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Choosing the right auto insurance coverage

Here’s some basic information about auto insurance to help you choose the coverage that’s right for you.

Standard coverage

First of all, you’re not allowed to drive without standard Civil Liability coverage. If you’re caught without it, you could be fined or possibly lose you licence. In addition, if you damage someone’s personal property, or cause an injury or fatality and are sued in a province other than Quebec or in the United States, you could face a hefty bill.

There are two other standard coverages that insure damage to your vehicle : Collision and Upset and All Perils other than Collision or Upset.

Optional coverage

Beyond standard coverage, you can select optional coverage options, depending on your situation and the type of car you have.

Ask yourself the following questions to determine the coverage that’s right for you.

Are you buying or leasing the car?

If your car is leased or financed, your leasing company will usually require that you add two basic coverages:

  • Collision and Upset, which covers you if your car rolls over or is involved in a collision with a person, an animal or an object, including a vehicle. Without this coverage, if you’re entirely at fault in an automobile accident, your vehicle repairs are not covered.
  • All Perils other than Collision or Upset, which covers you if your car is stolen, vandalized, damaged by fire, or if windows are broken or cracked.

How old is the car?

If your vehicle is recent, you may want to consider 5-Year Replacement Cost coverage. With this coverage:

  • If your vehicle is stolen or a written loss in an accident, it will be replaced with a new vehicle with the same features, equipment and accessories.
  • If the vehicle needs repairs, any parts that cannot be repaired will be replaced with brand new ones.

This coverage refers to endorsement 43 (A and E) of your auto insurance policy.

If your car is more than 10 years old, you may consider not including Collision and Upset or All Perils other than Collision or Upset coverage. Your vehicle may not be worth much more than the insurance premium charged for each coverage. Of course, it will depend on whether you are able to pay for these damages yourself.

On the other hand, if your car is less than 10 years old, you should include both Collision and Upset and All Perils other than Collision or Upset to cover the high costs of repairing or replacing a newer vehicle. Depending on the age of the vehicle, you may choose to increase the deductible from $250 to $500 or more. Higher deductibles will help reduce your insurance premium.

Do you often rent or borrow vehicles?

Civil Liability Resulting from Damage Caused to Vehicles of Which Named Insured is not Owner (including vehicles provided by an employer) coverage protects you if you damage a private passenger vehicle or trailer that you rent or borrow anywhere in Canada or the United States. Depending on what kind of vehicle you are renting for personal use, this means you may not have to pay extra for the rental agency’s insurance.

Would you have alternative transportation if your car was damaged badly?

The Travel Costs (broad form) option pays for a car rental, taxi or public transit when your car is in the shop because of a loss or damage that is covered by your insurance. It makes the whole inconvenient experience of being in an accident just a little more bearable.

What kind of items do you keep in your car?

Did you know that the only items that are covered under your auto policy are those permanently attached to your vehicle, like your car stereo? Any other items that are stolen from your car, like your CD collection, laptop, sports equipment, or cell phone, are covered under your home insurance. This means that if you don’t have home insurance, anything that’s not considered part of your vehicle isn’t covered.

To get an idea of the coverage you want and the cost, you can get a quote and then add or remove optional coverage and change deductible amounts to see how they affect your insurance premium.  However, make sure your quote includes all of the coverage you need. Take note of what coverage is included in the insurance premium so that you can more accurately compare quotes from different insurers.

Choosing the right auto insurance coverage

To help you make an informed decision when it comes to your auto insurance, read this overview of key coverages and what they include.

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