Buying Car Insurance
If you're considered a high-risk driver, insurance companies consider you to have a high probability of being involved in a claim and therefore must be compensated for taking the risk of insuring you. The best way to get rid of your high-risk driver status is to drive safely and keep a clean driving record. Traffic violations and at-fault accidents disappear off your record after a certain number of years (3 years for tickets and 6 years for accidents). If you continue to drive safely eventually your status as a 'good driver' will be restored and you'll be able to obtain insurance from standard insurance companies at much better rates.
A couple of at-fault collisions, a few traffic violations, or an impaired driving conviction is all it takes to get a high-risk driver designation from your auto insurance company. High-risk also means high auto insurance premiums, often for a period of several years or perhaps worse, an outright cancellation or non-renewal of your existing Ontario auto insurance policy.
For those in this unfortunate situation, there is an insurance pool called the Facility Association, which serves as a last resort for those unable to convince an auto insurance service provider to insure their vehicle with an appropriate policy. However, a checkered driving history and the high risk associated with unsafe driving practices will still work against candidates as far as auto insurance costs go.
There are alternatives for those who are motivated. The first step is to start shopping for competitive auto insurance rates in Ontario. Using a comparison site such as Rates.ca will help any driver find an auto insurance provider in Ontario at a better price than expected. Auto insurance companies in Ontario do not necessarily operate the same and will arrive at their own assessment, which often means drivers will be presented with a range of insurance options with different cost structures.
Even though drivers still fall in the high-risk category, comparing quotes represents an opportunity to start improving your driving record. It’s best to discuss your accidents, infractions and convictions openly with your provider and to find out how long a time period they will count against you, as this varies from province to province.
If you’re a relatively new driver and haven’t taken a defensive driving course or a safe driving program, enrolling and completing an approved course may present a welcome opportunity for a discount.
Similarly, many Ontario auto insurance companies have discounts available to customers who install additional safety features, upgrades, or alarms in their vehicles. To save money, high-risk drivers might also want to consider trading in their cars for a different model equipped with better safety equipment, or one that rates lower in car theft frequency or fares better in collisions. Information is available from the Insurance Bureau of Canada, which issues a Canadian Loss Experience Automobile Rating (CLEAR) that is used by several Ontario auto insurance companies when setting base premiums.
Usage-based insurance (UBI) is another option that has been adopted by several insurance companies in Ontario. This takes the form of a device–run by telematics technology–planted in the cars of customers to track and record how they drive, including monitoring quick turns, hard acceleration, braking and overall speed.
Several Ontario auto insurance firms now present customers with a five to 10 percent discount to do a trial run. In the course of trying to establish a better driving record, having such objective data in the hands of auto insurance providers may help the high-risk driver who conforms to safe driving habits. The data cannot be used to increase your premium.
As a high-risk driver, it’s even more important to shop around and compare high-risk car insurance rates. Keep track of your claims and convictions, and know when they’re set to come off your record: three years for convictions and six to nine years for claims. Once something comes off your record, your rate can go down, and you might even fall back into the low-risk category.