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article image8 common auto insurance myths you need to know now

Being aware of some common myths and popular beliefs about auto insurance can help save you money. From knowing how accidents affect coverage to finding out more about using rental cars, here are eight myths debunked.
1. Myth: My insurance agent got me the best deal on car insurance
Insurance agents work for one insurance company and will work to get you the best rate from their company to cover the insurance you need. You can still find similar coverage through another agency that will cost less.
Be sure to compare apples to apples. Insurance is complicated and you want to be positive the coverage is truly equal and you are not giving up something you need. Using an insurance broker that deals with many different insurance agencies will give you a better chance of securing you the top deal. A broker checks all the agencies they deal with for comparable products and recommends the best for you based on cost, your current infractions, claim payout history of an agency and the level of customer service you like to receive. You can get an online quotes from sites such as InsuranceHotline.com (see the form on the right-hand side of this article) that will check with various agencies.
2. Myth: Damage from avoiding a deer is not your fault
If you swerve to avoid a deer or other animal that runs in front of your vehicle and you then hit an oncoming car or go off the road, it will be an at-fault accident and claimed on your collision insurance. At-fault claims typically increase your premiums. It is safer to hit the obstruction, as there is less chance of serious damage and injury. In that case, you will file a comprehensive insurance claim. But you will not be deemed at fault, and typically premiums are unaffected. Provinces have varying rules on comprehensive coverage so check with your insurer in your province for details on this policy.
3. Myth: In a total loss, you’ll get back what you owe
When your car becomes a complete write-off after a big accident, you don’t necessarily receive the insurance amount you owe your bank for the car. You will receive the book price of the vehicle for your model, style and year. If you want to avoid being overwhelmed by your car loan after an accident, make sure you take advantage of additional insurance offered to waive depreciation on a car for 24 months. This will assure that your payout will cover the money owed to the bank.
4. Myth: Snow tires save me money on my insurance
Very few agencies will give you discounts for purchasing snow tires. This is not to say they won't save you money. Just having them on in winter driving conditions will go a long way to preventing an accident that could increase your premiums.
5. Myth: If you’re in an accident and don't make a claim, your insurance premiums won't increase
If you’re in an accident and the other party claims for damages, most insurance companies will still hold the crash against you record and increase your premiums for an at-fault accident. The same rule could apply to an accident where you are written a ticket and it's reported on your record. In these cases, check around for the best rates.
6. Myth: Male drivers pay higher premiums than female drivers
Don’t expect this bias in insurance coverage. Rates are determined based on an insurance company’s claims experience, as well as the driver’s profile and driving record, no matter the sex. A woman with a terrible driving record (tickets, accidents, little experience) could definitely pay more for car insurance than a male driver.
7. Myth: A rental car is always provided after an accident
You slid off an icy road and your car endured some damage; no problem, you can get a rental car while the damage is repaired, right? Not so fast. In Ontario if you didn’t purchase additional rental coverage and the accident is an at-fault accident you will not be covered for a rental while your car is being repaired. If you rely on your sole vehicle for work, be sure to check with your insurer (provincial rules vary), but you need to be sure you purchase the additional Loss of Use coverage, which many drivers consider a reasonable option.
8. Myth: Accident forgiveness covers everything
Typically, if you have accident forgiveness coverage, your first accident won’t affect your insurance rates. If you purchase accident forgiveness insurance as an add-on to your policy and think it will cover all instances of an accident, you’re mistaken. It will cover your first at-fault accident with your current insurer. If you’re charged with a serious offence in the accident it may not cover it, so check your fine print. If you decide to switch insurance agencies a new agency does not have to honour the prior agency's forgiveness and could charge you higher rates due to the at-fault accident.
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