How to Choose the Right Insurance Company

Auto insurance is required in many areas, cities and countries to provide drivers and passengers from law suits resulting from accidents and to help provide coverage against loss of vehicle and help with accident-related medical bills. Drivers throughout Canada are required to have at least basic auto insurance. In some areas of Canada, drivers cannot even have their vehicles registered without providing proof of auto insurance.

However, which minimum benefits are required and which are optional as additional coverage is determined by each province’s government. Additionally, some provinces have private-run insurance companies, while other provinces have government-run insurance companies; some provinces have both. Keeping these requirements in mind, here are some tips on how to find the right auto insurance company.

Finding the Right Coverage

Finding the right auto insurance coverage is very important. As the saying goes, your auto insurance is only as good as the coverage it provides. The first step in finding the right coverage should be determined by the providence in which one lives. For instance, according to the Insurance Bureau of Canada (IBC), individuals living in Alberta are required to have the following minimum required auto insurance coverage:

• Compulsory minimum third-party liability – The insured can collect up to $200,000 for one accident; however, once if this amount is used up on both a property damage and bodily injury claim, only $10,000 will go towards the property damage claim.
• Medical payment – The maximum amount paid out is $50,000 per person; $750 for chiropractic care; $250 for massage therapy and $250 for acupuncture.
• Funeral expense – up to $5,000
• Disability income payments – Up to $400/week can be paid for total disability for up to 104 weeks.
• Death benefits – $10,000 for head of household plus $2,000 to each dependent after the first, and $15,000 for the first survivor and $4,000 for each additional survivor.
• Impairment benefits through legal action
• Right to sue for pain and suffering – Maximum amount paid is $4,725
• Right to sue for economic loss in excess of no-fault benefits

Keep in mind that each province varies in the required coverage and minimum or maximum amounts payable. Once individuals have determined what they’re required to have for coverage, the next determining factor should be what best meets their needs financially. Most insurance coverage includes a deductible, which is the amount the insured must pay before the insurance company will begin to pay. While you’re not required to have a deductible, policies with no deductible are significantly higher. A good rule of thumb is not to have a deductible higher than what you can afford to pay in the case of an accident. Choosing a high deductible can mean being without transportation while trying to come up with the deductible. Once a deductible has been decided upon, individuals should choose the coverage that’s most affordable to them.

Find the Right Provider

Finding the right provider can be challenging at best because you need to find one that offers the coverage you need at an affordable price. Depending on the province, insurance companies may be government-run or private insurance companies. Each province has many insurance companies. Using another example, potential clients from Alberta can choose from 70 private companies, Nova Scotia has more than 60 private companies, while auto insurance in British Columbia is offered by a government-managed insurance company. When choosing the right provider, choose one that’s willing to explain the policy and coverage, while also helping you to find one that best meets your financial needs.

Are They Licensed Providers?

Another important factor when choosing an insurance provider is ensuring that they’re licensed providers. Insurance providers are licensed by federal regulators, provincial regulators or both. Every province in Canada has their own licensing bodies for insurance agents and brokers. To determine if a specific insurance agent is licensed, individuals should contact the licensing body in the province in which they reside. Information on different licensing bodies can be obtained from the IBC.

Check Financial Stability of Insurance Company

When you’re choosing an auto insurance company, it’s important to choose one that’s financially stable. You don’t want to find out that they’re broke or unable to pay claims AFTER you’ve filed a claim and paid hundreds of dollars in premiums. One way to find out the financial stability of an insurance company is by contacting the regulator in your province. Another way is by contacting the Office of Superintendent of Financial Institutions.

Check Consumer Complaint Ratios

Determining the consumer complaint ratio of an auto insurance company is much like doing a criminal background check on an individual or checking out a business with the Better Business Bureau. Advertisements for auto insurance company are only going to tell you their good points. They’re not going to tell you how many complaints they’ve had or about their unsatisfied customers, and every company has some unsatisfied customers. A consumer complaint ratio keeps track of the number of complaints an auto insurance company receives from its customers. It’s based on the number the company receives for every 1,000 accident claims it gets. Compare the ratio of different companies and try to avoid companies with a high ratio. Potential customers can get this information through the IBC.

Get a Quote and Compare Rates

Once you, as a potential auto insurance customer, have the important information you need regarding what to look for in insurance providers and insurance coverage, you’re ready to start contacting agencies. With so many insurance providers offered in each province, you’re going to have a lot to choose from. When you’ve found a few reputable insurance providers from which to choose, you’re ready to start doing some comparison shopping. While most consumers automatically want to choose the cheapest coverage they can find, this is not always wise. The insurance with the lowest premium may not offer the best coverage. When making comparisons, compare both the price and the coverage this price pays for.

Commercial Vehicle Insurance

The kind of truckers insurance you need can depend on the size of your trucking company, how many operators you have, where company trucks are parked after business hours, and more. Costs of your semi-truck insurance, i.e. owner-operator truck insurance can vary widely. Before meeting with an agent, know what information to prepare to help you get the right commercial trucking insurance quote.

Insurance for U.S. Residents Entering Canada

U.S. residents entering Canada must provide proof of auto insurance. If entering as a tourist, the individual can have U.S. insurance policy. The U.S. insurance company will provide the insured with a Canadian insurance card prior to the time the individual enters Canada. The Canadian National Trust Organization can provide tourists with information on entry regulations and mandatory insurance requirements.

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