Mackay Insurance Blog
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
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.