Even with government sponsored insurance, Canada has some of the highest rates for personal auto insurance; especially if you’re a young single male. Typically, every insurance carrier will surcharge young drivers even without tickets or accidents in their record.
There are some things the consumer can do to reduce the final cost of their auto insurance:
• Shop around, especially after a rate increase. With over 100 auto insurers in Canada, the competition can only benefit the consumer. With the advent of online comparative raters, it only makes good sense to shop your business with as many companies as possible to find the best value possible.
• Bundle your policies. Almost every insurance carrier will offer substantial discounts for multi-policy customers. Typically, multi-policy customers stay with their carrier longer and are less tempted to shop their policies. This reduces the company’s cost of customer acquisition which is passed on to the consumer in the form of discounts.
• Stay away from captured agents. Independent brokers usually represent multiple companies and therefore are not obligated to sell just their flagship brand. This results in the broker putting the needs of their client over the needs of the company. The broker will in most cases, take the initiative to start shopping your policies as soon as they are aware of substantial rate increase. The captured agent has one brand and it is a take it or leave it presentation.
• Consider the value, not just the price. Yes, some carriers offer better claim and customer service than others. Not posting a phone number on their website is a dead giveaway. Anytime you find it is difficult to locate a customer service or claims phone number on the website, it usually means that they prefer little customer to company interaction and that is not a good thing.
When you are in the market to purchase insurance, speak to friends and relatives about who they are using; and ask if they’re happy with their agent or broker. If they’re happy with them they’ll tell you and if they’re not happy, they will tell you more.