Car insurance in Etobicoke
Like other districts in Toronto, Etobicoke requires car drivers, owners and lessees to carry valid auto insurance. Not doing so can lead to a fine ranging from $5,000 to $50,000, in addition to a driver’s license suspension and vehicle impoundment.
The Financial Services Regulatory Authority of Ontario (FSRA) is the governing body responsible for overseeing the auto insurance industry. It makes sure that all providers are licensed and follow the rules, while delivering fair rates to their customers.
With that in mind, let’s look at the different types of coverage offered to you in Etobicoke.
Mandatory Etobicoke auto insurance coverage
To ensure your auto insurance meets government-mandated requirements, it must include the following coverages:
- Third-party liability: If your vehicle causes death or injury to another person, or damages their vehicle, basic third-party liability will cover you for up to $200,000. In Ontario, this is the minimum amount of coverage you must have, and it only comes into play if the other person is not covered by your insurance (aka they are not a member of your household).
- Accident benefits: This will cover you if you get injured in a car accident – whether you’re the at-fault driver or not. The basic package will provide you with supplementary medical, rehabilitation and attendant care, caregiver and income replacement benefits.
- Direct compensation for property damage (DCPD): With this, you can directly receive money from your insurer to cover the loss of or damage to your car and its contents. There are several caveats to this – the accident must occur in Ontario, and it must involve only one other car – either insured by a company licensed in Ontario or approved by the FSRA.
- Uninsured driver: In the event you suffer injury or death, or your car gets damaged, due to a hit-and-run by an uninsured vehicle, this will cover the associated costs.
Non-mandatory Etobicoke auto insurance coverage
While basic auto insurance should have you covered in most cases, you can always build on top of your coverage. Here’s what you can add:
- Third-party liability increase: If the minimum coverage of $200,000 is not enough for you, you can increase it to $500,000, $1 million or $2 million.
- Accident benefits increase: You can expand your coverage for benefits such as income replacement, medical, rehabilitation and attendant care, death and funeral, caregiver and housekeeping and home maintenance expenses. For instance, in the case of the caregiver benefit, the maximum amount is $250 per week for the first dependent and $50 per week for each additional dependent. However, with the standard coverage, you can only claim the money if you suffer a catastrophic injury. Thanks to an optional add-on, you can make it claimable for all injuries.
- Dependent care benefits: If you don’t have the aforementioned caregiver benefit, this will cover your childcare expenses in case of an accident. The amount is $75 a week for the first dependent and $25 a week for every subsequent dependent. You must be employed at the time of the accident for this to come into play.
- Indexation: This covers an annual adjustment for inflation for benefits like income replacement, caregiver and others.
- Comprehensive: Comprehensive insurance encompasses items under ‘specified perils’ and ‘collision or upset’ coverages, in addition to covering damage or loss from falling or flying objects, vandalism and missiles.
- Specified perils: If your vehicle gets damaged due to an unforeseen event like fire, theft, windstorm, lightning or earthquake, this will pay for your expenses.
- Collision or upset: Collision insurance will cover the costs of a collision with another vehicle or your own (insured) trailer attachment. The upset coverage will protect you if your car rolls over due to an uneven surface of the ground or an object in or on the ground.
- All perils: This is a combination of ‘collision or upset’ and ‘comprehensive’ coverages. It will also protect you if your vehicle gets stolen by someone who lives in your household or drives, uses, services or repairs your vehicle as part of their job.
Ready to buy auto insurance? Be sure to compare quotes on LowestRates.ca to find the cheapest auto insurance price available in Etobicoke.
Factors that determine your car insurance rates in Etobicoke
You may have noticed that some people get higher insurance rates than others for what seems like arbitrary reasons. In reality, insurers take several different factors into consideration when determining your rate, all of which are meant to estimate the likelihood of you making a claim. The likely you are to do it, the lower your rate will be.
Here are some of the factors they consider:
- Your driving experience: The more you drive, the more experienced you become and the less likely you are to get into an accident and file claim – at least, statistically speaking. This, in turn, lowers your insurance premiums. If you’re a novice driver, with no driving history, you must drive regularly and build that history as quickly as you can.
- Your driving record: Of course, nothing can negate your experience more than a bad driving record. If you collect a lot of traffic tickets due to speeding and other infractions or you get into many accidents, which require filing a claim, then you’ll have a poor driving record. This leads to higher premiums. The best away to avoid this problem is to drive more carefully, or take driving courses, if you’re still struggling.
- Your age and sex: These two may seem a bit unfair, depending on who you ask. If you’re under the age of 25, insurers will automatically label you as an ‘inexperienced driver’ and charge you a high premium. If you also happen to be male, then your premium will be even higher. According to the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS), male drivers are more likely to speed, drive while inebriated and neglect wearing a seat belt than their female counterparts. As a result, they are also more likely to get into a car crash. Fortunately, both factors become irrelevant the older you become.
- Your vehicle: Every vehicle of every year, make and model has a Canadian Loss Experience Automobile Rating (CLEAR), determined by how likely it is to have a claim filed for it. The higher likelihood of claims leads to a higher premium. There are several factors this rating incorporates. One of them is the presence of safety features like anti-theft devices, driver assist and anti-lock brakes. To lower your premium, you can add them to your vehicle, if they are missing.
- How often you drive: While driving regularly makes you a more experienced driver, driving too often can also increase your likelihood of getting into an accident, no matter how clean your record is. This, in turn, will increase your premium. The only solution is to either drive less or go with usage-based insurance (UBI), which will monitor your driving habits via a device installed on your vehicle. If it deems you a ‘safe driver,’ your premium will be lower.
- Where you live (and park your car): This is another slightly unfair factor, since most people don’t really have control over where they live or park their car. If your area has congested roads and too many instances of car theft and vandalism, then your premium will be higher. Since Etobicoke is part of Toronto, which has some of the most expensive auto insurance rates in Ontario, the premiums in your area are likely to be high as well. You can reduce your premium by bundling your auto insurance with your home or tenant insurance and by implementing some of the other suggestions mentioned here.
Car insurance rates for Etobicoke seniors
When most people think of seniors, they usually picture people aged 65 or older. However, in the insurance world, you can get the benefit of seniority as early as the age of 50. Statistically, drivers over 50 are the least likely to file a claim – due to their extensive driving experience. And as you already know, fewer claims lead to lower rates.
Despite this, once you retire, you may still find it difficult to afford auto insurance, which is why we recommend the following:
- Usage-based insurance (UBI): By letting your insurer install a device that tracks your driving habits (e.g. your speed, how you brake or turn, etc.), you can secure a lower rate. If you’re a careful driver, who follows all the rules, this is a great way to save some money.
- Bundle your insurance policies: Buy your car insurance policy from the insurer that provides your home or tenant insurance (or vice versa). In most cases, this should give you a decent discount.
- Join an association: If you’re a member of an association like the Canadian Association of Retired Persons (CARP), you can get a lower auto insurance rate through them.
- Inquire about loyalty discounts: It’s probable that you’ve been with the same insurance provider for a long time. Ask them about their loyalty discount, as they may offer you a solid price cut.
- Inquire about retiree discounts: Insurers tend to offer discounts to seniors, such as a mature driver discount, retiree discount or claims/conviction-free discount (which works only if you haven’t filed a claim in a while).
- Look for a better rate, elsewhere: If your current insurer fails to give you a discount, it may be time to look for a new one. Consider using a free online tool like LowestRates.ca to find the cheapest auto insurance quotes in your area.
Car insurance rates for students in Etobicoke
If you’re under the age of 25 and you happen to be a student, then paying an auto insurance premium can be a tough proposition. You don’t have a consistent income (due to being in school) and your premiums are exceedingly high.
Insurers charge drivers under 25 more than older drivers because they are more likely to get into a serious accident and file claim. In fact, according to the Traffic Injury Research Foundation, more than 700 young people are killed in road crashes each year in Canada, while 50,000 are injured, often seriously. Insurers factor statistics like these into their rates, and unfortunately, even safe young drivers can’t escape their high premiums (mainly because insurers lack the data to tell safe and unsafe drivers apart).
However, you don’t have to be stuck with high premiums for long. Here’s what you can do to lower them:
- Drive carefully: This doesn’t just mean avoiding car accidents. You should also do your best not to receive traffic tickets for violations such as speeding, as they go into your driving record. A poor driving record indicates a higher likelihood of an accident, which increases your premium.
- Go to a driving school: Government-approved driving courses will not only help you become a better driver but reduce your insurance rates. That’s because certified drivers are more likely to follow the rules of the road and less likely to get into an accident.
- Bundle your insurance policies: You can get a good discount by combining your auto insurance policy with your tenant or home insurance policy.
- Try usage-based insurance (UBI): Get your insurance company to implement a device on your vehicle that tracks how safely you drive (e.g. how you turn or brake, your speed, etc.). If you drive safely, your rate will be lower.
- Compare insurance providers: No insurance provider will offer you the same rate. So, consider comparing quotes on free websites like LowestRates.ca to get the lowest student insurance rates available.
Car insurance for new immigrants in Etobicoke
As a newcomer to Canada who wants to drive, there are two things you need to worry about: getting a Canadian driver’s license and purchasing auto insurance.
When it comes to insurance, the biggest problem that afflicts many immigrants is the absence of an insurance record from their previous country (as not every country requires drivers to have auto insurance). Because of this, insurers label them as ‘inexperienced drivers’ and charge them a high premium.
Given that living in Canada can already be a pricy proposition, piling a high insurance premium on top of that is bound to make things worse. However, there are several options you can try:
- Bundle your insurance policies: Bundle your car insurance policy with your home or tenant insurance. This should cheapen both of them for you.
- Go to a driving school: Though you may be an experienced driver already, taking government-approved courses increases your chances of being perceived as a safe driver by insurers, which will lead to lower premiums.
- Get usage-based insurance (UBI): Have your insurance company monitor your driving habits (e.g. how you brake or turn, your speed, etc.) via a device installed on your vehicle. The safer you drive, the lower the premium.
- Continue building your driving record: Drive regularly and carefully. Avoid getting traffic tickets and filing claims (unless you have to, of course). As you build your driving record – preferably a clean one – your insurance rates will go down eventually.
- Compare insurance quotes: Never stop looking for a good deal on auto insurance. Be sure to look for cheap insurance rates for newcomers on websites like LowestRates.ca, which compare quotes for free.
Car insurance for high-risk drivers in Etobicoke
If your driving record has too many traffic violations and/or if you’ve been in multiple at-fault car accidents, insurers will label you as a ‘high-risk driver,’ significantly increasing your insurance premium. Some insurers may refuse to work with you in the first place, in which case you’d have to consult the Facility Association – an organization that consists of every auto insurer in Canada and provides insurance to those who can’t get it the normal way.
For most high-risk drivers, however, the biggest worry is high premiums. Here are some steps you can take to lower them:
- Improve your driving record: Do everything within your power to become a safer driver. Don’t speed, don’t drink and drive and always wear your seat belt. You should also consider taking driving courses or getting another experienced driver to examine your driving habits, as you may have some knowledge gaps.
- Compare auto insurance rates: Some auto insurers offer lower rates to high-risk drivers than others. Consider comparing them via online tools like LowerRates.ca to find the best price.