Insurance-Buying Tips

Insurance is a significant investment. Before you purchase coverage, getting answers to key questions can help you make informed decisions.

While the following list is not exhaustive, when buying auto, home or business insurance, consider:

  1. What are your specific insurance needs? For instance:
    1. What coverage is mandatory for your vehicle? What's optional?
    2. What is the replacement value of your home and its contents?
    3. Is your business home-based? What risks are unique to your industry? What risk management strategies have you implemented?
  2. Is there value in bundling several policies with one insurance company? Consider that multi-policy discounts or loyalty programs may be available for:
    1. Insuring multiple vehicles as well as several drivers who live in the same household
    2. Adding coverage for your classic car, motorcycle and/or seasonal vehicle
    3. Insuring your cottage, boat, and/or recreational property with the same company as your primary residence
    4. Including multiple types of business coverage such as Directors' and Officers' Liability, Commercial Property and Special Events Liability.
  3. Who can best fulfill my needs? There are different ways to secure appropriate coverage, such as buying:
    1. Directly from a private insurance company, through a call centre or website (companies that sell insurance this way are called "direct writers")
    2. Through an agent who sells insurance for just one company
    3. Through a broker who deals with multiple insurance companies
  4. Where to find an insurance representative?
    1. Looking for a direct writer? You can contact the Canadian Association of Direct Relationship Insurers (CADRI) or call 416-773-0101 for a list of CADRI members.
    2. Considering an insurance agent? You may want to ask a trusted relative, friend or business associate for a referral.
    3. Seeking a broker to investigate the marketplace on your behalf? In addition to a personal referral, you can also contact your provincial insurance brokers' association or the Insurance Brokers Association of Canada.
    4. Require a broker for a specific insurance company? Contact the insurance company directly or visit its website. The company will be able to direct you to an appropriate broker.
  5. Ready to interview a potential insurance representative? Questions you may want to ask include:
    1. Are you appropriately licensed in this province? To verify that an agent or broker is licensed to sell insurance, contact the licensing body for your province.
    2. Are these the lowest policy prices?
    3. How can I save money by changing my deductible?
    4. What are the cancellation rules?
    5. Is the claims service available 24/7/365?
    6. If I'm in a vehicle collision and it's my first one, how will it affect my premium? What happens after one or more speeding tickets?