Being frugal is a bit of a sport these days (Extreme Couponing, anyone?). With something as important as insurance, you don’t want to cut corners but you also don’t want to break the bank. Whether you already have car insurance or you’re in the market for it, check out these handy tips to help you get the best price.

New & experienced drivers wanted

  • Study up. If you’re a brand new driver, look for a discount on your premiums if you’ve successfully completed a certified drivers’ education class.
  • Make mom proud. Full-time students who maintain an average grade of 80% or higher may be rewarded with additional savings.
  • Embrace your age. Insurance companies want good, experienced drivers who pose a lower accident risk. They attract them by offering discounts for drivers aged 45 and older.

Choosing your chariot

  • Pick the right make and model. A four-wheel drive vehicle can be more expensive to repair after a collision, so rates for it will typically reflect that risk. Likewise, if your car makes the “most frequently stolen” list in Canada, you may have higher premiums.
  • Think security. Although most new cars come with a standard anti-theft device, you may be able to take advantage of additional discounts by installing a secondary alarm or tracking device.
  • Get winter ready. If you live in a snowy climate (and hey, that applies to most of Canada!), your insurer might give you a discount for using winter tires. Be sure to check the requirements with your broker.

Slow down & share

  • (Don’t) go the distance. You might be surprised by some of the things that influence your risk to an insurance provider. For example, the distance that you drive your car on an annual basis can affect your premiums. Simply put, the more you drive, the greater your risk of having an accident. So consider carpooling with a friend once a week, riding your bike, taking transit, or working from home to help reduce your risk. 
  • Be a better driver. This might be a no-brainer, but tickets and convictions often have a negative effect on your insurance rates since they classify you as a higher risk — and it’s not likely to be a short-term issue. Tickets and convictions tend to stay on your record for at least three years, so you may be paying a higher premium for a while. The solution? Slow down, obey traffic laws, and stay on the right side of the law. 
  • Don’t name high-risk drivers on your policy. If you have high-risk drivers in your household, sometimes it’s prudent to exclude them from your policy so that you won’t be penalized with a higher premium. If they won’t be driving your vehicle, ask your broker for if it’s possible.

Show me the money

  • Decide on a deductible. Choosing to pay a deductible in the event of a claim will lower your overall premium. It’s a bit like a seesaw — the higher the deductible you pay, the lower your insurance rates will be. The key, of course, is to choose a deductible that you can afford in the event of a claim, so check out your budget and find the balance that works for you.
  • Bundle up. Whether you have more than one vehicle to insure or some other opportunity to combine policies (like car plus home or tenant insurance, for instance), you’ll likely see some savings. Just like your TV, Internet, and home phone provider, insurance companies reward repeat customers with multi-policy discounts.
  • Shop around with a broker. At the end of the day, you’re looking for the best coverage at the lowest price and there’s no one more qualified to help you find it than your insurance broker. Let them do the legwork and advise you on policies in your price range.