Tips For New Immigrants: Lowering Your Auto Insurance Rates

For a new Canadian immigrant, auto insurance may seem like just one more task you have to handle upon arrival. If you're coming in to work from the US, for example, you may discover that the rates are higher due to the fact that most Canadian territories have higher required coverage limits compared to US states. Fortunately, you can take some steps to help lower the sticker shock and get the rate you deserve.

Know the Licensing Requirements

Whether you're in Canada on a shortterm work visa or immigrating permanently, licensing requirements vary by province and territory. In most Canadian provinces, you can drive for a short period of time on the license from your country of origin. The length of time varies, so you must verify this information with your local government offices.

If you aren't immigrating permanently, but will be in Canada for longer than the length of time allowed on a foreign license, you can apply for an International Driving Permit (IDP) from your home country. Often, it's possible to lower your insurance rates if you have a Canadian driver's license or an IDP on file.

Bring Your Record

Insurance rates are based upon your safe driving history. It can be difficult for an insurance agent to verify your history if the bulk of it has occurred outside of Canada. Bringing your record with you and meeting with an agent or broker to discuss the details is the single best method for securing the appropriate discounts.

Request a claims history from the insurance company you used in your country of origin. The longer the record, the better, but generally a record from the previous 10 years is sufficient. You can also bring a copy of your official record from the driver's licensing agency in your home country.

Consider the Car

Like most countries, the type of car you drive affects your rates. Check with a local insurance agent before making a purchase if you plan to purchase a vehicle once you arrive in Canada. Generally, American cars are less expensive to ensure compared to those imported from overseas, but this can vary depending on local risks for vandalism and theft. A qualified insurance agent can tell you which makes and models are more expensive and which are generally less expensive to insure.

Look At Combination Coverage

You have many opportunities for discounts on your auto coverage. Most of the major auto insurers in Canada provide discounts for combining your policies. For example, you may receive an overall discount by combining both your auto and home or tenant insurance through the same company.

Although it's possible to reap some of the savings rewards from a lifetime of safe driving in another country after you immigrate, it will take some time to experience the full discounts enjoyed by native Canadian drivers. To save even more in the future, make sure you are fully aware of Canadian driving rules and take the necessary steps to make sure you are driving safely in your new home. Consult insurance agents to ensure you get the best rates possible.