Are you a good driver? Do you also feel like you're paying high insurance rates because of other people's bad driving habits? Do you want to know how you could lower your car insurance and have more control over your premium? Or maybe you're a driver with a less-than-perfect driving record, but you want to learn how you can improve your record to help lower your auto insurance rates.
If either of these scenarios describes your situation, this article is for you. We will focus on two things: How having a clean driving record can reduce your auto insurance costs, and tips for driving more safely.
Here is the bottom line: Good Drivers Save on Car Insurance
A recent survey found 95% of Canadians consider themselves good drivers. But can that really be true? Let's say it's questionable. The same study found 93% of Canadians admitted to at least one bad driving behaviour. Among the riskiest behaviours mentioned by survey respondents were driving under the influence, distracted driving and fatigue.
We all know poor driving behaviours make driving riskier. And we all want to be as safe as possible. We want safety for ourselves, our families, our friends, and everyone. Reducing bad driving habits is an excellent goal for all drivers. If we all drive more safely, we can all benefit.
Do you know there are additional benefits to driving safely? They have to do with saving money. If you are a good driver with a clean driving record, you can save on your auto insurance. You can save hundreds of dollars (yes, that is hundreds, with an 's'!) each year.
Good and experienced drivers with clean driving records have lower car insurance premiums and better insurance coverage options. That is the nitty-gritty, the essence of it. Good, clean, safe driving pays off!
A clean driving record = lower insurance prices and more insurance options.
Convictions for driving offences can mean you will be charged a higher auto insurance premium.
Here is the thing to remember: If you have a clean driving record, you have more choices for competitive insurance prices and coverages from insurance companies across Ontario. Why? When an auto insurance company is determining how much it will charge for auto insurance, numerous factors are considered.
Insurance companies offer lower premiums to drivers who are less likely to have claims. And insurance companies know that drivers with more driving experience and clean driving records are less likely to have claims. Drivers with good driving records and experience behind the wheel are also likely to qualify for substantial money-saving discounts offered by insurance companies.
A clean driving record in Ontario is when you are an experienced driver, you have not had minor or major convictions in the past three years, and you have not had any at-fault accidents in the past six years or longer.
An experienced driver is a person who has been licensed for longer than six years. Generally, this type of driver is considered to know the rules of the road, have experience with all sorts of driving and weather conditions, dangerous driving situations, sudden maneuvers by other drivers, and be comfortable behind the wheel.
Insurance companies assess drivers based on a star system. When determining your star rating, insurance companies consider factors such as the number of years driving, your driving record, and the kind of car you drive. Drivers with clean driving records receive higher star ratings. The higher the star rating you receive, the lower the premium. If you are deemed to be a good driver and have a high star rating, insurance companies consider you to be less likely to have claims.
The simplest and most efficient way to get details on car insurance for good drivers is to speak to an insurance broker. The broker will contact several of Ontario's auto insurance companies and tell them about your clean driving record. The broker will work to get you the most competitive premiums available for your particular situation. After that, the broker will share details of the coverages and prices with you. You can then select the company with the insurance policy that best meets your needs.
Your driving record affects your insurance rate in numerous ways. If you are a new driver without a driving history, your auto insurance rates will be higher than those of experienced drivers with good driving records. Generally, after six years of driving experience, you can expect your rates to decrease as long as your driving record remains clean.
A significant benefit of having a clean driving record is paying less for your auto insurance. Benefits to a driver with a clean driving record include:
Traffic violations occur when a driver has a vehicle in motion and violates the law. When a driver is charged with a violation and found guilty, this is a conviction. Tickets that affect your driving record can be issued under the Highway Traffic Act and/or the Criminal Code of Canada.
There are three categories of driving convictions in Ontario that can damage a clean driving record: Criminal driving convictions, major driving convictions, and minor driving convictions.
Criminal Driving Convictions:
These are the most serious convictions and include driving violations such as:
Convictions for criminal driving offenses are very serious. These can result in significant fines, licence and driving restrictions, demerit points, even time in jail. These convictions have a substantial impact on your insurance options and prices.
Major Driving Convictions:
These are serious convictions and includes infractions such as:
Major driving convictions can negatively impact your auto insurance rates and options.
Minor Driving Convictions:
These are less serious convictions and include infractions such as:
Keeping minor driving tickets and convictions off your driving record helps a driver have a clean driving record.
Speeding tickets can adversely impact a driver's clean auto insurance record and insurance premium.
Here is what you need to know about how speeding tickets will impact auto insurance:
Parking tickets do not have an impact on your auto insurance unless you fail to pay them. If you don't pay parking tickets, your driver's licence can be suspended, and this does affect your auto insurance.
Yes, a distracted driving conviction will damage your clean driving record and increase your insurance rates. Some insurers will not renew a driver with a distracted driving conviction. Some companies increase rates for drivers with distracted driving convictions by 10 to 20%. Bottom line: A distracted driving conviction will mean you will pay more for auto insurance.
At-fault accidents can increase the price of your auto insurance. Ontario has a no-fault auto insurance system, which means that regardless of who is at fault in an accident, your insurance company deals with any claims associated with the accident.
Ontario's no-fault auto insurance system does not mean no one is deemed to be at fault when there is an accident. This is a common misunderstanding of the no-fault auto insurance system. Fault is determined in auto accidents. This is done by the insurance companies following established at-fault rules, and these determinations are used by insurance companies when assessing what auto insurance premiums they will charge.
A driver can get insurance coverage to protect them in case of an accident. This is often called accident forgiveness coverage. If you have a clean driving record and want to protect it, you will be eligible to purchase a driver protection insurance endorsement. This coverage will protect your good driving record should you have an accident. It means your auto rates will not be affected if you have your first at-fault accident as long as you stay with the same insurance company that insured you at the time of the accident. Accident forgiveness insurance is offered by most insurance companies in Ontario.
We get asked this question a lot. If you have a clean driving record, your auto rates usually do not fluctuate much. If they do increase, it can be due to a general rate increase.
Insurance companies must apply to the Financial Services Commission of Ontario (FSCO) if they want to increase or decrease their rates. "FSCO determines whether the proposed rates are reasonable and justified, reviews and approves each company's criteria for setting rates, and reviews its underwriting rules — the grounds the company uses to determine if it will sell auto insurance to a consumer," notes FSCO.
While some factors that determine your insurance premium are within your control – such as having a clean driving record – other factors are not. Factors outside an individual driver's control that affect rates are those being felt across the auto insurance industry. Increased auto insurance fraud and higher costs to repair the complex technology in today's vehicles are among these factors.
You can keep a good driving record by always driving safely and obeying all traffic laws.
One good way to save immediately and over time on your auto insurance is to sign up for a technology-based insurance rating programs which is offered by several insurance companies in Ontario. These programs have different names, some of the most common being telematics, Usage Based Insurance (UBI), or black box insurance. These services track a driver's individual driving. This means the driver’s good habits can be rewarded with reduced insurance rates. This can be a good option for people who say they are "tired of paying for other people's bad driving habits.
We hear this from lots of drivers who believe they are paying too much for auto insurance. They feel they are being penalized financially for the poor driving habits of others. It's entirely accurate that auto insurance premiums are affected by forces beyond an individual driver's control.
If you want more control over your auto insurance premium, a driving program that tracks your unique driving habits can be financially rewarding. Several insurance companies in Ontario offer savings if you participate in a program that uses app technology to monitor driving habits. The technology enables tracking of driving and things such as hard breaking (sudden stops), rapid acceleration, and distractions. These programs are free. Reports on driving performance are provided regularly to the driver. This means the driver is aware of how safely they are driving and areas where they can improve. Data is kept confidential between the policyholder and the insurance company.
These programs can be a great way to save hundreds of dollars on auto insurance. There are immediate sign-up discounts – usually about 10%. Further, if you demonstrate good driving habits, you may receive a discount – in some cases, up to 30 %! The amount of the discount is determined by how safely you drive. The better you drive, the more you save up to the maximum discount offered. Ask an insurance broker about these discounts.
Note that the discounts quoted here are those being offered at the time of writing. Discounts can change. It's best to contact an insurance broker to get details on these safe-driving programs and current discounts.
The best car insurance for drivers with clean driving records is available from insurance companies across Ontario. These insurers include Aviva, CAA Insurance, Chieftain, Chubb, Coachman, Dufferin, Economical, Elite, Gore Mutual, Guarantee, Hagerty, Heartland, Intact, Nova, Peel, Pembridge, Portage, SGI, Travelers, and Wawanesa.
Morison Insurance represents all of these insurance companies. We will shop at Canadian insurance companies to get clean drivers auto insurance at competitive rates. Our experienced brokers will explain important details about auto insurance, review coverages, and costs, so you can make an informed decision about your auto insurance. We will also help you to get any money-saving discounts available to you.
Morison Insurance is a full-service insurance brokerage. We provide home, auto, business, recreational, season home, high-value home, and other kinds of insurance. If you insure several items, you may receive a multi-policy discount.
In 2016, 33.8 million vehicles were registered in Canada. Ontario alone had 11.9 million vehicles registered, says Statistics Canada. And here's the thing: Every driver is going somewhere. And often, it seems, many drivers are in a hurry. Safety is priority number one when it comes to driving. Here are some driving tips to keep you safer. We encourage you to use them and share them with others.
Visibility means seeing and being seen. Know where you are and where others are. Check your mirrors every 5 seconds or so, says the ministry. Use your signals to let others know your intentions. Also, keep an eye on what is coming up. The farther you look ahead, the less surprised you will be, and the more time you will have to avoid hazards, notes the MOT.
Space means making sure you are leaving enough space between your vehicle and those behind and in front of you. The most significant risk is from the car in front of you, says the MOT. Stay back.
Communication means letting others know where you are and your intentions. Use signals. Make eye contact with pedestrians, other drivers, and cyclists whenever possible. Using your horn is also an option to get the attention of others. There are more tips from Ontario's Ministry of Transportation.
This content is written by our Morison Insurance team. It is provided for general information only. Insurance needs differ from person to person, and this article is therefore not a substitute for professional advice about your individual insurance needs which can be obtained by speaking to one of our brokers.