Price is often top of mind when buying insurance since it can be a huge expense for many people. However, many people hate paying for something they’ll hopefully never have to use. Plus, in certain cases (like car insurance), you’re legally required to have it. So, how can you get the coverage you need at the best price possible? Let’s take a look at some of the ways that you can save a few extra dollars on your home and auto insurance.

Buy online

One of the advantages of buying your insurance online is control over your quote and policy. For example, Sonnet (a digital direct insurer) allows you to quote and purchase your insurance online in just a few minutes. What’s interesting about Sonnet is that they give you the power to customize your quote or policy and to see any price changes in real-time. Once you’ve customized your policy to meet your needs, you can purchase your insurance right away, there’s no need to call in.

Select a higher deductible

A deductible is an amount that you’re responsible for paying in the event of a claim, after that, your insurance company will take care of the rest. By increasing your deductible e.g. from $500 to $1,000, you’ll be able to pay less when it comes to your premium. But, if you do have a claim, you will need to be prepared to pay this higher amount.

Know when to make a claim

As we all know, making a claim can affect your premium, but this doesn’t mean that you should never make a claim. The reason you have insurance is to ensure you’re protected if something happens (and this includes financially). You just may want to reconsider making a claim if the cost would be similar to the amount of your deductible. Also, keep in mind that not all claims impact your premium in the exact same way.

With home insurance, past claims can impact your rates for 5 years. However, some home policies offer first claim forgiveness, which means your first claim under your policy won’t be considered when it comes to your premium (as long as you stay with that insurer).

Auto claims, on the other hand, can impact your car insurance rates for 6 years. But, to help keep your premium the same, you can look into adding accident forgiveness to your auto policy. Accident forgiveness means that your first at-fault accident won’t be rated on your policy (again, as long as you stay with the same insurer).

Get discounts

It’s always a good idea to ask your insurance company what discounts are available. Different insurers can offer different types of savings or discounts for a variety of reasons. For example, in Ontario, you could look into adding a winter tires or a retiree discount to your auto policy as long as you qualify. Some insurance companies even give you a discount if you’re a loyal customer.

Bundle your home and auto insurance

If you have a secondary property, be it a cottage, vacation home, or rental property, insuring all your properties together with one insurance provider can result in savings for you. It’s as easy as that.

Similarly, if you have more than one vehicle, insuring them with the same insurer can also allow you to save on your premium. Often when you insure multiple cars together with one insurance company, you’ll be provided a multi-vehicle savings.

You can combine your home and auto insurance which will usually get you a multi-policy discount on your premium if your insurance is with the same company.

Ask about group insurance rates

Also called a group discount, this allows you to get a preferred rate for your home and/or auto insurance. When it comes to which groups are eligible for these preferred rates, it is tied to profession, education, and affinity. For example, your employer or alumni association may have a partnership with a certain insurance provider. Be sure to check out if any of your groups can get you this exclusive saving.

Shop around

Not every insurer is going to offer you the exact same price or coverage package. This is because insurance companies each use their own set of calculations to determine their premiums. It’s worth taking some time to compare quotes from multiple insurers to make sure you’re getting the coverage you need at the price you want. You can even shop around mid-term – in fact, sometimes it pays to switch. If you’re wondering how much it could cost you to cancel your policy mid-term, ask! Sonnet also has a Cancellation Calculator available online, which can provide you with an estimate (for the exact amount and process to cancel, reach out to your insurance provider).

Take preventive measures

Although you may not see a reduction in your premiums right away, taking preventive measures can help keep your premium low in years to come. By taking good care of your home and car, you’re reducing the likelihood of something happening and the need for you to make a claim. For example, this could include clearing all snow and ice from your car before driving in the winter or regularly cleaning your home’s eavestrough and downspouts.

Avoid getting tickets

Maintaining a squeaky-clean driving record can help to keep your premium low and is another reason why it pays to be a safe driver on the road. Tickets are rated on your insurance policy (and appear on your motor vehicle record) for 3 years.

Have a clean record currently? Ask your insurer about ticket forgiveness. If you qualify, ticket forgiveness means that your first ticket won’t be rated under your policy. Just a heads up, ticket forgiveness may not be available in all provinces.

Choose your car wisely

Not all cars are equal in the eyes of insurance. Some makes and models cost more to insure than others. This is because each vehicle is given a rating based on a collection of factors including how much it costs to repair, as well as its claims history. With all other variables being equal, a vehicle with a higher rating will cost more to insure.

When you’re shopping for a new (or used) set of wheels, it’s a good idea to get insurance quotes along the way. This will allow you to get a full picture of how much the vehicle will really cost. You can also look for vehicle features that can help to keep your insurance cost low such as a built in security system.

Check if you already have coverage

Sometimes you’re already getting certain coverages from another source and don’t need to pay the extra premium to have them on your auto policy too. For example, you may already have roadside assistance through your dealership or another organization. Or, you may already have one of the best credit cards in Canada with rental car insurance. In either case, be sure to carefully compare the coverage with what your car insurance company provides. That being said, it’s also really important to always read your auto (and home) policy to know what you’re covered for and to ensure all policy details are correct.

Final thoughts

It’s also worth mentioning one place where you shouldn’t cut costs, and that’s on your coverage. Although it can be tempting to forgo certain coverages or to reduce coverage limits in order to pay less month to month, it’s important to keep in mind that this can end up costing you way more in the long run. This is because if something happens and you’re underinsured, you may be on the hook for paying the expense out of pocket.