Canadian winters can be harsh and a challenge to drive in, and for drivers who fail to heed the precautions that need to be taken when winter storms in, a ticket could be in the forecast that could put a further chill on the season and heat up your car insurance rates.
Skate through winter safely, and protect your premiums, by avoiding these three tickets this winter.
To meet the challenge of winter driving, you need to be able to see out of your windows. Having a clear view of what’s in front, beside, and behind you while driving is at the very core of safe driving. However, not everyone takes the time needed to ensure that their vehicle is ready for the road ahead.
While the actual offence may vary by province, you can expect a ticket for something along the lines of an “obstructed view” if you have not fully cleaned the snow and ice off your vehicle’s windows and mirrors.
Your windows and mirrors are not the only parts of the car you should be clearing of ice and snow; your roof, hood, lights, and signals need to be cleaned off too. And don’t forget your licence plate, because you can get a ticket for an obstructed licence plate, if it’s not clearly visible. A quick swipe with your snow brush will ensure this is one ticket you won’t get.
Posted speed limits designate the fastest speed at which you can safely travel in optimal road conditions. When the weather is foul, or the roads are messy, you should lower your speed for safety’s sake and to avoid a ticket. And it’s not just speeding tickets you need to consider. There are other tickets you can get as well—even if you’re going the limit.
In Quebec, for example, you can be ticketed for failing to adapt your driving to the weather and road conditions (which includes a minimum $60 fine and two demerit points); while in Alberta, you can be ticketed with speeding at an unreasonable rate which will run you about $200 and four demerit points.
In Ontario, there’s no specific ticket for driving too fast for the weather conditions, but you could be charged with careless driving if it’s believed you’re driving without “due care and attention or without reasonable consideration” for others.
Play it safe and travel at a speed that takes into account the weather outside because “ice and snow means take it slow”.
With flurries in the forecast, it’s time to take the prospect of winter driving seriously. Clear your car of all ice or snow, keep a safe distance between yourself and the vehicle in front, and remember that your speed should reflect the weather or road conditions. You may also want to consider getting winter tires. Not only do winter tires offer up to 50 per cent more traction than all-seasons, helping to keep you safely on the road, but they can also help you save on your car insurance. Compare quotes today to see how much you could save on your premiums with a winter tire discount.
Every year the Insurance Bureau of Canada releases their list of Canada’s most stolen vehicles and this year eight out of the top 10 are built Ford tough:
“Between 2015 and 2016, motor vehicle theft across Canada was down slightly to just over 78,000 cases,” said Dan Service, Acting National Director, Investigative Services, IBC. “After two years of increased reports of auto theft, 2016 saw a 1% decline. The biggest increases were in Yukon where stolen vehicle numbers are up 22%, Nunavut where they are up 18%, and Saskatchewan where they are up 15%.”
“We see from this list that criminals continue to favour all-wheel drive and four-wheel drive, older, high-end vehicles,” Service added.
According to the IBC, cars are stolen for a number of reasons: they may be shipped overseas where they’re then sold to unsuspecting consumers who are unaware it’s a stolen vehicle; they’re scrapped for parts; or, they might be used to commit another crime. Whatever the reason, it takes less than a minute for a thief to steal your ride. As a result, the IBC advises drivers to take precautions to deter auto theft and:
This last bit of advice is new in recent years. Thieves can take more than your vehicle and the valuables inside when they steal your car. They could potentially attempt to steal your identity too. Identify fraud cases in Canada are up 16 per cent and identity theft is up 21 per cent, according to Statistics Canada.
If your car has been stolen, notify the police and your insurance company immediately.
This article is updated annually to reflect the the most current information released by the IBC.
Fuel prices are not a fan favourite in Canada; it’s right up there with car insurance premiums. In fact, the last few weeks have been particularly vexing for drivers at the pumps as gas prices have increased, Canada-wide, significantly.
You know you can save on car insurance by comparing car insurance quotes, but what about saving money at the pumps too, especially given the high price of fuel? After all, you probably spend as much on gas each year as you do on car insurance, if not more.
10 fuel efficient driving tips
The following driving tips will help increase your fuel efficiency and decrease how often you have to visit the gas station and fill ‘er up.
It all adds up
Free up your cash and drive with fuel efficiency in mind, and if you’re looking to save even more money, compare car insurance rates too. Speak with an insurance broker.
While there are plenty of perks to buying a used vehicle (starting with a more budget-friendly price tag), the process is a little different from buying a brand new vehicle — and there are some important steps you’ll want to take to avoid trouble down the road. Take these tips for a spin before you hand over your hard-earned money.
Once you’ve found a vehicle that seems right for you, do your homework and learn about the vehicle’s history before you consider taking it for a test drive.
A five-minute test drive isn’t nearly long enough to properly assess whether you’ll be happy with a vehicle for years to come. Plan on a longer trip so you’ll have time to hit the highway and some pothole-lined streets to get a sense of how the vehicle responds to different conditions. Check these steps off your list before and during your test drive.
When in doubt, don’t be afraid to take the vehicle for a second (or third) test drive before you commit to buying it.
Once you’ve put the vehicle through its paces with a good test drive (or two) and determined it’s the right vehicle for you, drive it over to your trusted mechanic and ask for a thorough inspection. A qualified professional will know what to look for and can warn you about any red flags. Yes, you’ll likely have to pay for this service, but it could save you hundreds (if not thousands) of dollars down the road.
So, you’ve done your homework, taken your dream ride for a test drive, and had it inspected by a pro. Before you sign on the dotted line, ask these important questions:
Before you take the plunge, find out how buying a used car can affect your coverage and the cost of your insurance — you might be surprised to learn, for example, that insurance won’t necessarily be cheaper for a used vehicle.
Once you’ve narrowed down your top picks, contact a licensed car insurance broker to go over your options and get the best coverage to suit your needs.
Written by Stephanie Fereiro
Shopping for used cars can be extremely tricky. In today’s day and age where you can shop for cars up and down the country thanks to the internet, it can be overwhelming and hard to know where to begin. In addition to this, there are many fraudulent sellers and scams that it is important to be aware of too. So, with all of this in mind – how do you get the most when shopping for used cars?
The first way to get the most out of your shopping experience is to carry out research. The internet is a fantastic tool for researching used cars as there is so much information out there. You can read what type of car you should buy, how much you can expect to pay, what scams to look out for, how to inspect a used car and much more. Not only will this help you to find what you are looking for, but it will also give you the confidence to get a good deal.
Shopping at a reputable dealership is vital in getting a good deal on a great car. Private sellers usually have lower asking prices, but this can be risky and you do not get the same level of consumer protection. Instead, visit a trustworthy used car supermarket where each car for sale has undergone a series of checks carried out by a fully qualified engineer. This includes places like Imperial Cars where you can also benefit from finance options.
Although the car may already have undergone a series of checks, you may also want to carry out your own. This could include getting a mechanic to provide their assessment and carrying out a vehicle history check. The latter is very important as it can be very easy to conceal an automobile’s hidden past. You should also take the car for a test drive to ensure that everything works as it should.
Negotiating is a key stage in getting the most out of your shopping experience. You should have an ideal and maximum figure in mind and never go over your maximum. It is important to be firm yet friendly and always show that you have done your research. With a little patience, you should be able to get a great deal and drive away happy.
Navigating the used car market can be daunting and especially if it is your first time. The above advice should help you to get the most out of shopping for second-hand cars and find what you are looking for.
**A guest post as written by Rachel Elders.
We never think that we are going to encounter any kind of issues behind the wheel of a car, but often you hear horror stories of motorists breaking down and becoming stranded. Whilst you can usually get roadside assistance to come out and find you, sometimes you can be left alone on the side of the road for lengthy periods. Needless to say, this can be very dangerous and scary – this is especially true at night and/or if you are in the middle of nowhere.
To ensure that you do not have your own horror story, it is worth purchasing a few pieces of equipment for these scenarios. These pieces of equipment could allow you to get back behind the wheel in no time at all, or at least to make it comfortably until you are rescued. Here are a few things that you should always have in the car with you:
A flashlight is essential as this allows you to see even when the sun goes down. Not only is this very important for safety at night, but it can also be helpful if you are working on the car and need to see clearly. You can also use a torch to flag down another car at night.
If you get into an accident you may require first-aid. Instead of waiting for somebody to come to you, have a fully stocked first-aid kit in the boot so that you can patch yourself up until help arrives.
Food, Water & Blanket
An obvious one, food and water ensures that you will not go thirsty or hungry if you are abandoned for lengthy periods. A blanket will help you to keep warm once the sun goes down.
A portable battery will allow you to charge your phone and call for help. This could be a life saver if you were to run out of charge.
You can use a hydraulic cylinder to jack a car and this could come in very handy if you need to work on the vehicle or change a tire. These are available from places like SGS.
Batteries dying is one of the major reasons that people are stranded on the side of the road. Be prepared by carrying jumper cables around with you and know how to use them.
These are the main things that every motorist should keep in their car. Being stranded on the side of the road can be incredibly dangerous and scary, but with the above, it could help you to get back on the road or stay safe and content until somebody saves you.
**A guest post as written by Rachel Elders.
With summertime here, you may be wishing you had a backyard swimming pool. There’s nothing like enjoying a dip in a cool pool on a hot summer’s day. Imagine drinking umbrella drinks on a lounge chair at the side of the pool and cooling off with a graceful cannonball. Why travel to paradise when you can enjoy it in your backyard?
A pool can be something for the entire family to enjoy, but it’s not without its costs. And not just the obvious ones; installing a pool will also impact your monthly home insurance premiums.
Does installing a pool add value do your home?
Depending on where you live, owning a pool may actually boost the resale value of your home, but in many cases it won’t. Simply put, most people either love or loathe pools – there’s very little middle ground. When it comes time to put your home on the market, homes with swimming pools tend to spend more time on the market than those without. Some prospective are scared off by the added work and cost of maintaining a pool. There’s also the liability issue, which we’ll discuss later. For now, let’s discuss the more traditional costs of a swimming pool.
First, there’s the cost of installing it. Installing an in-ground pool doesn’t come cheap. You can expect to spend at least $25,000 to install a swimming pool. Then there’s the cost of using your swimming pool. If it has a heater, that could cost you a pretty penny in utilities. You’ll also need to buy chemicals, such as chlorine, to ensure the pool is safe to use. It’s a good idea to budget at least $1,000 towards operating your pool on an annual basis. You’ll also need to budget for maintenance and repairs. The pump can die or the lining can tear so it’s a good idea to budget ahead of time.
Before installing a pool, ask yourself if it's worth it. If it’s to help boost the resale value of your home, there are better, more affordable ways. If you’re hoping to enjoy it with your family, that’s when it can make sense, as long as you’re willing to do the extra work that comes along with it.
A pool isn’t without its risks. If you have a swimming pool in your backyard, it’s important to ensure you have the proper home insurance coverage. If someone were to be injured using your swimming pool, you could be sued and held personally liable.
Whether you’re buying a home with a pool or you’re installing one yourself, you’ll want to tell your insurance provider right away. You’ll need a home insurance policy that specifically includes coverage for pools.
By installing a pool, you’re likely to see your home insurance rates increase. That’s because your insurance provider is taking on added risk. You’ll also want make sure your liability coverage is sufficient. This is important in case a guest gets hurt.
You can take preventative measures to minimize the risk of claims. For example, you can install a “no diving” sign and ensure that there’s a fence that’s locked at all times around the pool. It’s also best to ensure children at supervised at all times when in the pool.
In a perfect world, every single road would have ample space designated solely for cyclists, keeping them well insulated from the threat of motor vehicles. Unfortunately, things haven't worked out that way; and even on roads where bike lanes do exist, it is by no means assured that rider-driver accidents won't occur.
Accident prevention on the roads requires buy-in from both drivers and riders. Each of them is very much capable of disrupting the flow of traffic and instigating an incident.
That said, it is drivers, not riders, whose burden of responsibility is ultimately more crucial, since they are the ones who can do the most damage with their chosen mode of transportation. While negligent cyclists can absolutely trigger horrible situations on the roads, the extent of that disruption will be determined by what it caused the nearby motor vehicles to do—the same cannot typically be said for the inverse of that statement.
Here is what drivers need to know about sharing the road with cyclists.
As a driver, you can't properly co-exist with cyclists on the road unless you understand their non-verbal cues. Since bikes don't have the luxury of electronic turning signals or stop lights, that means learning their hand signals.
There are a number of signals that are used for the leader in a group of bikers to communicate with those behind him/her. Those aren't essential for drivers to know. What is essential, are the signals for right turns, left turns, and full stops.
A left turn signal is made when a rider's left hand is pointed straight out to the left, parallel with the ground, palm facing straight ahead. Right turn signals can be made when the same thing is done on the right, with the right hand; or, alternatively, when the left hand is brought up to form a perpendicular alignment between the forearm and bicep (again with the palm facing straight ahead). Finally, a stop signal also involves the rider making a perpendicular angle with the forearm and bicep; except for this one, the hand points down and the palm is facing behind the rider.
Cars making right turns at an intersection are one of the biggest hazards to cyclists. Although drivers turning right tend to remember that pedestrians have the right of way at an intersection, it often slips their minds that bikers who are continuing to go straight do as well.
If a driver makes that right turn before taking stock of the lane for approaching bikes, it could be game over for a rider. That's why drivers must always take a moment to pause and check their mirrors for an oncoming biker before entering the intersection for a right turn.
Bike lanes exist for a reason. Just because you don't see any bikes nearby at a given moment, you as a driver don't suddenly have the right to take over the lane for your personal use.
There are some notable exceptions to this. When drivers make a right turn, they will have to sometimes cut through a bike lane. That is fine, so long as it is free of riders passing through. Being in a bike lane as a driver is also justifiable if there is a need for an emergency stop and it is unsafe to do it elsewhere.
Parking in a bike lane will result in a fine, which may differ by region. In Toronto, the amount for doing it is $150.
Passing over-aggressively is also something that may result in fines for drivers if they are caught in the act. Again, the precise amount of that penalty will vary depending on the area.
Ontario updated its traffic laws in 2015 and passing was one of the rules that received an adjustment. The new regulation states that drivers must leave at least a metre of space between them and the drivers when passing. Failure to do so results in a minimum fine of $110 and two demerit points.
Too often a driver or passenger exiting the left side of a road-parked vehicle will fail to observe the space outside the door before opening it. A lot of the time, that can happen and nothing will come of it. But on the occasions where a biker does happen to be zooming by, the results will be fatal.
Hitting cyclists with a car door was another of the offences that was updated in Ontario two years ago. It nets offenders a minimum fine of $365 and three demerit points.
Between 2009 and 2015, more than 500 people have died on OPP-controlled roads because, to some degree, of driver inattention. That is completely unacceptable, and only serves to highlight the dire importance of driver education.
Plus, negligence on the road that harms a biker could cost a driver dearly. In addition to having to potentially pay out "no-fault benefits" through his or her insurance, the driver could be sued by the cyclist and have to pay out big time.
So study up on your responsibility, drivers.
If you’ve recently moved or changed jobs, you might be worried about the affect your new commute will have on your auto insurance policy. Although the change might be small, it is always possible that a change to your routine will cause your premiums to rise or fall.
This is why an increase to the length of your commute will result in higher insurance premiums.
The most likely reason your auto insurance will increase if your commute gets longer is that your likelihood of being involved in an accident will increase. As with all types of insurance, the riskier the insurance company considers you, the more it will charge you for insurance coverage.
People with longer commutes aren’t inherently worse drivers. However, people with longer commutes do spend more time on the road. By extension, these long-distance commuters are increasing the likelihood that they will get into an accident simply because they are driving for a longer amount of time. If you drive an hour to work each morning, it is hard to argue that you're less likely to be involved in a collision than someone who drives five minutes.
How to absorb the insurance cost of commuting?
So what’s the solution? It’s unreasonable to suggest you quit your job to work near your home (although that would help), but there are some things you can do to lower your rates.
First, you can pay the increased auto insurance rates and hope that the savings garnered from moving further from your workplace are enough to offset your increase.
Second, you can reduce the distance you drive on your commute by taking public transit. By only driving to the local bus or train station, you can dramatically reduce the amount of time that you’re on the road, which could lead to lower auto insurance rates. Plus, you’ll have more free time to read or listen to podcasts without needing to pay attention to the road for hours every day.
Third, you can ask your workplace if telecommuting is an option, even if it’s only for one or two days a week. Similarly, if you have co-workers who live in your area, you can try to set up a carpool. By reducing the number of days you spend commuting, you will lower your total commuting kilometres. Reducing the number of kilometres you drive each year could have a big positive impact on your auto insurance cost.
Finally, if you’re able, consider giving up your vehicle for commuting purposes all together. By declaring your vehicle a “pleasure vehicle,” you can benefit from some of the lowest insurance rates available. To get to work, you can try a combination of walking, public transit, biking or carpooling.
If you find your auto insurance rates unaffordable, or have recently experienced an auto insurance rate increase, consider reducing your commute. By spending less time on the road, you are reducing the likelihood of an accident, which could result in a lower auto insurance cost.
Whether you’re planning on driving up north for the weekend or just heading out on your daily commute to work, here are a few pointers to help you steer clear of the three most common collisions that result in car insurance claims.
Rear-end collisions are the leading cause of car insurance claims, making up about a quarter of all Economical auto claims across the country. Luckily, there are a few things you can do to avoid ending up in a rear-end collision:
The second most common type of car insurance claim happens when a parked vehicle is hit by another driver (including hit-and-runs, where a driver who hits a parked car drives away without leaving their contact information). There isn’t a whole lot you can do to protect your parked vehicle from other drivers, but there are a few smart moves you can make to reduce your chances of experiencing a hit-and-run:
Last but not least: single-vehicle collisions are the third most common type of accident that leads to car insurance claims. These include collisions with debris or animals on the road, vehicle rollovers, or accidental off-road driving. Here are three ways to avoid being involved in a single-vehicle collision:
While there are plenty of things you can do to avoid a collision, it’s not always possible to predict or prevent an accident — and that’s why you have car insurance. Your licensed broker can help you choose the coverage you’ll need to protect you in the event of a collision, and they’ll be there for you when you have to make a claim.
Written by: Stephanie Fereiro