Top tips for getting a lower insurance rate in Canada

18 minute read Published on Apr 3, 2024 by BrokerLink Communications

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Understanding car insurance can often feel like a complex puzzle, especially when you’re trying to balance adequate coverage with affordable premiums. Many of us spend more on car insurance than we’d like to, yet aren’t sure how to reduce these costs without sacrificing protection.

That’s where this blog comes in! From exploring discounts you may not be aware of, to discovering the factors that impact your premiums, we’ll provide you with actionable tips and insights. It’s time to dive into some of the most effective strategies to help you lower your car insurance rates without compromising on the quality of your coverage.

The best tips to lower your car insurance costs

From shopping around to finding discounts, if you’re like most drivers, you’re always looking for ways to cut down on expenses, and car insurance is a great place to start. Let’s dive into some tried-and-true methods that can help lower your insurance premiums without compromising on coverage:

1. Research insurance costs before choosing your car

Before settling on a car model, it's wise to contact insurance companies for quotes. Provide them with the make, model, and year of the cars you’re considering to get an estimate of the insurance costs. Many insurance companies have online tools that allow you to compare the insurance costs of different car models. These tools can give you a ballpark figure of what you can expect to pay for each vehicle.

Furthermore, when it comes to car insurance, not all vehicles are created equal. The make and model of your car can have a significant impact on your premiums. Here’s why:

Repair costs

Some cars are simply more expensive to repair. Luxury vehicles, for instance, often require specialized parts and labour, driving up repair costs. Conversely, more common and less expensive cars typically have readily available parts and are cheaper to repair, leading to a lower car insurance rate.

Safety rating

Cars with higher safety ratings are generally less expensive to insure. A vehicle equipped with advanced safety features like automatic braking systems, airbags, and stability control are less likely to be involved in an accident, reducing the risk for insurers. These safety features can also minimize the severity of injuries in the event of an accident, another factor that can lower insurance costs.

Theft rates

Some cars are more attractive to thieves than others, and models that are commonly stolen often carry higher premiums. You can check the theft rates for different car models through various online resources or by contacting local law enforcement agencies.

2. Shop around for the best car insurance rates

Shopping around for car insurance is more than just a cost-saving exercise; it’s about finding a policy that offers the best value for your specific needs. Here’s a deeper look into why and how you should shop around for car insurance:

There’s variety in insurance rates

Insurance companies use various models to assess risk and determine rates. What might be considered a high risk by one company could be viewed less severely by another, resulting in different premium costs. Plus, each insurer offers a unique set of discounts. Some might offer lower rates for good drivers, others for professional affiliations, and some might have better bundling options.

How to effectively shop around

Shopping around for car insurance requires a strategic approach. It’s not just about finding the lowest price but about understanding the value you get for that price. This means considering factors like coverage limits, deductibles, customer service, claims processing, and the overall reliability of the insurer.

Don’t settle for the first quote you receive. Aim to get at least three to five quotes from different insurers for a comprehensive market view. Use online tools and websites that allow you to compare rates from various providers quickly and easily. These tools often provide a side-by-side comparison of coverage options and prices.

When comparing policies, pay attention to the details. Look beyond the premium and examine what each policy covers. Check for things like the amount of liability coverage, deductibles, and any exclusions or limits. Remember, the cheapest policy may not provide adequate protection, and the most expensive policy might offer coverage that you don’t necessarily need. The goal is to find a policy that offers the best combination of price, coverage, and service for your unique situation.

3. Pick only the coverage you need

Selecting the right coverage for your auto insurance is a balancing act between protecting yourself financially and not paying for unnecessary protection. It’s essential to regularly review your coverage and make sure it aligns with your current situation. While basic coverage across Canada includes third-party liability and accident benefits coverage, with some regions requiring uninsured motorist coverage or direct compensation-property damage, there are many optional coverages and add-ons to consider for a more comprehensive policy.

Popular add-ons include comprehensive and collision coverage. However, for older vehicles, you may want to consider whether you still need comprehensive or collision coverage. As a car ages, its value decreases, and there might be a point where the cost of these coverages may not be financially beneficial compared to the car’s actual worth.

If you’re unsure about your coverage, consider speaking with an insurance broker or agent. They can provide personalized advice based on your specific situation and help you weigh the pros and cons of different coverage options, like gap insurance or accident forgiveness coverage.

4. Insure all your vehicles on the same policy

When it comes to managing your car insurance, consolidating all your vehicle policies under one policy can lead to significant benefits, both financially and in terms of simplicity. Many insurance providers offer a multi-vehicle discount, which means you could save money on premiums when you insure more than one vehicle with the same company. This discount is particularly beneficial for families or individuals owning multiple vehicles.

Besides multi-vehicle discounts, you can often bundle your car insurance with other types of policies, such as home or boat insurance. This can lead to even more savings and make for a more streamlined insurance management experience.

Having all your insurance needs handled by one company can significantly simplify policy management. It means fewer companies to deal with, less paperwork, and, often, more streamlined customer service. Plus, insuring multiple vehicles or bundling different insurance types can give you leverage to negotiate better rates or improved coverage terms with your insurer.

5. Pay your premium annually instead of monthly

Paying your car insurance premium annually or semi-annually instead of monthly can lead to cost savings. Most insurance companies offer discounts for policyholders who pay their premiums annually or semi-annually. When you pay your premium in full, it lowers the administrative work and costs for the insurer. Many insurance companies pass on these savings to you in the form of discounts. These discounts can be significant, making the annual or semi-annual payment option more cost-effective in the long run compared to monthly payments.

Paying your insurance premium in one or two large payments can also simplify your budget. It’s one less monthly expense to think about, and you don’t have to worry about monthly billing cycles. Furthermore, some insurers charge extra fees for the convenience of monthly payments. By choosing an annual or semi-annual payment, you avoid these additional charges.

6. Pay your premiums on time

Paying your premiums on time is not just about avoiding late fees or policy cancellations; it’s a strategic approach to managing your insurance costs effectively. Maintaining a good payment history can make you eligible for certain discounts or loyalty programs insurance companies offer.

Most insurance providers charge late fees for overdue payments. These fees can accumulate over time, unnecessarily increasing your overall insurance costs. Consistently late payments can lead insurers to perceive you as a higher risk, potentially resulting in higher premiums when you renew or purchase new insurance.

In addition, late payments can lead to a lapse in your insurance coverage. Even a short lapse can be problematic, as insurers often offer better rates to individuals who maintain continuous coverage. Furthermore, insurers may cancel your policy if premiums are not paid on time. Getting insurance after a cancellation can be more challenging and expensive.

7. Review your deductibles

Your deductible is the amount you pay in the event of a claim before your insurance kicks in. By opting for a higher deductible, you can lower your premium. For example, if you have comprehensive coverage for risks like theft or environmental damage, and your car is usually parked in a secure location, you might consider a higher deductible for this part of your policy as the risk of having to make a claim is much lower. This adjustment can reduce your overall premium.

However, before raising your deductible, it’s important to ensure you have enough savings to cover it in case of a claim. The decision should align with your financial capacity to absorb unexpected expenses. When determining your deductible amount, consider your personal risk factors. Opting for a higher deductible might make sense if you have a history of few or no claims. Conversely, if you’ve had several claims in the past, a lower deductible might be more affordable.

8. New to driving? Take a defensive driving course

For new and young drivers, or even experienced ones looking to refresh their skills, enrolling in a defensive driving course can be a wise decision. Defensive driving courses teach advanced skills to handle a wide range of road situations safely. This includes anticipating potential hazards, understanding the dynamics of a crash, and learning techniques to avoid accidents.

These courses enhance your awareness of your surroundings while driving and improve your reaction time to unexpected situations, thereby reducing the risk of accidents. For new drivers, these courses can be particularly beneficial. They help build confidence behind the wheel and provide a solid foundation for safe driving practices.

Taking an accredited defensive driving course can not only make you a safer driver but also lead to insurance discounts. Many insurance companies recognize the value of defensive driving courses and offer premium discounts to drivers who complete them. This is because drivers taking these courses are statistically less likely to be involved in accidents.

9. Maintain a good driving record

Having a good driving record is one of the most effective ways to keep your car insurance rates low. Insurance companies assess risk based on your driving history. A clean record typically indicates a lower risk, which in turn can lead to lower insurance premiums. Many insurers offer discounts for drivers without accidents or traffic violations. These discounts can be substantial, directly reducing your insurance costs. Moreover, maintaining a clean driving record, thanks to safe driving habits, over an extended period can keep your rates consistently low, as some insurers track your driving record over several years to determine your premium rates.

10. Let your insurer monitors your driving

Technology has paved the way for a new approach called usage-based insurance (UBI). UBI programs use a device installed in your vehicle or a mobile app to monitor your driving behaviour. Unlike traditional insurance, which bases rates on demographic factors and statistical risk, UBI adjusts premiums based on your actual driving behaviour. This typically includes factors like the amount you drive, your speed, braking habits, and the time of day you’re most often on the road. Your premiums are then calculated based on this data.

If you’re a safe, cautious driver, UBI can be financially beneficial. It allows insurers to tailor your rates more closely to your actual driving habits rather than basing them on general statistics or demographic data. Plus, if you don’t drive very often, UBI can be particularly beneficial, as traditional insurance models don’t always reflect the reduced risk of drivers who use their vehicles infrequently. With UBI, lower mileage can translate directly into lower premiums.

11. Have an anti-theft device installed in your car

Incorporating anti-theft devices in your vehicle not only increases security but can also positively impact your auto insurance premiums. Basic anti-theft devices include steering wheel locks, brake pedal locks, and audible alarms.

More sophisticated options include immobilizers, which prevent the engine from starting without the correct key or fob, tracking systems like GPS-based devices that can locate a stolen vehicle and smart keys with encryption. Some modern vehicles have built-in anti-theft systems, including alarms and engine immobilizers, which are more sophisticated and harder for thieves to bypass.

Insurance companies often offer discounts on premiums for vehicles equipped with anti-theft devices. The rationale is simple: these cars are less likely to be stolen, reducing the risk and potential cost of a theft claim. After installing an anti-theft device, inform your insurance provider. You may need to provide proof of installation, such as a receipt or a certificate, to qualify for a discount. You can then ask your insurance company to review your auto insurance policy and adjust your premiums accordingly. It’s also a good opportunity to discuss other potential discounts or coverage adjustments.

12. Planning to move? Consider the location

Where you live and park your car can significantly influence your auto insurance rates. Typically, living in a densely populated urban area can lead to higher rates due to increased risks of accidents, theft, and vandalism. Conversely, rural areas often have lower risk levels and, consequently, lower car insurance premiums. High-traffic areas also have a greater risk of accidents. More vehicles on the road can increase the likelihood of collision, leading to higher rates. Moreover, we can see higher insurance costs in areas with higher crime rates, especially for car theft and vandalism. Insurers consider the likelihood of claims when determining premiums.

Living near areas that are known for a high frequency of accidents can also affect premiums. Insurers often use historical data on accident rates in different regions to calculate risk. Furthermore, locations prone to severe weather conditions, like heavy snowfall, flooding, or hail, can also impact insurance rates, as these conditions increase the likelihood of damage to your vehicle.

13. Park your vehicle in a garage

Parking your vehicle in a garage can have several positive implications for your auto insurance. Regularly parking on a driveway, or even more, on the street, especially in high-traffic urban areas, can increase the risk of accidents and vandalism, leading to higher insurance costs.

A vehicle parked in a garage is less accessible to thieves and vandals than one parked on the street or in an open driveway. A garage also protects your car from environmental elements like hail, snow, heavy rain, and extreme temperatures, which can damage the vehicle over time. In addition, parking in a garage minimizes the chances of accidental damage from passing vehicles, falling tree branches, or flying debris in storms.

This reduced risk can lead to lower premiums. Some insurers offer discounts for vehicles that are regularly parked in a garage, reflecting the decreased risk of theft, vandalism, and other non-collision-related damages. Be sure to inform your insurance provider that your vehicle is regularly parked in a garage. If your policy doesn’t automatically factor in garage parking, you can bring this up when negotiating your premium or shopping for new insurance.

14. Utilize winter tires

Winter tires are specifically designed to perform in cold temperatures, snow, and ice. They are made from a softer rubber compound that remains flexible in cold weather, providing better traction than all-season tires. The tread patterns on winter tires are also unique and are designed to grip snow and ice, reducing the likelihood of skidding and accidents. Winter tires can significantly reduce braking distances in snowy or icy conditions. This can be the difference between a safe stop and a collision.

In Canada’s harsh winters, having winter tires is not just a safety measure but can also lead to insurance discounts. This is because winter tires improve your vehicle’s handling and braking in snowy and icy conditions, reducing the likelihood of winter accidents. Many insurance companies in Canada recognize the safety benefits of winter tires and offer discounts on car insurance premiums for drivers who use them.

15. Improve your credit rating

In regions where it’s permitted, your credit score can play a role in determining your car premiums, with a better credit score possibly leading to more favourable insurance rates. As such, regularly monitoring and maintaining a good credit score can help reduce your insurance costs.

In some regions of Canada, including Alberta, New Brunswick, P.E.I., Quebec, and Nova Scotia, insurers are allowed to use credit scores to help determine premiums. The rationale is that those with higher credit scores are deemed more responsible and less likely to engage in risky behaviours that could lead to claims.

Furthermore, studies have shown a correlation between credit scores and the likelihood of filing insurance claims. People with higher credit scores tend to file fewer claims, and as a result, insurers offer them more favourable rates.

16. Explore all car insurance discounts

There are numerous discounts available that you might not be aware of. These can include reductions for being a loyal customer, driving a hybrid or electric vehicle, having a safe driving history, or being a good student. It’s always beneficial to ask your insurance company about any discounts you might qualify for.

17. Work with an insurance broker

An insurance broker can be a valuable asset when searching for the right car insurance policy. Insurance brokers have extensive knowledge of the insurance market. They can provide expert advice on different types of coverage, policy details, and the pros and cons of various insurance products. Brokers assess your specific needs and circumstances and recommend insurance products that best suit your situation. They work for you, not the insurance companies, ensuring that your interests are their priority.

Unlike insurance agents who represent specific companies, brokers have access to a wide range of insurance products from various insurers. This extensive access allows them to compare different options to find the best fit for you. Plus, researching and comparing auto insurance policies can be time-consuming. Brokers do this legwork for you, presenting you with a selection of suitable options based on your requirements. Some brokers even have access to exclusive policies and rates unavailable to the general public. They can then leverage their relationships with insurers to negotiate better terms on your behalf.

The complex puzzle of car insurance rates in Canada

Understanding the cost of car insurance in Canada is crucial for anyone owning a vehicle in the country. The price of car insurance can vary greatly depending on a multitude of factors, including the province you live in, the type of car you drive, your driving history, and even your age and gender.

First and foremost, car insurance rates in Canada can vary significantly from one province to another due to differing insurance laws and systems. Provinces like British Columbia, Saskatchewan, Manitoba, and Quebec have public insurance systems, which means a portion of your auto insurance is provided by a government-run insurer. In contrast, provinces like Ontario, Alberta, and Nova Scotia operate under private insurance models, where multiple private companies offer insurance.

Factors influencing individual rates

The cost of auto insurance in Canada isn’t just determined by provincial systems. Several personal factors play a significant role in determining your individual rate.

Type of vehicle

Auto insurance costs can vary based on the car’s make and model. Some vehicles are more expensive to repair due to their parts and labour costs. Luxury cars and certain foreign models often fall into this category. Cars that are commonly targeted for theft tend to have higher rates. You can check theft rates for specific models with the Insurance Bureau of Canada.

High-performance cars, typically faster and more powerful, are associated with higher risks of accidents and, therefore, may attract higher premiums. And newer vehicles might be more expensive to insure due to their higher value. However, their advanced safety features can mitigate this by lowering the risk of accidents and injuries.

Driving history

Your driving record is a significant factor. A history of accidents or traffic violations typically leads to higher premiums, reflecting a higher perceived risk. On the other hand, a clean driving record, free of accidents and traffic violations, can lead to lower rates, as it indicates a lower risk to insurers. Furthermore, inexperienced drivers often face higher premiums due to a perceived lack of driving experience and higher associated risks.

Age and gender

Younger drivers typically face higher rates. This is because statistics show they are more likely to be involved in accidents due to their lack of road experience. As younger drivers gain more experience without any accidents or convictions, their rates may decrease to reflect safe driver discounts.


The more you drive, the higher the risk of an accident, which can increase your premiums. As such, the less you drive, the less of a risk you’re perceived to be. In addition, the reason you use your car for commuting, business, and leisure also affects rates. Cars used for daily commuting or business typically incur higher premiums due to increased exposure to traffic.


Opting for collision or comprehensive coverage will increase costs compared to basic liability insurance. Similarly, higher coverage limits come with higher premiums. Higher deductibles, the amount you pay in a claim before insurance kicks in, can lower your premiums. Similarly, choosing lower coverage limits can reduce costs and mean less protection.

Final Thoughts

As we come to the end of the ins and outs of car insurance in Canada, it’s clear that a little know-how goes a long way. Embracing practical steps like fitting winter tires, considering usage-based insurance, and maintaining a clean driving record can really make a difference in your premiums. It’s about paying attention to the details, like where you park your car and understanding your unique insurance needs. Collaborating with an insurance broker might also illuminate paths to savings you hadn’t considered. Remember, the trick is to stay informed and review your policy regularly.

By applying these straightforward strategies, you’re not just safeguarding your vehicle but also steering towards cheap car insurance in Canada. Safe driving and thoughtful saving can be your roadmap to smart and cost-effective insurance coverage.

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FAQs for getting lower car insurance rates

Does adding a second driver affect my insurance premium?

Yes, adding another driver to your policy can definitely change your premium, but how much really depends on who that second driver is. If they have a solid driving record, are a bit more experienced, and generally don’t raise any red flags for the insurer, you might not see much difference in your rates. However, your premiums could increase if you’re a high-risk driver like a teenager or someone with a history of accidents.

Do safety features on my car lower my rates?

Yes, having safety features in your car can actually save you on insurance. Insurers often provide discounts for vehicles equipped with advanced safety features such as anti-lock brakes, airbags, electronic stability control, and advanced driver-assistance systems. These features reduce the risk of accidents and injuries, which can lead to lower premiums.

How can I lower my high-risk insurance premiums?

Improve your driving record by avoiding accidents and traffic violations to lower high-risk premiums. Consider enrolling in a defensive driving course, sometimes leading to discounts. Also, opt for a higher deductible and drive a less expensive car to insure. Regularly review your policy to ensure it matches your current needs, and shop around for better rates as your risk profile improves.

How can I lower my auto insurance in Canada?

Lowering your vehicle’s insurance in Canada can be achieved by shopping around for competitive rates, bundling different insurance policies, and maintaining a clean driving record. Use winter tires for seasonal discounts, opt for a higher deductible, and consider usage-based insurance programs. Also, take advantage of any discounts for safety features in your vehicle and reduce your coverage on older cars.

How do I get more insurance discounts?

To get more insurance discounts, first, inquire with your current provider about any available discounts that you might not be utilizing. Consider bundling multiple policies like home and auto with the same insurer, maintaining a clean driving record, and installing safety and anti-theft devices in your car. Enroll in defensive driving courses if available, and explore usage-based insurance options. Additionally, look into specific discounts that may apply to you, such as those for low-mileage drivers, seniors, or members of certain organizations.

If you have any questions, contact one of our local branches.