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  • Insurance Buying Guide

    Tips on Finding the Best Coverage

    The insurance market is highly competitive


    Canada's private insurance industry is highly competitive, with 134 companies offering auto insurance and 122 writing home and personal property policies. No matter where you live in Canada, you have a number of choices when shopping for home insurance. The same applies for auto insurance in provinces where private companies are allowed to compete for your business.

    Companies offering automobile insurance in your province must sell the basic coverage required by the provincial government, but in provinces with competitive insurance systems, different companies offer different optional coverages, a slightly different approach, and prices can vary. Home insurance policies and premiums can also vary significantly from company to company.


    Get the coverage you need


    When shopping around for an insurance policy, remember that you want the best price for the insurance package that is right for you. If you prefer 24-hour claims service, or face-to-face contact with an insurance representative, bear these things in mind when selecting an insurance provider. Consider the claims settlement process, the amount of the deductible, and whether or not you require full replacement coverage. Insurance companies, and the policies they offer, are not all the same, so think about more than just the price.


    Shop around to get the best deal


    If you’ve received an unsatisfactory price for your policy from your current insurer, ask your broker to look for quotes from the other insurance companies he/she represents. (Brokers sell insurance for several companies; agents sell insurance for only one company.) If he/she still can’t get a price that you consider to be affordable - given the favourable insurance market - find another broker or agent. You are not committed or tied to one insurance broker. There are many insurance companies competing for your business. To be sure you get the best rate, contact several different sources. You can call brokers or agents, get quotes on the Internet or call insurers directly. You have options. It could be worth your while.


    Asking for a quote - be prepared


    There is certain information that all brokers and agents will require from you in order to give you a quote, or sell you an insurance policy. The following are only some examples of the information you will be required to provide:

    • Full name and address
    • Full names of other members of your household
    • Recent claims history and that of other members of the household (i.e., Have you made claims? If so, how many, what kind and when?)

    For home insurance only:

    • Age of home
    • Construction (brick, wood, steel, vinyl siding etc.)
    • Number of bedrooms
    • Type of heating, age of furnace
    • Fireplace?
    • Oil tank?
    • Type of wiring

    For auto insurance only:

    • Number of licensed drivers in the household
    • Make and model of the vehicle
    • Recent driving infractions (past six years at least) for you and other members of the household
    • Use of vehicle (Who drives it, for what purpose, how many kilometres per month?)
    • Anti-theft system? What kind?

    All this information is used to determine whether the insurance company wants to insure you, and at what price. Please be as honest as possible, and update your insurance representative if your circumstances change.


    Ways to lower your premium costs


    Ask your insurance representative about the following options for lowering your premium:

    • raising your deductibles;
    • dropping collision coverage on an older car;
    • upgrading an older home to reduce the risk of a loss (fixing broken railings, replacing an old furnace etc.);
    • package deals for insuring your car and home or more than one car with the same insurance company;
    • installing an approved theft deterrent system in your vehicle, or a burglar alarm in your home; and
    • choosing a car with a lower-cost insurance rating


    Source: Insurance Bureau of Canada