Write down all possible savings and discount options

Because carrying car insurance is mandatory in Ontario, once you know the coverage you want, the coverage that companies provide will be similar. 

Where insurance companies can and do get competitive is in the types of discounts, savings and perks they offer their customers.

Here are examples of savings and discounts you may be eligible to receive:

  • Discounts and perks for memberships you have, and groups you are part of. As an example, at Mackay Insurance we represent one insurance company that will give a discount for CAA membership, and another insurance company that will reward you with Air Miles points.

  • Good driver discount: Accident-free for a certain period? This could save you money.

  • Discounts for how you pay your premium – you may be able to save money if you want to pay in two or three installments instead of in 12 monthly installments

  • Multiple policies: if you insure your cars and house with the same broker, you could get a valuable discount.

  • Good grades: For younger drivers, good grades can sometimes save you money on your policy.

  • On-board driver tracking device: part of a new breed of insurance policies called “usage-based insurance,” some insurers now offer savings for drivers who allow their driving to be monitored in real time.

  • Limited vehicle usage: If you drive only during certain hours of the day or on certain days or at certain times of year, this could lower your premium.

  • If you keep your car on your private driveway or in your garage at night instead of parking it on the street, you may be eligible for a discount.

3. Consider your deductible comfort zone

If you are still paying off a loan on your car, the lienholder may limit what your deductible options are.

In general, raising your deductible will lower your car insurance premiums. Just be sure you don’t raise your deductible beyond what you could readily pay out of pocket if your vehicle gets damaged. Get the price difference on a few deductible options and find the balance that makes sense. If a much larger deductible saves you only a few dollars, keep the lower deductible.

4. Be sure to verify that the insurer is licensed to provide policies to Ontario residents

This is a big one! When you shop for car insurance online, the burden is on you to be sure the quote you receive is from an insurer who is licensed to provide policies to Ontario residents.

Here at Mackay Insurance, we have heard just about every horror story there is about how customers got taken for a ride by unethical insurers.

We don't want this to happen to you! If you end up without insurance, you get hit three times. You may not be able to get back the premium you paid to an unethical, unlicensed company. You may pay a fine for not having proper insurance. And you won’t have the coverage you thought you were buying.

When in doubt, the best way to verify that the insurer is legitimately licensed to do business in Ontario is to contact the Financial Services Commission.

5. Research the insurer thoroughly before choosing your policy

Even after verifying that the insurer is legally permitted to offer you an auto insurance quote, you should do additional research to make sure the insurer has positive ratings and is in good standing in the community.

Look for independent reviews and read what other customers say about working with that insurer. Verify that the insurer has a local office, a brick-and-mortar physical location where you can meet with brokers or claims adjusters in person if you need or want to.

Get in Touch

Do you need help shopping online for Ontario car insurance? Our friendly, knowledgeable brokers can assist you!

Contact us online or give us a call at 1-888-853-5552.

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5 Tips to Help You Choose the Right Amount of Life Insurance

how much life insurance coverage do i need

Buying life insurance is never fun. But it doesn't have to be difficult or even stressful.

In fact, life insurance as a product is actually designed to help ease stress, worry and anxiety in your life.

With the right life insurance policy by your side, you can wake up each day knowing your loved ones will be taken care of financially should you suddenly be unable to provide for their needs.

But getting there can feel daunting, especially when you are trying to figure out which type of life insurance product offers what and how much of it all you actually need.

In this post, we aim to demystify and simplify life insurance step by step so you can select the right policy with ease and confidence.

Step 1: Choose Between Term and Permanent Life Insurance

There are two basic umbrella categories of life insurance: term and permanent.

Term life insurance

Term life insurance is the simpler of the two types of life insurance you can buy here in Canada.

Term life insurance gets its name from how it works: the policy is active for a set term and activates only if the policyholder dies. Once the policy term expires, it is necessary to buy a new term life insurance policy to stay covered, and the premium for the next term will generally be higher.

The one exception is if you purchase a convertible term life insurance policy. In this case, you can convert your policy into a permanent life insurance policy as long as you do so before the term expires.

You should choose term life insurance if:

  • You have debt and just need to know your family has financial protection in place until the debt is retired.

  • You have a limited budget for life insurance and need predictable premiums.

  • You are building an investment portfolio elsewhere.

Permanent life insurance

Permanent life insurance is sometimes also called universal or whole life insurance, although there are some important differences about each.

Essentially, permanent life insurance is a type of policy that is, as its name implies, permanent - it stays with you throughout life and your premium is generally the same for your entire life. It also has a value in addition to the amount it pays out when you die, so it is like a combination life insurance policy and investment.  

As such, permanent life insurance is often viewed as both a protective policy and an investment policy.

You should choose permanent life insurance if:

  • You want to add life insurance to your investment portfolio.

  • You are able to afford the higher premiums for having a cash value to your policy.

  • You want to offer your dependents a guaranteed death benefit payout.

  • You are interested in the tax benefits from holding a life insurance policy.

  • You want the flexibility to access the equity on your policy in emergencies.

Step 2: Decide How Much Life Insurance You Need to Buy

Because the whole topic of life insurance can feel emotionally charged, it can be good to talk through this step in the decision-making process with your insurance broker.

Having friendly, knowledgeable, objective input can really simplify the planning process.

We like to give our clients this simple 4-step worksheet:

1. How much debt are you carrying?

You may have a car note, a mortgage, student loans, credit card debt or all of the above.

In the event your income suddenly ceases, these creditors will be first in line to gobble up any available resources.

So you definitely want to make sure you purchase sufficient life insurance to cover your debts until they are paid in full.

2. Who is financially dependent on you?

Do you have a spouse? Children? Grandchildren? Elderly parents? Pets?

Consider who among your loved ones may find themselves in sudden financial distress if you were to pass prematurely.

3. What is your monthly net income?

At the very least, you want your life insurance policy to be able to cover your ongoing monthly financial obligations (such as debt) plus replace your monthly net income.

4. What are your dependents' future financial needs?

If you are saving for a child's higher education or have an aging loved one who may need future care, these are examples of financial needs to factor in when choosing your policy amount.

Buy Earlier And Pay Less in Life Insurance Premiums

Like any insurance product, life insurance premium quotes factor in a variety of risk variables.

The major risk variable when it comes to life insurance, however, is, well, death. So it just makes sense that you may well pay lower insurance premiums when you are young.

This can be helpful for budgeting as well as future financial and investment planning.

Other Ways to Save on Life Insurance Costs

You may also be able to trim your premium costs by taking advantage of these cost-saving tips.

  • Ask your employer about group life insurance (employer-sponsored life insurance).

  • Opt for term life insurance if premium costs are a real issue.

  • Choose a shorter term up front.

  • Use a life insurance broker like Mackay Insurance that can shop around for the best rates on your behalf.

  • Pay for your premiums once annually instead of monthly or semi-annually.

  • Ask about preferred rates (these can include non-smokers, health history, etc.).

  • Buy a stand-alone life insurance policy instead of mortgage life insurance.

Get in Touch

Do you need expert, objective guidance to help you protect your loved ones through the purchase of a life insurance policy? We can help! Just complete this simple online form to get a no-obligation life insurance quote.

Contact us online or give us a call at 888-853-5552.

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