Home | Cover | America | World

Insurance and you

How Does Your Car Rate?

By Lee Romanov

Tuesday, September 19, 2006

TORONTO -- InsuranceHotline.com, Canada's largest unbiased, online insurance rate quoting service, warns drivers that the type of car you drive can determine how much you pay for your insurance, but there is much more going on.

CLEAR RATING SYSTEM

The safety rating system used by insurance companies is invisible to the consumer who is trying to determine the best safety record of the vehicle they buy and which will also give them the best insurance rate.

HOW IT WORKS

Accident benefits, collision, comprehensive and direct compensation insurance premiums vary, depending on your car's safety and repair cost ratings. With the Insurance Bureau of Canada's Canadian Loss Experience Automobile Rating (CLEAR) system, each vehicle model is assigned a four digit number and insurance companies submit claims data for each of these car codes. Information from every reported accident contributes to this database and helps determine the cost of your car insurance.

If the CLEAR system determines that your car model is costly to repair, has a high probability of theft, or is involved in high-cost injury or death claims, you'll pay more for your insurance.

Vehicles are rated on a scale of 1 to 5 for injury and death claims, with 1 being the safest and therefore least expensive to insure and 5 being the least safe and most expensive to insure.

Collision factors are unlimited, but generally range from 10 to 60. A car with a collision factor of 36 will cost more for collision premium than a car with a collision factor of 20.

A car with a comprehensive factor of 30, which insures against such things as fire, theft and vandalism, will cost more for comprehensive premium than a car with a comprehensive factor of 16. Comprehensive factors are also unlimited, but generally range between 10 and 50.

Factors take into consideration in determining your car's CLEAR score include antilock brakes, airbags, theft deterrent systems and depreciation. So this knowledge is helpful in purchasing a vehicle, both for insurance premium and vehicle safety.

IRONICALLY

Ironically, while insurance companies clearly look at CLEAR as a rating tool, your postal code (where you live), your age and driving record can throw these numbers into chaos.

Example:

Good Safety Rating: A 2005 Toyota Tacoma 4 wheel drive has a good safety rating, a 1 on a scale of 1 to 5, and driven in the Toronto region could have a rate as low as $1,940 with one insurance company but as high as $6,673 with another. That's a $4,733 difference.

Poorer Safety Rating: A 2005 Kia Sportage 4 door, 4 wheel drive has a poorer safety rating, a 4 on a scale of 1 to 5, yet the same driver could pay as low as $1,782 with one insurance company but as high as $6,674 with another. That's a $4,892 difference.

Clearly, a vehicle with a poorer safety record can still have a better insurance rate than a vehicle with a higher safety record, when all the insurance rating factors are taken into consideration.

Drivers need to know that they can't guess which insurance company will give them their best rate, based simply on the vehicle's safety record. Drivers need to find the insurance companies which are targeting their rates for all aspects of their specific profile, to find the best rate.

InsuranceHotline.com takes into consideration all aspects of driver profile, vehicle safety record and where each insurance company has their best rates targeted, and delivers to the consumer the top 3 best insurance rates.

Go to www.InsuranceHotline.com before your renewal, be a good start to spending your money wisely in 2006.