There are all kinds of tricks that drivers use when looking for cheaper car insurance. You shop around to see if other companies are offering lower rates. You look through your club memberships and professional affiliations to see if one of them might net you a discount. You may even base your choice of a new car partially on the cost to insure that car. But what you may not realize is that you can often get cheaper insurance just by improving the car that you already have. Take a look at some additions and upgrades that can give you a less expensive insurance bill.
There are plenty of good reasons to purchase winter tires for your car, even without an insurance discount. Snowy and icy roads are slippery roads, but winter tires shorten your braking distance and provide improved traction, allowing you to avoid accidents caused by sliding on the ice. Some insurers already offered a discount for drivers who use winter tires, because they know those drivers are at less risk of an accident.
However, if you live in Ontario, it just got much easier to find a winter tire insurance discount. As of January 1st, 2016, all Ontario insurers are required to offer a discount to drivers who use winter tires. This regulation is part of the province's overall plan to lower insurance rates for its drivers. The amount of the discount is up to the insurer, and you'll need to contact your insurer for information about how to document and verify your use of winter tires in order to get the discount. This change should help Ontario drivers bring their insurance costs down a bit. Drivers in other provinces may find that as the demand for winter tire discounts increases, more insurers start offering similar discounts in their home provinces as well.
An auto immobilizer is an anti-theft device that prevents the car from starting without the use of a key containing a code for the immobilizer. Immobilizers that are approved by the National Standards of Canada disable the starter motor, the ignition switch, and the fuel pump.
To understand why auto immobilizers qualify you for a discount, it's important to understand just how much car theft can cost. The Insurance Bureau of Canada reports that car theft costs around $1 billion a year, and that's before taking into account the injuries and fatalities that can occur as the result of car theft. Every driver that uses anti-theft devices in their vehicle is helping to reduce that statistic, and so insurers are motivated to encourage drivers by offering a discount. Other anti-theft devices, like tracking devices, can also get you a discount, but auto immobilizers are the most effective and will probably get you the biggest break on your insurance premiums.
Telematics devices are small tracking devices that you attach to your car. Unlike anti-theft tracking devices, these are designed to monitor where you drive – and not just where, but how you drive. The device records things like acceleration, braking speed, and the times of day that you spend driving. It transmits this information to your car insurance company, which can then base your premiums on your real-time driving behavior.
Unlike tires or anti-theft devices, a telematics device doesn't necessarily improve your car or make it safer. It may, however, make you a safer driver: insurers say the devices result in fewer accidents and fewer insurance claims. They also say that drivers can reduce their premiums by as much as 25%. It's possible that being aware that your actions are being recorded can help make you more cautious, or perhaps knowing the amount of money you can save is a powerful impetus to develop better driving habits.
Using upgrades or additions to your car to get an insurance discount makes good financial sense. When you make your car safer or harder to steal, or even take steps to improve your own driving habits, you get two benefits – you spend less money on insurance premiums, and you're also less likely to have to spend money on things like traffic tickets and deductibles for accidents. Talk to your insurer about how you can improve your car for a discount.