Through this post I'd like to address one of my major concerns once I planned on moving into Toronto: The cost of car insurance premiums for new immigrants.
I started quoting the premium for my car insurance even before I arrived in Canada last year. I had an idea of the make and model of the vehicle I wanted and quoted in several websites including Kanetix.ca and insurancehotline.com . To my amazement, annual car insurance premiums for the vehicle I wanted went well into the +CAD$7,000, for drivers new to Canada, from countries other than the United States.
From my experience, one of the first things I'd recommend anyone considering lowering their car insurance premium is getting their full G license as soon as possible. Ontario has 3 license categories for driving cars, vans or small trucks. They are G1 (written exam), G2 (city driving exam) and full G (city and highway driving exam). If you can get your country's consulate in Toronto to validate more than 2 years of driving experience back home, you can write the G1 license exam and pursue the full G license, without the waiting periods involved in the normal process and skipping the need for the G2 exam. Your license category can have an impact on the premium you pay, so keep this in mind.
The second thing I'd recommend is to check the insurance premium for the car you plan on buying, before you actually go out and buy the car. By doing this, you can decide early on, if another make and model vehicle, with a better priced insurance premium is a smarter way to go. Keep in mind that there are significant premium variations on similar cars within a same car category. The reason for this is that usually premiums are determined upon risk assessments made by insurance companies, based on the historical statistics of a vehicle's make and model. These risk assessments mainly take into consideration how often a specific vehicle is stolen, is involved in an accident or is subject to a claim.
The third thing you should do is to bundle. Arranging for all your insurance coverage for home ( Renter's / Owner's insurance ) and car insurance to be covered by the same provider can, in some cases, save you up to 10% off the premium you'll normally pay.
The fourth thing I'd recommend is to quote and compare. Premiums in my search varied almost +CAD$3,800 between one another, for the same vehicle! I'll show you the four companies I quoted with and the dramatic differences between their annual car insurance premiums. I was able to learn that some insurance companies welcome new immigrant insurance policies, while others see them as "high risk".
The quotes I show below are based on an SUV dealer priced over CAD$40,000. In these quotes, they all had CAD$1,000,000 liability coverage and CAD$ Protected content for collision and comprehensive coverage.
Increasing your deductibles (the amount you pay before the insurance coverage kicks in) can help reduce your premium, but in my case, the premium difference was so insignificant that i didn't find it was worth it.
The quotes are as follow:
STATE FARM Protected content 6,630
RBC INSURANCE CAD$ 5,400
BELAIR DIRECT Protected content 3,700
TD INSURANCE Protected content 2,700
Of all four, I obviously went with the last one. Although it's TD INSURANCE, I accessed this premium rate through their Protected content website. This website, unlike the generic TD INSURANCE website, works with students and professionals who have either studied at specific Canadian universities, work for specific employers or belong to specific professional associations. Since I am a licensed real estate sales representative, I was lucky to find the Ontario Real Estate Association as a membership option. The fact that there is a drop down menu with options, which makes it easy to choose from, really helps.
In my case, I first did an online quote to find out the premium I would be charged and to learn about the coverage and deductibles to which it was subject. I later called and filled my application. I was able to secure the lowest insurance premium I could find, over the phone. All I needed was my driver's license, the VIN (Vehicle Identification Number) which the dealership will provide you with, once you´ve chosen the vehicle and the information from the bank account from which they will withdraw the monthly payments. I then got emailed my " Temporary Automobile Liability Insurance Card" which I printed and will take with me when I go pick up the vehicle I leased. They will later send me through regular mail, all the paperwork related to my policy, as well as, the definitive insurance card.
Many of the values and premium differences I showed may vary depending on your driver's license category, driving experience in Canada and your choice of vehicle.
I just tried to portray my particular experience, hoping to share what I learned. Anybody searching for affordable car insurance can have a "heads up" on what's out there and can be able to make a more informed decision.
I hope this post has been of help. If you need any further help with this topic or any other topic, including real estate in Toronto, just message me. I'll be glad to be of help!
Good luck and see you all at the next InterNations Toronto get together!