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Here's How to Get the Best Car Insurance in the Greater Toronto Area

When most people think about fun things to do, “shopping for car insurance” doesn’t spring to mind. The good news is that buying car insurance doesn’t have to be a chore. In fact, it can be a rewarding experience if you know what steps to take to save money and get the best policy. And if you live in Toronto, saving money is probably one of your top priorities. As one of the most expensive cities in North America, Toronto is famous for beautiful scenery, rapid economic growth, diversity and a rising cost of living. While you may not be able to do much about housing prices, you can control how much you pay for things like car insurance in the greater Toronto area. If you’re looking for the best car insurance in the GTA, keep our 10 insurance shopping tips in mind.

Shop Around

In a country as big as Canada, driving is a necessity. In fact, Canadians drove 294.4 billion kilometres in 2008. With all this driving, car insurance is a must. In fact, every province in the country requires drivers to carry a minimum amount of car insurance. However, this doesn’t mean that all car insurance policies are the same. Just like any other product, car insurance prices can vary widely from insurer to insurer. The insurance industry is always changing. Your life changes, too. If it’s been awhile since you shopped for car insurance, you may be eligible for new discounts. It’s also very possible that prices have changed, or that a different insurer is offering a rate your current insurance company can’t match.

Here's How to Get the Best Car Insurance in the Greater Toronto Area
If you stick with the same insurance company for years, you’ll save on your policy, right? While it’s true that many insurance companies offer discounts for longtime customers, it’s inaccurate to say that you will always get the best price by sticking with the same insurer.

Don't Be Afraid to Go Small (or Big)

You probably see a lot of commercials from big insurance companies. Just because an insurance company has a wide reach, however, doesn’t mean it’s necessarily the best fit for your needs. On the other hand, don’t assume that a large company will automatically treat you like a number. Many drivers are happy with large insurers. Likewise, a smaller insurer may offer the best coverage at a price that complements your budget. Just because an insurance company is local or regional doesn’t mean it can’t offer the same quality coverage as the big guys. This is where an insurance broker can help. At My Insurance Broker, we partner with 28 of the top insurance companies in Canada, including national brands as well as local and regional carriers. Our experienced brokers can help you compare coverage and rates, so you can be confident you’re making an informed decision about your policy.

Ask for Discounts

There are a lot of ways to save on car insurance, but you might not know if a discount is available unless you ask. Perhaps one of the most common ways to save is by bundling your policies with one insurance company. If you have a homeowners policy, insurance for your business or life insurance coverage, it might be worth it to switch to one insurer for all your insurance needs. Discounts are also available for good drivers, customers who pay their policy up front, retirees, insurers with multiple vehicles on the same policy and drivers whose vehicles have advanced safety or anti-theft features. This is by no means an exhaustive list, so be sure to ask insurers for all available discounts.

Pick the Right Car

You might have saved up for years to buy that pricey SUV or sleek sports car, but your vehicle’s price tag might come with hidden fees — in the form of insurance. If your vehicle is a theft magnet or built to break speed records, you could end up handing over more cash than you bargained for when it comes to insurance coverage. The list of most (and least) expensive cars to insure changes from year to year, but you can generally get a good idea of which types of models will cost you more in car insurance premiums. The 2017 Cars.com list of cheapest cars to insure includes no less than five Jeep models, as well as two Subarus and the Honda Odyssey minivan. On the expensive side? That honor goes to six Mercedes models, with a Maserati and Audi throw in for good measure. According to Michael Pruser at DoughRoller, one thing that many drivers forget is that it isn’t just expensive cars that cost more to afford — cars that are frequently stolen also tend to be more expensive to cover. “How many of the very same car are reported stolen every year? The higher the number, the higher the premium you pay,” says Pruser. Fortunately, you can check insurance prices before you head to the dealership. At My Insurance Broker, you can get a free online car insurance quote in just two minutes with our quick quote tool.

Skip Coverage You Don't Need

Insurance is a good thing, which means more car insurance is always better, right? Actually, that’s not always the case. Depending on the age and condition of your vehicle, it might not make good financial sense to spend extra for collision coverage and other kinds of additional protection. These add-ons are better suited to newer or pricier vehicles, so be sure to ask your insurance broker about your coverage options and what kind of policy makes the most sense for you.

Explore Usage-Based Coverage

According to Joel Eastwood at The Star, “GTA drivers pay the highest insurance rates in Canada, with an average cost per car of $1,500 a year.” This probably isn’t news to anyone who lives in Toronto. Car insurance in the GTA may be pricey, but there are ways to manage your costs. One alternative to a typical car insurance policy is usage-based coverage. With a usage-based policy, you use a GPS tracking device to monitor how much you drive, when you drive and how often you brake or accelerate. Good drivers — and less frequent drivers — can save with a usage-based policy. Eastwood states, “The maximum savings is 25 per cent, though this is only possible if the distance driven is less than 15,000 kilometres a year.” If you have a short commute, you’re retired or you work from home, a usage-based policy could be your ticket to more affordable car insurance coverage.

Consider Raising Your Deductible

If your budget allows, raising your deductible could help you lower your insurance premiums. By agreeing to pay a little more in the event you need to make a claim, you could save on your monthly premiums. Before you make this move, however, it’s important to make sure you can absorb the financial hit of a higher deductible.

Loyalty Doesn’t Always Save You Money

If you stick with the same insurance company for years, you’ll save on your policy, right? While it’s true that many insurance companies offer discounts for longtime customers, it’s inaccurate to say that you will always get the best price by sticking with the same insurer. In fact, a Consumer Reports study found that “...some insurers give a sizable discount, others give a small one, and still others offer nothing at all. Some insurers even salute your allegiant with a price hike.” When the study compared insurers in Washington State, for example, researchers found that seven out of 15 insurance companies didn’t give discounts to married couples who had been with the company for 15 years or more. This is why it’s important to reexamine your car insurance coverage every year. Don’t take it for granted that your years of faithfully paying your premiums on time will result in big price breaks. Always take the time to shop around for a more affordable policy.

Maintain a Clean Driving Record

One of the best ways to save on car insurance is to drive responsibly and safely. While you can’t control how other drivers behave on the road, you can do your part to stay safe behind the wheel. Many insurance companies offer good driver discounts, so stay alert every time you hit the road. Your wallet will thank you.

Work with an Insurance Broker

When it comes to buying car insurance, you have three options: an insurance agent, a direct writer or an insurance broker. Insurance agents represent one insurance company, which means they can only offer policies from one insurer. Direct writers work directly for the insurance company and write policies specifically for that company. So what about insurance brokers? With a broker, you get the advantage of seeing prices and policy options from a variety of insurance companies. For example, My Insurance Broker offers insurance from the top 15 insurers in Canada. Better yet, we do the groundwork for you. Just input your information, and we’ll show you quotes from insurers across Canada. Check out our auto quoter to see how it works, and how you can save up to 25 per cent on your next policy.

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