Although basic insurance standards vary from province to province, all Canadian car owners are legally required to have automobile insurance on each of their vehicles. Here Lisa Purves, director of personal auto at Intact Insurance, explains how you might be able to save yourself money and a headache by avoiding these simple but common mistakes.

1. Not asking. Always inquire about discounts when you're negotiating your insurance. Your provider may be able to offer you better rates based on a good driving record. Bundling your insurance into a home-automobile package might also help save you money. Or consider signing up for a usage-based insurance program, available in some provinces, that rewards you for safe driving habits.

2. Paying by instalments. Some insurers charge interest if you pay your premiums by monthly instalments. If paying upfront isn't an option, prioritize paying on time. Late or missed payments may result in further fees or even a policy cancellation, which could all lead to more expensive future premiums. You can set up pre-authorized payment arrangements with your bank so you'll never miss a payment or be late.

3. Long commutes. Driving for an extended period of time to work every day means more mileage and time on the road, which both increase collision risk and wear and tear on your vehicle. These increased risks could potentially raise your insurance premiums, even with a good driving record. You may be able to reduce your mileage and time on the road by car-pooling, taking public transit or working from home for a few days each week.

4. Disobeying the law. Traffic violations such as speeding, driving under influence, and distracted driving may cause your premiums to spike. Always pay attention on the road and never rush. This will help keep you, your passengers and other motorists safe.

5. Lending your car. Before handing over your keys, think about how it may impact your vehicle and insurance record. Offer a lift and some help instead. Remember that anyone borrowing your car needs a license and permission to use your vehicle. If someone is borrowing your vehicle regularly, you should consider updating your policy to include them under your coverage.



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