This article has been updated from a previous version.
No matter where you live in Canada, basic auto insurance is a mandatory expense if you want to drive. 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.
Take advantage of comparison shopping and inquire about potential car insurance discounts to save on your annual auto insurance premium.
Here are 12 auto insurance discounts you may qualify for, whether you’re buying car insurance for the first time, switching providers, or renewing your current policy. Ask your car insurance company if you’re eligible for any of the following discounts that can lower your car insurance rate. The last thing you want to do is leave money on the table.
1. Driving school certificate insurance discount
How to get this car insurance discount: If you successfully complete a government-recognized driver training or education program, your auto insurance company might give you a lower rate. This is one of the best car insurance deals for new drivers since they don’t have any driver history when starting out.
Young or new drivers typically face higher rates right off the bat since they’re seen as a higher risk to insurance companies. The more experience drivers gain, the less potential risk they pose to insurance providers, resulting in bigger discounts on car insurance rates.
However, even if your insurance provider doesn’t provide this discount, they may offer a lower premium once you become fully licensed. Onlia, for instance, offers “a graduated licence discount of 10% when you move from a G2 to a full G,” says Petar Germanski, the company’s business development lead.
2. Increased deductible insurance discount
How to get this car insurance discount: One of the simplest ways to bring down your auto insurance premium 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 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 premium.
3. Winter tire insurance discount
How to get this car 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 premium.
In Ontario, for instance, the government made it mandatory in 2016 for auto insurance companies to give drivers a 5% discount on their premium 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 15 or April 1).
4. Young drivers insurance discount
How to get this car insurance discount: If you completed the Young Drivers of Canada program, you could be eligible for a discounted insurance rate. The driving school will issue a certificate to get the insurance discount in Ontario, proving you passed the course.
Some auto insurance companies will even provide car insurance discounts to students who maintain high grades. Ask your insurance broker or agent if you qualify for this discount.
5. Telematics insurance discount
How to get this car insurance discount: Installing a telematics device in your vehicle, or using an app that tracks your driving habits, can earn you a discount on your auto insurance. Typically, the safer your driving habits are, the higher your discount will be when using telematics.
"We do recommend that you install a telematics device, as it helps you better understand your driving behaviour and where you can improve,” says Germanski. Many auto insurance companies offer telematics-based discounts. For example, Onlia offers monthly cash back of up to $40/month or $480/year, while Intact customers can save up to 30% by using the insurance company’s “my Drive” app.
6. Bundling insurance discount
How to get this car insurance discount: Combining various insurance products with one insurance provider is a great way to save. If, for instance, you bundle home and auto insurance with the same company, you’re bound to get a discount on one or both policies. Tenants can also bundle their car and renters insurance to pay less. Most companies offer additional savings for other motor vehicles as well. For example, it can be best to bundle auto and home insurance with your motorcycle insurance, too. 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
How to get this car insurance discount: If you’re in the province of British Columbia, where the government administers auto insurance, 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 like, a passive electronic immobilizer, insuring a fleet of vehicles, and having safety features, such as automatic emergency braking.
8. MTO certificate insurance discount
How to get this car 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’s licence history document from any ServiceOntario Centre, making you eligible for a potential discount on your auto insurance.
9. Private parking insurance discount
How to get this car insurance discount: Because insurance is all about risk, it matters where you park your car at the end of every day.
In big cities, sometimes all that’s available is street parking. In smaller cities, towns, or 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 — such as damage or theft — versus in a laneway or garage and assess your premium accordingly. If you have access to private parking, you might get a discount.
10. Senior car insurance discount
How to get this car insurance discount: If you’re retired, you might be able to secure a 5% to 15% auto insurance discount in Ontario for your accident benefits coverage.
11. Multi-vehicle insurance discount
How to get this car insurance discount: Similar to how you save with combined car and home insurance, insuring multiple vehicles under the same policy can also get you a discount of up to 20% off your premium.
“The discount comes off both policies in one payment,” says Germanski.
12. Car renewal discount
How to get this car insurance discount: If you stay with your same insurance company for a certain number of years and don’t have an at-fault collision during that time, you could be eligible for a loyalty discount of up to 20% when it comes time for your policy to renew.
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About the author
Lisa is a senior editor in the personal finance space. Her work has appeared in Reader’s Digest, Toronto Life, Canadian Living and TVO. As a child, she diligently hoarded the $50 bills that fell out of her Christmas cards. Adult Lisa is working hard to resurrect those stockpiling tendencies.