According to the Insurance Bureau of Canada, the make, model and year of your car, the records of people who are insured to drive it and where you live are all considered by insurers when setting rates. You can lower your premium by making informed decisions.
A car, whether right off the assembly line or new to you, can be one of the biggest investments you make. Insurers assess many factors – including your driving record – when calculating your premium. Your insurance rates are also determined, in part, by the type of car you drive. Generally, the harder your car is to steal and the less expensive it is to repair, the less you pay for insurance.
Need to Insure a Car?
Insurers consider many factors when calculating your car insurance premiums. Buying or leasing a car with a lower-cost insurance rating is one way you can take control of costs.
Across Canada, IBC’s “Worst and Best Ten 2000-2018 Models ” reports on the relative claim cost of cars by type of accident. Also consider cars rated the safest by the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety.
Getting an Insurance Quote? Here’s How to Lower your Premium.
Provide your car’s vehicle identification number or VIN to your insurer. Some cars are more expensive to insure. Without the correct VIN, you could be quoted a premium for a different – more expensive make or model – car. To save money, you can also:
- Increase your deductible (i.e., your share of the cost of a claim)
- Drop collision coverage on an older car
- Look into a package deal for your car(s) and home
- Install an approved theft deterrent system in your car
A Good Driving Record Can Reduce Your Premium
License suspensions, parking tickets and convictions for driving offenses all add up to higher car insurance premiums. In fact, after being convicted of a driving offence, it can take up to 6 years for your record to be considered clean again by insurers. Over the years, building a consistently accident-and conviction-free driving record can help reduce your premium. You can also:
- Adjust how frequently you use your car
- Take public transit to keep your annual kilometres low
- Exclude high-risk drivers from your policy
Where You Live Can Increase Your Premium
Did you know that urban areas have varying degrees of higher claims costs? Higher density equals more risks, more accidents and more thefts. For example, using 2011 statistics, the average claims cost per vehicle in one city was 25% above that of a neighbouring city.
While there are good drivers in every city, on average, some areas have a higher than average claims costs than others. And as claims costs rise, so do premiums.
How CLEAR and Telematics Can Save You Money
Insurers use the Canadian Loss Experience Automobile Rating (CLEAR) system to assess the likeliness of your car being involved in a claim and what it will cost. Current data for each make, model and model-year of car is used to calculate expected and actual claims loss experiences. Choose a car with a lower claims risk and CLEAR number and you can expect a lower premium.
You can also learn about new cost-savings offered by telematics . By installing a technology device in your car that records your driving activities, insurers can use this information to personalize your insurance premium.
Flooded basements can happen all too easily and often without warning. Learn how to prevent or limit water damage and what to do if water floods your home.
5 Common Causes of Basement Flooding
- Using a sink or toilet to improperly dispose of materials such as fats, oils, grease and diapers
- Tree roots growing through cracks in the waterlines and causing blockages
- Overloaded sewer and storm water infrastructure that leads to a sewer backup
- Frozen water pipes
- Illegal hook-ups that allow excess water into the lines – outside stairwell drains, sump pumps, downspouts and drain gutters should never be connected to the sewer system.
9 Simple Ways to Reduce Your Water Damage Risk
- Keep all floor drains clear of obstructions.
- Arrange to have someone check your property if you are away from home for more than 3 days.
- Ensure that there is proper grading around your home.
- Install a sump pump.
- Install backflow valves or plugs for drains, toilets and other sewer connections, to prevent sewer water from entering your home.
- Store important documents and irreplaceable personal objects (such as photographs) where they will not get damaged.
- During the winter, if you are away for more than three days, drain the plumbing or arrange to have someone come in daily and check that your heat is still on.
- Elevate furnaces, water heaters and electrical panels in the basement on masonry or relocate these objects.
- Avoid finishing areas like basements that may be prone to flooding.
Each insurance policy is different. If you are uncertain about what is covered in your policy or would like more information about optional coverage, contact a DPM Insurance Group representative.
What to Do If Water Floods Your Home
Be careful! Do not turn on any electrical switches until a licensed electrician checks your electrical system. If you have gas service, check for fumes. If you notice an odor, call the gas company immediately. Remember, carbon monoxide (CO) is odorless, tasteless and deadly. Ensure you have a CO alarm in your home.
Protect your property. Take action immediately. Board up holes or shut off water supplies to ensure your belongings are not damaged further. Move items out of wet basements and away from flooded parts of your home. Save receipts for materials you use. If the loss is covered by your policy, your insurance company will cover any reasonable costs associated with protecting your property.
Call your insurance representative as soon as possible. She or he will work with you to ensure the damage is assessed, the insurance company is notified and you are compensated as quickly as possible if the loss is covered by your policy.
Do These 8 Things Immediately After a Collision
- Failure to do so may result in criminal prosecution.
- Remain calm. Call 911 or the police if:
- Someone is injured
- You think any other driver may be guilty of a Criminal Code offence, such as drunk driving
- You suspect you’re the victim of a staged collision
- There is significant property damage or the vehicle is not drivable.
- Report the collision to police, as required by regulations in your province.
- If it’s safe, move the vehicles to the side of the road. If the vehicles aren’t drivable, turn on the hazard lights or surround the vehicles with cones or warning triangles.
- Regardless of the circumstances, never admit fault for the collision, never sign any documents regarding fault and never promise to pay for the damages.
- Record all collision details.
- Record what happened and how, and when, where and why it happened, as well as weather and road conditions.
- If possible, take cellphone photos of the vehicle damage.
- Collect names, addresses, licence plate numbers and insurance details of all drivers, passengers and witnesses.
- Be wary of tow truck operators who pressure you to authorize towing or repairs. You have the right to request estimates of fees in advance.
What You Need to Do Within 48 to 72 Hours
Report the collision to your insurer as soon as possible. If you are injured in the collision, you may be eligible for benefits. Submit claims forms as instructed by your insurance company.
Don’t authorize repairs to your vehicle – other than those needed to prevent further damage – until your insurer inspects the damage or consents to the repairs. Your insurer will decide whether to repair or replace your vehicle or pay for the damage. Your insurance company may provide a list of preferred vehicle repair shops.
This weekend’s weather forecast is looking potentially unfriendly for those of us in Windsor-Essex and Chatham-Kent. There’s a reported possibility of overnight snow Friday into Saturday which will then turn to rain Saturday afternoon and back to snow later in the evening, coupled with a drop in temperature. The scenario sets up the potential for a sloppy frozen mess that could not only affect driving conditions, but you home as well.
Time will tell of course, but if it turns out that way, those are the perfect conditions for ice dams to form in your gutters, causing potential problems with your roof and melt water backing up under your shingles, resulting in a leaking roof.
If you do have an ice dam form, you’re going to want to address it quickly, and preferably not with a hammer and chisel. Same goes for salt. Don’t just toss salt onto your roof in the hopes of melting the ice dam. One thing you can do to prevent or limit the damage to your roof and home after an ice dam has formed can be accomplished pretty simply using, of all things, pantyhose!
According to the “This Old House” website, you can fill the leg of discarded pair of pantyhose with a calcium chloride ice melter. Then, lay the pantyhose onto the roof so it crosses the ice dam and overhangs the gutter. If necessary, use a long-handled garden rake or hoe to push it into position. The calcium chloride will eventually melt through the snow and ice and create a channel for water to flow down into the gutters or off the roof.
DPM Insurance Group’s brokers and support staff are here for you if winter weather damages you home, and will assist you through the claims process to make it as quick and stress-free as possible. But, of course, the quickest and least stressful situation is to prevent the damage before it has the chance to take place.
At DPM Insurance Group, your security is our responsibility.
What counts as distracted driving
Ontario’s distracted driving laws apply to the use of hand-held communication/entertainment devices and certain display screens.
While you are driving, including when you are stopped in traffic or at a red light, it is illegal to:
- use a phone or other hand-held wireless communication device to text or dial – you can only touch a device to call 911 in an emergency
- use a hand-held electronic entertainment device, such as a tablet or portable gaming console
- view display screens unrelated to driving, such as watching a video
- program a GPS device, except by voice commands
You are allowed to use hands-free wireless communications devices with an earpiece, lapel button or Bluetooth. You can view GPS display screens as long as they are built into your vehicle’s dashboard or securely mounted on the dashboard.
Other actions such as eating, drinking, grooming, smoking, reading and reaching for objects are not part of Ontario’s distracted driving law. However, you can still be charged with careless or dangerous driving.
Distracted driving statistics
In Ontario, deaths from collisions caused by distracted driving have doubled since 2000.
Ontario data on collisions from 2013 show:
- one person is injured in a distracted-driving collision every half hour
- a driver using a phone is four times more likely to crash than a driver focusing on the road
Penalties for distracted driving
The easiest way to avoid penalties for distracted driving is to not use a hand-held device when you’re behind the wheel.
It’s against the law to use hand-held communication (e.g. your phone) and electronic entertainment devices (e.g. DVD player, e-reader) while driving.
In fact, simply holding a phone or other device while driving is against the law.
You can use:
- a hands-free device (e.g. Bluetooth) but only to turn it on and off
- a mounted device (e.g. phone, GPS) as long as it is secure – not moving around while driving
If convicted, the penalty you face depends on the kind of licence you hold and how long you’ve been driving.
Drivers with A to G licences
If you have an A, B, C, D, E, F, G and/or M licence, you’ll face bigger penalties when convicted of distracted driving:
- First conviction:
- a fine of $615, if settled out of court (includes a victim surcharge and the court fee)
- a fine of up to $1,000 if a summons is received or if you fight the ticket in court and lose
- three demerit points
- 3-day suspension
- Second conviction
- a fine of $615, if settled out of court (includes a victim surcharge and the court fee)
- a fine of up to $2,000 if a summons is received or if you fight the ticket in court and lose
- six demerit points
- 7-day suspension
- Third and any further conviction(s)
- a fine of $615, if settled out of court (includes a victim surcharge and the court fee)
- a fine of up to $3,000 if a summons is received or if you fight the ticket in court and lose
- six demerit points
- 30-day suspension
If you hold a G1, G2, M1 or M2 licence, and are convicted of distracted driving, you’ll face the same fines as drivers with A to G licences. But you won’t receive any demerit points.
Instead of demerit points you’ll face longer suspensions:
- a 30-day licence suspension for a first conviction
- a 90-day licence suspension for a second conviction
- cancellation of your licence and removal from the Graduated Licensing System (GLS) for a third conviction
- to get your licence back you’d have to redo the GLS program
You could face more charges – for careless driving – if you endanger other people because of any kind of distraction. This includes distraction caused by both hand-held (e.g., phone) or hands-free (e.g., Bluetooth) devices.
If convicted of careless driving, you may receive:
- six demerit points
- fines up to $2,000 and/or
- a jail term of six months
- a licence suspension of up to two years
You could even be charged with dangerous driving – a criminal offence that carries heavier penalties, including jail terms of up to 10 years for causing bodily harm or up to 14 years for causing death.
Tips to avoid distracted driving
Use any of these tips to avoid distracted driving and its penalties:
- turn off your phone or switch it to silent mode before you get in the car
- put it in the glove compartment (lock it, if you have to) or in a bag on the back seat
- before you leave the house, record an outgoing message that tells callers you’re driving and you’ll get back to them when you’re off the road
- some apps can block incoming calls and texts, or send automatic replies to people trying to call or text you
- ask a passenger to take a call or respond to a text for you
- if you must respond, or have to make a call or send a text, carefully pull over to a safe area
- silence notifications that tempt you to check your phone
In an emergency, you can use your phone to call 911, but be sure to pull off the road to a safe area to make the call.
If you’re a snowmobiling enthusiast and live in Southwestern Ontario, then you know the sad truth is, as many winters as not, you’re likely going to have to load up your sled on a trailer and head North to put in any serious snow time.
What you may not know is that if something happens to your machine on the way to your snowy destination, it probably won’t be covered if you don’t have a snowmobile policy with collision coverage.
There’s a common misconception among a lot of snowmobilers that their machine is protected in transit by the insurance policy of the vehicle doing the towing. But that’s not so. Even with collision and comprehensive coverage on the trailer itself, that only covers damage to the trailer, not the contents. Your only hope would be for the damage to have been caused by another vehicle being “at fault” and colliding with the vehicle/trailer transporting your sled.
So, when you consider the weather you’re seeking out to go snowmobiling in are the same conditions that might put a truck and trailer in the ditch, consider minimizing your losses and carry the extra coverage.
If you have additional questions about snowmobile insurance, call one of DPM Insurance Group’s six offices and our brokers and support staff will be happy to answer them. At DPM, your security is our responsibility.
While the technology in our vehicles continues to evolve, so do sophisticated auto thieves who are using technology to bypass security systems and electronically gain access to Canadians’ vehicles. Yesterday, the Insurance Bureau of Canada (IBC) said it is finding that technology is having a major impact on vehicle thefts, evident in its annual list, released today, of Canada’s most frequently stolen vehicles.
“Electronic auto theft is on the rise across the country as more vehicles are equipped with technology like keyless entry fobs,” said Bryan Gast, National Director of Investigative Services, IBC. “Regardless of how a vehicle is stolen, auto theft is a serious threat to Public Safety and continues to cost all Canadians.”
Auto theft costs Canadians close to $1 billion every year. This includes $542 million for insurers to fix or replace stolen vehicles, $250 million in police, health care and court system costs and millions more for correctional services.
While some vehicles are stolen to commit another crime or to be used to go for a “joyride”, many others are stolen by organized crime groups to be sold to unsuspecting consumers in Canada, shipped abroad or stripped down for parts.
IBC’s Top 10 Stolen Vehicles list is compiled using data from IBC’s member companies across the country. This year’s list includes nine vehicles that don’t have ignition immobilizers, which are devices that can prevent thieves from hot-wiring a vehicle. The lack of an ignition immobilizer is the number one reason this series of Ford trucks continues to take up the majority of spots on the list.
- Ford 350SD AWD 2007
- Ford 350SD AWD 2006
- Ford 350SD AWD 2005
- Ford 350SD AWD 2004
- Ford 250SD AWD 2006
- Ford 350SD AWD 2003
- Lexus RX350/RX350L/RX450h/RX450hL 4DR AWD 2018
- Ford F250 SD 4WD 2005
- Ford F350 SD 4AWD 2002
- Honda Civic Si 2DR Coupe 1998
Even with today’s tech-savvy thieves, there are a number of steps Canadians can take to help protect themselves from becoming a victim of auto theft.
- Don’t leave a keyless entry fob in a vehicle or unprotected at the front entrance of your home. Thieves can use wireless transmitters to intercept the signal, giving them access to the vehicle. Consider storing fobs in a protective box or bag that blocks the signal.
- Install an immobilizing device which prevents thieves from bypassing the ignition and hot-wiring a vehicle. This can include devices that require wireless ignition authentication or starter, ignition and fuel pump disablers.
- Install a tracking device that emits a signal to police or a monitoring station if a vehicle is stolen.
- Don’t make your vehicle an easy target:
- Never leave a vehicle running when unattended.
- Lock the doors and close all windows when parked.
- Make sure to park in well-lit areas or in the garage.
- Use a visible or audible device that shows thieves a vehicle is protected.
- Consider using a deterrent like a steering wheel or brake pedal lock.
- Don’t leave personal information, like insurance and ownership documents, in the glove box when parked.
When Andy Williams sang “It’s the Most Wonderful Time of the Year”, he’d obviously never attempted to navigate the insanity that is a mall parking lot during the Christmas shopping season.
Heavy traffic, preoccupied drivers and pedestrians, often snow and ice-covered surfaces, races for empty parking spaces – It’s not all tinsel, twinkling lights and laughing children. In fact, parking lot accidents and parking lot crime spikes significantly each December, costing folks millions of dollars each year. Not only are the hazards of all those moving vehicles and wandering pedestrians an issue, parking lots are prime targets for thieves too.
By far the largest issue comes from inattentive drivers who back into other vehicles and then flee the scene, leaving the owner of the vehicle they hit to foot the repairs or even make an insurance claim.
With that in mind, here’s a few tips to keep you and your vehicle safe while you’re shopping this Christmas season:
- The further from the entrance you park, the less likely you are to suffer any dings or scratches from shopping carts or inattentive drivers opening their door into the side of your vehicle.
- Whether you’re backing into or backing out of your parking spot, watch for others doing the same thing or drivers who go too fast through the lanes trying to find an open spot.
- Avoid secluded areas of the lot at night, park near light posts when possible, and be aware of your surroundings when walking to your vehicle.
- Look out for vehicles cutting across the lot as opposed to staying in a lane.
- Double check to ensure you’ve locked your vehicle and put any packages in the trunk or out of sight.
- Now is a good time to review your automobile insurance policy. Liability coverage protects you if you cause an issue, collision coverage will take care of the damage to your vehicle and comprehensive coverage will take care of things should you run afoul of thieves or vandals.
The brokers and support staff at DPM Insurance Group are prepared to help you ensure you have the automotive coverage you need to keep you adequately protected this holiday season, and beyond. At DPM, your security is our responsibility.
If you drive, then at some point in time you had to shop for car insurance. Here at DPM Insurance Group, we help people every day find the best policy to suit their individual situation. In the course of that, we often get asked how a company determines the rate drivers pay. The honest answer is there are many things that affect insurance rates – some you can control, others you cannot.
Driving History : Your driving history impacts your insurance rate more than anything else. Fortunately, it’s also the factor over which you have the most control. The more infractions or claims you have – tickets, accidents and the like – the higher the rate. Speeding, which can significantly impact your rates, is the easiest thing to control.
If you already have some smudges on your driving history, all is not lost. Insurance companies don’t get to look back forever, and after several years of claims-free and ticket-free driving, past infractions disappear. Reducing bad driving habits now will save you money in the future. The sooner you get started, the sooner your rates will reflect your new driving reality.
Personal History: Yes, your personal history and demographics are a factor in determining insurance costs. Generally speaking, young, unmarried men tend to pay the highest rates. The reason is simple, data shows that statistically, these drivers are the biggest risk. While better insurance rates are not necessarily the best reason to propose, chances are getting married might reduce your insurance costs. So, once you do tie the knot, make sure to let your insurance company know of your new marriage status and benefit from being a responsible husband.
Type of Vehicle: The type of vehicle you drive is also a factor in setting your rate. Newer, more expensive cars cost more to replace and repair than older vehicles, so they cost more to insure.
Where You Live: Your insurance company is going to want to know where you park your vehicle at night. If you live in a residential subdivision and park in a garage, the odds of your car being stolen or damaged are small and the insurance company sees that situation as a relatively safe risk. But If you live in an area prone to theft and vandalism and park on the street, the risk to your vehicle goes way up. Your rates will reflect that reality.
Things You Can Control: One of the easiest things you can do to lower your insurance rates is to drive a car that’s safe, affordable, inexpensive to repair, and not on the list of most stolen vehicles. While that sounds complicated, it’s easier than you think to find a vehicle that meets all of the requirements. You can also avoid getting speeding tickets or other moving violations, which make you look like a bigger risk taker. Driver’s ed courses or defensive driving classes will all help lower your risk. Educating yourself on the right way to drive and then demonstrating you can do it will show the insurance company that you’re responsible. Responsible drivers have lower rates.
Things You Can’t Control: You can’t control things like your age or gender. Younger men tend to pay more for car insurance than any other demographic and if you fall into that category, there’s not much you can do except wait to get older. Another factor that might be beyond your control is where you live. Moving isn’t always an option and if you have to park in the wrong neighbourhood, you might pay more because of crime rates or even your neighbour’s driving habits. Unfortunately, it’s not always clear how your neighbourhood affects your rate.
At DPM Insurance Group, our licensed brokers and dedicated support staff are prepared to help you find the best insurance policy for you and your vehicle. Feel free to give us a phone call or click the link above for a no-obligation today.
With so many different insurance products on the market, not to mention the myriad choice of carriers and brokers, many people get overwhelmed when trying to determine the best insurance products for both their peace of mind and financial security.
DPM Insurance Group’s brokers and support staff undergo extensive professional training to help you determine the best products to ensure you and your family or your business are adequately protected. In the course of that, we are reminded every day that while this is what we do professionally, not everyone is well versed on how insurance works. While this is by no means an exhaustive list, here’s answers to some of the more common questions we field on a day-to-day basis.
How do I know I’m getting good value for my homeowner’s premium?
It’s the unfortunate truth that a large number of homes are under-insured. During your annual renewal, you should ask your broker questions about what is covered under your basic policy as well as optional coverage for specific situations. Once you’ve determined coverage that’s best for you, you’ll have to choose a deductible. The higher the deductible, the lower your premium will be – but remember, should the time for a claim come, you’ll want to ensure you’ll have the cash to cover that deductible comfortably.
Every time I’m on vacation and rent a car, I’m asked if I would like to purchase rental car insurance. Is this something I need or does my existing insurance cover the rental?
The simple answer is that it depends on your insurance carrier, and the policy you chose. Some policies may provide limited coverage while others provide none at all. If you’re headed off on vacation, don’t assume your rental car is covered; a quick call to your broker before you leave will give you the answer you need.
My grandmother left me valuable jewelry in her will. If it’s stolen or destroyed in a fire, is the jewelry covered?
Most homeowner’s policies will have limited coverage for things like jewelry. If your jewelry is quite valuable, you might want to add a floater to your policy which provides additional coverage. The same goes for valuable, specialized equipment that might be tied to a hobby. You should check with your broker to see how much is covered under your basic policy.
If my garage burns down with my car in it, is the car covered under my homeowner’s insurance or car insurance?
In this type of situation, your homeowner’s insurance policy will not cover the loss of your car, even though it was technically, “in your house.” Comprehensive physical damage coverage on your automobile insurance policy would be needed to repair or replace that vehicle.
I own a home-based business; do I need special insurance?
A business operated by one or two people out of your home should, at the very least, consider carrying more property and liability insurance than is provided in a typical homeowner’s policy. Depending on the kind of business you’re operating, you may want to consider one or more of the following: errors and omissions insurance, sometimes known as professional liability insurance; employment practices liability insurance; directors and officers liability insurance; and business identity theft insurance. Again, a consultation with your broker is going to help you decide what type of policy best fits your specific needs.
At DPM Insurance Group, your security is our responsibility.