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How To Drive Safe And Save BIG Bucks
DR. J.D. SMITH, B.A., C.C.I.B, LLD
Visiting the showroom to look at new or used cars is always fun to do, especially if you take along your grandson. Most of us do not take the time to consider how we will insure the new beauty or what the insurance could cost. The average cost for insurance coverage in Toronto is now about $1850.

Car insurance premiums are set based on your driving record, insurance record, the make and model of the car you own, as well as the purposes the car is used for and where and how far you drive. Insurance benefits attached to the policy differ widely from area to area depending on where you live. The rates in the GTA are higher as there is more theft, traffic to contend with and accidents.

Choose Wisely
You can help control the cost of your insurance through the vehicle choices you make. Before buying a car, you may want to ask yourself some important questions.
  1. How well will the car protect the occupants in a crash?
  2. How well will it assist the driver in avoiding a crash?
  3. How much will it cost to maintain?
  4. Will it hold its value in the resale market?
  5. Is it likely to be broken into or stolen?
  6. What type of alarm system is installed?

Each year all the car insurance companies gather information about car accidents, theft and other incidents that lead to insurance claims. Some European cars will cost more to repair, so the insurance cost is naturally higher. Over 600 cars a week are stolen in southern Ontario and many are shipped overseas, within days. I recommend the Boomerang alarm system, www.boomerangtracking.com for every car over $ 45,000, regardless what kind of system comes with the car. This way they can find the car anywhere immediately.

Driving Habits

Periodically check your own driving habits. Do you always use your mirrors to be aware of traffic around you? Do watch other vehicles to better anticipate their movements, and allow time to stop if the car ahead has to brake suddenly? Do you leave plenty of space?

I cannot believe the number of drivers who pull out into on coming traffic assuming people will stop. If you are hit it is your fault. Your insurance costs will go up for 6 years. If you are making a left turn, for any reason, it is also your fault, and you will be charged. Every 2 years most insurance companies check your abstract for tickets. Expect to be non-renewed with 4 or more tickets and your costs will double.

My pastor friend finally got coverage this week for, believe it or not, $15,967 for 2 cars 1999 and 2001. He and his wife were not careful and had 2 small fender benders, in 3 years, both of which he could have paid. His insurance company was a direct seller and just took the claims, without giving any advice, and when 5 months later they found out they also had 3 tickets, they cancelled this week, on renewal and a facility type of company was his only choice. The moral is…be careful and have a good reputable insurance company

Daytime Running Lights increase your visibility. Half of all collisions occur when drivers fail to see one another or misjudge the speed of an on-coming vehicle. If your car is older and does not have daytime lights, make it a habit to turn low beams on every time you start the car. ALSO always wear your seatbelt properly and ensure everyone in your car does the same.

Reducing Costs
Good drivers enjoy reduced premiums. Seniors get extra discounts with some companies. The guide in this Forever Young edition will be very helpful. Those who have collisions or convictions usually have to pay 30 to 100% more. A conviction for drinking and driving or even a "charge" will make life difficult. Don't do it. Facility rates for most vehicles are about $4,000. Save your insurance for the big claim over 2000.

Be careful who uses your car. If you lend your car to others and they cause an accident, your policy will be affected. You will carry the loss.

  1. Increase deductibles, and remove collision from older vehicles
  2. Are you getting the extra discount some companies give for combining house and car?
  3. Seniors get better rates, with many companies. BUT, if you are over 69 stay with the company you are with as you will have a good history with them, and when and if there is a claim, they will give you the service.
  4. When you have found a good competitive Broker, don't be switching ever year. Companies today look at this and want long term clients.
  5. If you are over 55, find a broker that targets this group and get the discounts now.
  6. Some brokers allow you to do your own quote on the net 24/7 and then call them if you like the package. This is a great way to shop and then see if you like the service and person who will explain the coverage's and options available.

The government is working with insurance companies to reduce the renewals by up to 10%. This fall is a good time to review your coverage's and costs.

Car Theft

Protect your car from thieves and vandals. Where possible, park in busy, well-lit areas. Do not to be too obvious about putting valuable items in the car or trunk and then leaving it unattended. Thieves are looking for clues on which car to break into - even in busy streets and in parking lots.

Double-check the doors when you leave. Believe it or not, doors are just left unlocked in more than 70 per cent of cases involving stolen cars. Many people now use code numbers or have identifying marks etched into the key areas of your car that will stop a thief even bothering to consider your vehicle. The company engraves a code number on the car windshield or side window, and on key parts. The parts are then more difficult for thieves to sell, and usually stop them from targeting your car.

If you do buy that new car you have dreamed about, and you put into practice some of these suggestions, you can be sure driving with your grandchildren, I have 9, will be safer and your insurance costs will be less. Save driving

J D SMITH

RIBO JD Smith Insurance Brokers
105 West Beaver Creek Rd.
Richmond Hill, ON, L4B 1C6
1-800-917-7283
Tel: 905-764-7868
Fax: 905-764-9618
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