People immigrating to the Toronto area from other countries may find it hard to get quality, affordable car insurance. Besides being one of the most expensive places to insure a car, Toronto is an overwhelming place for those who weren’t born in Canada. Fortunately, there are some things that new immigrants can do to help get an affordable rate so they can continue to drive once they move to Toronto.
Getting Cheap Car Insurance for Immigrants to Ontario
You need to do your research before deciding on a car insurance company. Ensure that you compare several companies and use a car insurance calculator if you want to find the cheapest rate possible. Decide on all the questions that you want to ask before contacting the companies and get ready to answer any questions. Note that most car insurance companies try to sell additional products that you may not need, so it’s important to understand the optional features before making a final decision. Keep these simple suggestions in mind to get cheap car insurance quotes in Ontario for new immigrants.
Get a Recommendation from Previous Insurers
Before you move, swing by your car insurance company’s main office and ask for a letter showing the number of years you’ve been insured and the number of years since you’ve had a claim. This type of letter will help keep car insurance for immigrants in Toronto affordable. It’s a paper driving history that your new insurer can use instead of a Canadian driving record.
Before getting the letter, check with your new insurance company to see if there is a format they prefer as following their rules will yield better results. If you’ve had several years of claims-free driving behind you, you can expect a hefty discount of 30% or more, depending on the company you go with. Make sure the letter comes from your insurance company and not your insurance agent.
Get Multiple Quotes
If you’re looking for cheap car insurance for immigrants to Ontario, one thing you can never do too much of is getting insurance quotes. The more quotes you get, the better. There will be some variation between insurance companies and at least one is likely to be lower than the rest. Ask what their discount is for claims-free records while you’ve got them on the phone so that you can factor your good driving history into the equation, even if they don’t. Getting a quote is easy and you can often do it over the phone or online before you even move.
Check for Discounts
If you’re a member of a professional organization, you can often get cheaper car insurance. This is especially true if your job is the reason you immigrated in the first place. Ask your employer if there are any organization contacts or discounts you can take advantage of to make getting car insurance more affordable. Often, professional organization discounts are worth more than several other discounts combined, especially for a newcomer.
Check with your broker and insurance company too. There may be other discounts that insurers offer that they will not bring to your attention until you ask. If you are insuring more than one car, or you can bundle your home or life insurance in a package with auto insurance, you may qualify for additional discounts, and since you’re starting a new life in Canada, you may need some of these products as well.
Your “New” Driver Status
Though you may have plenty of driving experience, your Canadian insurer may not fully credit you, even with a letter from your previous company. Taking a Ministry of Transportation approved driver training course may qualify you for further discounts on car insurance. You will have to weigh the cost of the training against the potential savings, but with Ontario’s high insurance costs, every bit helps over the long run.
Ontario insurers are starting to add usage-based insurance to product lines. A telematics device is placed in your car to collect and report car usage conditions, such as acceleration, braking, and the time of day the vehicle is driven. While not all insurers offer the program, those that do give an immediate five or ten percent discount on your car insurance bill, with further discounts possible as data about your safe driving habits is collected.
Car insurance is based on risk and people immigrating into Toronto don’t have a track record that’s accessible to insurers, so they don’t have much on which to base the risk. To help them get a better picture, bring your driving history with you, or be prepared to pay higher rates for several years while you establish your record.