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Finding a better deal on your auto insurance is a great way to improve your financial outlook. Auto insurance premiums are a regular expense, so lowering the cost even a little can add up to significant savings over time.
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How much car insurance coverage do I really need?
Auto insurance is a custom product. There is no one-size-fits-all policy that will be right for every driver. Even within the same city, drivers may have very different vehicles, driving habits and preferences that impact what kind of policy is right for them.
For instance, a driver who uses an Ford F-150 pickup truck for work as a home remodeler probably has different insurance needs than a lawyer with a late-model Lexus who commutes to an office, or a motorist with an 8-year-old compact car only used on the weekends. Your car insurance in Sarnia should reflect your car’s value, how much you drive and how much insurance protection you prefer.
To figure out what kind of coverage is right for you, let’s break this question down into a few pieces. We’ll look at:
- Legally mandatory insurance coverage.
- Optional coverage types and who needs them.
- Why increasing coverage levels might be a smart move.
Legally mandatory auto insurance in Sarnia, Ontario.
All drivers in Canada are required by law to have auto insurance. Provinces set their own mandatory coverage requirements, so the minimum levels and types of car insurance vary across the country.
In Ontario, mandatory auto insurance includes coverage for:
- Accident benefits –This type of insurance covers medical bills and lost income if you’re hurt in a car accident.
- Direct Compensation-Property Damage (DCPD) – This coverage means that your own insurance company will cover damage costs to your vehicle and its contents, if you’re not at fault in a collision.
- Third-party liability – This protects you from legal damages if you injure someone or damage their property in an auto accident and are found to be at fault. In Ontario, you must have a minimum of $200,000 in third-party liability insurance.
- Uninsured vehicles – This insurance type protects you and your family from accidents with hit-and-run or uninsured drivers.
Should you increase coverage levels?
Many drivers opt for insurance coverage beyond the legally mandated minimums. While this will increase your premiums, it also provides greater protection from the financial risks of getting into a serious auto accident.
Plenty of drivers see this trade-off as well worth the additional cost, which can be modest compared to the increased sense of security better coverage provides.
Here are some coverage levels you might consider increasing:
- Raising third-party liability coverage to $500,000, $1 million, or $2 million. If you seriously injure someone in a car accident, a court may award damages far above $200,000, the legal minimum liability coverage in Ontario. That would leave you on the hook for paying the rest out-of-pocket, unless you opt for a greater level of insurance coverage.
- Raising accident benefits coverage to more fully replace lost income if you can’t work due to an auto accident injury. Other accident benefits cover medical and rehabilitation expenses and costs for your family if you can’t work or take care of household responsibilities anymore. These can also be increased.
- The deductible is the portion of a loss that you have to cover before your insurance kicks in. Some people prefer a lower deductible in exchange for higher premiums. If you choose this approach, be sure that you’re likely to have the cash available to pay a higher premium should the need arise.
Who needs optional coverages?
Another way to beef up the protection your auto insurance provides is to add optional coverage types to your policy. The most common optional types of car insurance are comprehensive and collision coverage.
Here’s a quick explanation of each:
- Collision coverage: This type of coverage offers protection when the insured driver is found to be at fault for an auto accident. Direct compensation property damage (DC-PD) coverage protects you when someone else is at fault for an accident, but if you are found to be partially or fully at fault, you won’t be covered for that percentage of the damage. This is where collision coverage can save the day and fill that gap.
- Comprehensive car insurance: This type of coverage protects you when vehicle damage results from other kinds of causes besides a collision. For example, comprehensive coverage typically covers you if a falling tree or telephone pole crushes your car, or if a vandal strikes.
If you lease a vehicle, your contract will probably require you to purchase comprehensive and collision insurance. If you own your car, it’s up to you whether to carry these optional insurance types.
Typically, this type of coverage is strongly recommended for new, lower-mileage and more valuable vehicles, since the financial loss in case of damage is likely to be higher than with a lower-value or older vehicle. For many motorists, paying a higher premium is worth the added protection for a higher-value car.
That calculation may or may not change for you as your vehicle ages. If you bought your car new, once your car is around five years old, this may be a good time to reexamine your insurance coverage.
Some drivers decide that as their vehicle loses value, they’re comfortable dropping comprehensive and collision coverage in order to save on monthly premiums.
You’ll then be responsible for shouldering the costs yourself if the car is damaged by the types of incidents these insurance types cover. Other drivers of older vehicles still prefer the fuller protection offered by comprehensive and collision insurance. It’s a matter of personal preference, as people all have different risk tolerance levels.
Most auto insurance providers offer comprehensive and collision coverage. There are other types of optional insurance available as well, depending on the provider. Some companies offer helpful services like emergency roadside assistance or let you purchase collision forgiveness for a first accident so your premiums don’t increase.
Another optional coverage type is new car replacement insurance, which covers the full cost of replacing a vehicle you bought new with another new vehicle, rather than covering the car’s current, depreciated value.
Usually this coverage is available for a limited period of time, like the first few years you own the car. Insurance providers may have other options, too, since additional offerings and special features are one way companies compete for your business, along with their rates.
The bottom line.
Car insurance is a matter of both staying legal when you’re on the roads, and choosing optional coverage levels and types that suit your needs and personal preferences.
While it’s legal to drive with a bare-bones insurance policy in Ontario, plenty of drivers feel the financial risk is just too great and choose to add some additional coverage to their auto insurance policies.
Whatever your coverage needs, getting the right vehicle insurance in Sarnia starts with knowing the legal minimum coverage, then increasing coverage levels or adding optional coverage types until you feel well-protected by your policy.
The best car insurance in Sarnia isn’t a cookie-cutter policy. Instead, it’s the right coverage for your vehicle, driving habits and your peace of mind.
DirectRate.ca makes finding a perfect-fit policy effortless. Give us a call today to start saving: 1-855-754-0350.
How are car insurance rates in Sarnia calculated?
Auto insurance providers take into account a variety of factors when calculating rates. These include:
- Driver characteristics like age and gender – Young men are statistically more likely to get into auto accidents than older women, so insurance providers factor in these demographic characteristics when calculating premiums.
- How much you drive – The lighter your use of your vehicle, the fewer chances there are for damage, so your insurance company may reward you with a lower premium. If you don’t use your vehicle to commute on a regular basis, make sure you let your insurance provider know since this sometimes lowers your rate.
- The coverage you choose – The fuller the coverage, the higher your premiums will be.
- Vehicle type – Including its value, age, mileage and any special features like anti-theft devices or safety systems are major determinants of your insurance costs. Safety performance of the vehicle is another important factor, as is its popularity with thieves and how expensive it is to repair. It’s smart to consider insurance costs — and get quotes — whenever it’s time to buy a new vehicle.
- Where you live and drive – Areas with heavy traffic or more frequent criminal activity may drive your rates up, since these can result in more insurance claims.
- Where you park – Parking on a public street leaves your car more vulnerable to damage than parking in a private driveway or garage.
- Your claims record – If you have a clean driving record but habitually lend your vehicle to a less-responsible driver who racks up accidents and insurance claims, this will very likely increase your premiums.
- Your deductible amount – Raising your insurance deductible is one way to lower your premiums.
- Your driving history – Maintaining a driving record free of accidents and infractions is the best way to keep your premiums low!
- Your licence level – Having a full license and being a more experienced driver can lower your insurance costs.
Frequently Asked Questions about automobile insurance in Sarnia.
- Auto insurance premiums are determined by several factors, geography being just one of them. For this reason, it’s impossible to answer this question with a simple, cookie-cutter dollar figure.
- Typical factors insurance companies consider include the type of vehicle and the driver’s record and experience. The amount and types of insurance coverage will also factor into the premium cost.
- In short, auto insurance is a customized product. The only way to get an accurate estimate of your insurance costs is to request quotes based on your specific information from several different insurance providers. Comparison shopping is also a crucial first step for finding a better insurance rate.
- Fortunately, DirectRate.ca makes it easy to request and compare insurance quotes to find the best rate. Use our fast, free online quote tool and you’ll receive auto insurance quotes from 10+ leading providers across Canada. Or call today to speak with one of our licensed insurance brokers by phone. They will walk you through the process to find the best car insurance in Sarnia at the lowest price on the market. Our recommendations are 100% free. Give us a call today: 1-855-754-0350.
- Ontario is among the most expensive auto insurance markets in Canada. If you’re looking for affordable coverage in Sarnia, shopping around is crucial to get the best deal.
- One option is to spend hours searching insurance company websites, gathering quotes one at a time. If that sounds like a headache, we agree!
- That’s why DirectRate.ca created our fast, free quote tool that lets you compare rates from all the top insurance providers in Sarnia in one convenient location online.
- Enter your information above to get started. It takes just three minutes. Next, connect with one of our licensed brokers to customize your policy and secure additional savings: 1-855-754-0350.
- We’re so confident you’ll find cheaper car insurance that our tool and recommendations are 100% free.