This article has been updated from a previous version.
No matter where in Canada you live, if you want to drive, basic auto insurance is a mandatory expense. And while you may not be able to get out of paying for it, you do have some control over how much you'll pay.
With the New Year upon us, why not make a resolution to save on auto insurance? Take advantage of some comparison shopping and inquire about potential discounts.
Here are 12 auto insurance discounts to watch out for in 2021, whether you’re opening a brand new policy, switching providers, or renewing your current policy. Ask your insurance company if you’re eligible for any of the following discounts — because the last thing you want to do is leave money on the table.
1. Driving school certificate insurance discount
If you successfully complete a driver training or education program, your auto insurance company might give you a lower rate. That’s helpful because when you’re first starting out, you don’t have any driver history, which means you could be facing higher rates right off the bat, since you’re potentially seen as a higher risk to insurance companies.
2. Increased deductible insurance discount
One of the simplest ways to bring down your auto insurance premiums is to opt for a higher deductible.
For example, instead of a $1,000 deductible, you could choose a $2,000 deductible, which means that in the event of a claim where you’re fully or partially at-fault, you’ll be on the hook for $2,000 out of your own pocket and your insurance company will cover the rest. By agreeing to take on more liability, you’ll see the savings reflected in your monthly premiums.
3. Winter tire insurance discount
Equipping your vehicle with winter tires isn’t just a responsible decision — it’s one that could save you money on your auto insurance premiums.
In Ontario, for instance, the Ontario government made it mandatory in 2016 for auto insurance companies to give drivers a 5% discount on their premiums if they install winter tires. But there are some parameters: depending on the insurance company, you’ll need to put your winter tires on by a certain date (usually November 1 or December 1) and keep them on until a certain date (usually March 30 or April 1).
4. Young drivers insurance discount
If you completed the Young Drivers of Canada program, you could be eligible for discounted insurance. Some auto insurance companies will even provide discounts to students who maintain high grades.
5. Telematics insurance discount
Installing a telematics device in your vehicle, or using an app that tracks your driving habits, can also earn you a discount on your auto insurance. Typically the way telematics work is, the safer your driving habits are, the higher your discount will be.
Many auto insurance companies offer telematics-based discounts. For example, Intact customers can save up to 30% by using the insurance company’s “my Drive” app.
6. Bundling insurance discount
Combining various insurance products with one insurance provider is a great way to save. If, for instance, you purchase auto insurance and home insurance from the same company, you’re bound to get a discount.
It’s a win-win for both you and the insurance provider: it gets more of your business, and you get a discount.
7. ICBC insurance discount
If you’re in the province of British Columbia, where auto insurance is administered by the government, you could be eligible for discounts from the Insurance Corporation of British Columbia (ICBC).
According to the ICBC website, drivers can earn discounts for having a low number of kilometres on their vehicle, being an experienced driver, being a senior, installing an anti-theft device, insuring a fleet of vehicles, and installing safety features, such as automatic emergency braking.
8. MTO certificate insurance discount
In Ontario, if you complete a Beginner Driver Education course that’s certified by the Ministry of Transportation, you’ll be able to collect a Driver Licence History document from any Service Ontario Centre, making you eligible for a potential discount on your auto insurance.
9. Private parking insurance discount
Because insurance is all about risk, it matters where your car is parked at the end of every day.
In big cities, sometimes all that’s available is street parking. In smaller cities or towns and rural areas, you may have access to a laneway or even a garage. An insurance company would look at the risk that comes with keeping your vehicle parked on the street (damage, theft) versus in a laneway or garage, and assess your premiums accordingly. If you have access to private parking, you might get a discount.
10. Retiree insurance discount
If you’re retired and live in Ontario, you might be able to secure a 5% to 15% discount on your auto insurance premium for your accident benefits coverage.
11. Multi-vehicle discount
Similar to the way bundling multiple policies under one insurance company gets you a discount, insuring multiple vehicles under the same policy can also get you a discount of anywhere from 5% to 15% off your premiums.
12. Renewal discount
If you stay with your same insurance company for a certain number of years and don’t have an at-fault accident during that time, you could be eligible for a discount of 5% to 20% when it comes time for your policy to renew.