If you’re worried about the price of car insurance, it’s time you start thinking like an insurer. Here are five things your insurance provider wishes you’d stop doing so you and your fellow drivers can enjoy lower premiums.
- Texting and driving.Distracted driving is becoming a bigger problem – and it’s raising insurance rates. In Ontario, statistics show that one person is injured in a distracted-driving collision every half hour, and if you’re on your phone behind the wheel, you’re four times more likely to crash than a driver focused on the road. Given the greater risk associated with texting and driving, it’s no surprise that insurance premiums are rising for people convicted of distracted driving offences. One ticket could increase your premium by more than 30 percent, and you can expect further increases with additional convictions. If you have a hard time ignoring your phone while behind the wheel, consider storing it in the glove compartment or in the backseat where you can’t see or reach it.
- Not reporting accidents.Have you ever avoided calling your insurance provider after an accident because you and the other driver decided to settle it yourselves? While you aren’t required to submit a claim after an accident, you should tell your insurance provider what happened in case the other driver changes their mind and files a claim or a police report against you. If you failed to report an accident – and your insurance company finds out about it – it could void your policy, and make it harder to find insurance with another provider. Even if you do intend to report the accident, you are still required to do so in a timely manner. In most cases, you’re required to advise your insurer within seven days of the collision, and failure to do so could give them grounds to deny your claim.
- Not communicating life changes. You’ll probably experience a number of changes in your life as a car owner, and your insurance provider will want to be advised of any major milestones – like getting married, buying a house, or moving cities. In some cases, your good news could earn you a discount – like getting married or buying a house. In others, like moving, you could see an increase depending on your new community. Withholding information could void your policy, like failing to tell your provider that you’ve made modifications to your vehicle or that you’re using your car for business purposes. If you’re worried about an increase to your car insurancecosts, make sure you shop around and compare insurance quotes so that you can find the best deal.
- Like distracted driving, speeding increases your risk of being in an accident. And with increased risk, comes a higher premium. If you’re caught speeding, you can face fines, demerit points and – if you’re going 50 kilometres an hour over the posted limit – a criminal charge that could result in a license suspension. To help you maintain your speed, consider leaving early so you feel less rushed, using the cruise control option on your vehicle to avoid the temptation of speeding, and making it a habit to periodically glance at your speedometer to put you in check.
- Not reporting insurance fraud/uninsured drivers. You might not be personally concerned with insurance fraud and insured drivers, but the truth is this massive problem is costing everyone – including you. For example, Ontario drivers see some of the highest insurance rates in the country, despite the fact that the province has one of the lowest rates of accidents and fatalities. The cause? High rates of insurance fraud are raising everyone’s premiums. To help combat this problem, the Financial Services Commission of Ontario asks drivers to step up and help in the following ways:
- Don’t sign blank insurance claim forms;
- Do not sign any documents or agree to any terms at the site of an accident;
- Keep detailed records and double check any claim forms for mistakes;
- Demand detailed repair and medical bills to make sure you received all the goods and services you were billed for; and
- Call the police and your insurance provider – or submit an anonymous tip – if you suspect auto insurance fraud.
Your insurer wants you to be covered at an affordable price, but for that to happen you need to work with them to maintain a safe driving record and comply with the policies and procedures that are put in place to protect you and your vehicle. The more honest and forthcoming you are with your insurer, the better they’ll be able to serve you and your fellow drivers.