Alberta drivers are bracing for auto insurance rate hikes in the double-digits after the UCP government cancelled a cap on rate increases.
The Insurance Bureau of Canada has some suggestions for fighting rising rates:
1. Shop around
“There are 45 insurers operating in Alberta, and they will all look at each individual consumer differently,” says Celyeste Power, IBC vice-president Western.
“The best thing to do is shop around and ask some questions of your insurance representative.”
2. Bundle Up
You can also see whether your current provider, or potential new provider, will award a discount if you buy multiple policies — like home and auto — through one company.
3. Add a ‘Fit Bit’
Power also suggests looking into UBI, or usage-based insurance.
“I call it fit bit for your car,” she says.
“It actually gives you discounts for good driving behaviour.”
The IBC says several Alberta insurance companies offer UBI programs, which involve a device or app to monitor your driving, with rates tied to the results.
4. Drop collision
Power says going without collision coverage could especially be an option for drivers of less valuable older vehicles.
5. Fight Theft
Some insurance companies may give you a discount if you install a theft-deterrent system. Check with your provider to see if you could qualify.
6. Up your deductible
This is something that could cost you more should you make a claim, but also lower your annual rate.
What is the industry doing?
As an industry advocate, the IBC is pushing for regulatory change in Alberta like allowing “pay as you go” plans where rates would vary with mileage, as well as other flexibility.
“In every other industry that you deal with, you can customize everything to your exact specification,” Power says. “In insurance, you can’t. You have two or three choices.
“We want to be able to deliver more choice.”.
She adds that there are injuries that are considered minor in other jurisdictions, but not in Alberta. The IBC would like that to bring costs to insurers down by changing that too.
“We believe money that hardworking Albertans are putting into the system should go toward care and taking care of people after an accident. It shouldn’t be on cash settlements.”