Not all drivers in Canada are the same. Some drivers are safer than others, as they are more likely to abide by the speed limit posted on the roads rather than treat the streets as a racetrack. Those who are less likely to abide by auto laws and regulations are more likely to become high-risk drivers, which means that their insurance premiums may skyrocket or they may be denied insurance from insurance companies entirely. If you're a high-risk driver, here's what you need to know.
Factors That Define You As A High-Risk Driver
What would make insurance companies consider you as a high-risk driver? It's simple. They take a look at both the amount of at-fault accidents that you have been in, and the amount of tickets that you have received. The definition will differ depending on the province that you are in. For example, a single at-fault accident on your record may boost your insurance premiums by 15% while two at-fault accidents in BC can boost your insurance premiums by 40% to 200% depending on your driving record.
Keep in mind that the insurance company that you purchase your auto insurance from will also have different regulations put in place. Some insurance companies will not count your first at-fault accident although it may stay on your record for 6 to 10 years. As such, different insurance companies may categorize you as a high-risk driver at different times. Just because your current auto insurance company has labeled you as a high-risk driver does not necessarily mean that another insurance company may do the same.
The Affect It Has On Your Insurance
On top of having to pay higher insurance premiums, you will also get less coverage. This means that you may be able to choose from less additional types of coverage that offer more protection on the road. For example, your insurance company may not cover the cost for rental vehicles or offer you roadside assistance. You will have to earn those privileges back once you have established that you have become a safe driver.
Tips for Lowering High-Risk Auto Insurance Premiums
Your best bet at reducing high-risk auto insurance premiums is to become a safer driver, and to have less tickets and at-fault accidents on your record. If you keep a record of the amount of tickets and at-fault accidents that are on your record and when they expire, you can purchase your auto insurance premiums after the expiry dates and enjoy cheaper insurance premiums.
High-risk drivers in Ontario may also benefit from installing a driving monitor system and a data collection device to their vehicle. The insurance companies will generally record three specific variables: acceleration, braking and the amount of use that your vehicle gets. Based on these three criteria and your driving habits, you may be able to enjoy lower insurance premiums the next time that you renew your plan with them.
Generally speaking, drivers, who accelerate in a consistent manner, are able to avoid braking abruptly and use vehicles in non-peak hours, are given credits and deemed as safer drivers. The insurance companies look for trends in your driving patterns, so one or two abnormalities will not affect your driving record with them. In short, if you had to brake abruptly once, don't worry about it.
The market for high-risk auto insurance plans is not as limited as before. There are many insurance companies that now offer a lot of options to choose from; however, you may have to do more research and shop around with more insurance companies in order to find what you need. Talk to your insurance agent for more about this topic.