Little-known ways to save money on your home and car insurance
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Depending on where you live, what kind of property you own and what type of vehicle you drive, insurance premiums can be a costly expense.
But there are ways to reduce those costs, and sometimes all it takes is a phone call to your insurance agent. Here are 10 tips on how to save money on insurance:
Your car's safety features
If your vehicle has modern safety features, such as a lane departure warning system and blind spot detection, some insurance providers may give you a discount.
The type of car you drive also matters. Each vehicle make and model is rated differently by insurance companies, based on safety features and theft rates.
If you're worried about theft, you can also check whether your car is on the Insurance Bureau of Canada's latest list of top 10 stolen vehicles.
Your driving habits
A number of insurers offer their clients the option to use telematics technology, which tracks driving habits such as speed, braking patterns and distance travelled.
Those who demonstrate good driving habits can be rewarded with lower insurance premiums. At Allstate Insurance that discount can be up to 30 per cent, said Greg Bergeron, Allstate's Ottawa-area agency manager.
Some insurance providers also offer low-mileage discounts to clients who don't drive their cars very far or often.
Drop collision coverage on older vehicles
If your vehicle is more than 10 years old and of low value, consider dropping collision coverage.
"That can save you a few hundred bucks easy," Bergeron told CTVNews.ca in a phone interview from Ottawa.
"This may seem like a common thing, but a lot of people don't think about it."
The general advice from most insurance experts is to drop collision and comprehensive coverage when repairs to older vehicles no longer make financial sense.
Regularly parking your car in a driveway or a garage instead of on the street or in a lot will also save you some money, since there's less chance that someone will hit it.
"We definitely reward individuals who have winter tires and it's proven that people with winter tires have less frequency of accidents," Bergeron said.
Many other insurance providers also offer winter tire discounts. At CAA, for example, that discount is five per cent.
Smart home monitoring
If you have a security alarm, surveillance cameras and burglary prevention systems in place, make sure you inform your insurance provider because "companies will reward you with discounts based on that," Bergeron said.
If you take steps to protect your property from break-ins, you will save money on insurance premiums in the long run. Many insurance providers, including SGI Canada, offer tips on how to crime-proof your home.
"A lot of people don't know – if you don't have a mortgage on your home, you can save some money [on insurance]," Bergeron said.
Increase your deductible
"Gone are the days when people would make claims on just small things, like a TV being stolen," Bergeron said.
Home insurance is now seen as a measure against "catastrophic" events, such as a fire or flooding.
Higher deductibles of up to $5,000 "are starting to become more prevalent and what that's doing is dropping the cost of the annual premium of the insurance," he said.
Saving through bundling
This may seem like obvious advice, but Bergeron said a lot of people still don't consider bundling their property, vehicle and other types of insurance – and that move will give you "the biggest discount that you can get."
Combining your home and auto insurance with the same provider will almost always be cheaper than having separate insurance policies with different companies.
Be honest with your insurance company
One of the worst things you can do is provide misleading information about the risks to your home, or fail to declare them to your insurance company. While omitting that information might reduce your monthly or annual premiums, it could cost you a lot of money in the long run.
If, for example, you don't tell your insurer about a wood fireplace or a wood stove in your home, your claim could be denied in the case of a fire.
"Ignorance doesn't work in those cases," Bergeron said