We Need to Talk: 10 Things You Should Disclose to Your Car Insurance Provider

When you experience a big life change, your car insurance provider probably isn’t the first person you call to share the news. However, by failing to disclose important information to your insurer, you could be missing out on discounts that could save you money. Even worse, you could potentially invalidate your policy – meaning you won’t be covered next time you need to make a claim. Here are 10 things you should always tell your insurer.

  1. You’re moving. A change in postal code could equal a change in your premium – either higher or lower depending on your new neighbourhood. Either way, your insurance provider needs to have your updated address, and failing to tell them about your new location could invalidate your plan.
  2. You just got married. Did you know that many insurance companies offer a discount to married couples? Insurance rates are calculated by analysing risk levels, and many insurers have the statistics to prove that married people get in less accidents!
  3. You’re modifying your vehicle. Before you make any changes to your car, contact your insurance provider to find out whether or not the modifications will affect your coverage. Even seemingly innocuous changes – like tinting your windows or installing a new stereo system – could impact your policy. Anything that increases the value of your car – or the risk that it will get in an accident – will likely change your coverage.
  4. You’ve retired. Saying goodbye to your morning and afternoon commute isn’t just good for your stress levels – it can also lower your premium!
  5. You’re using your car for your business. If you’re self-employed and use your car for work purposes, your insurance provider needs to know. This Toronto driver found out the hard way that using a vehicle for undisclosed business purposes can void your policy.
  6. Your teen just got their license. Even if you’re not planning on letting your teen behind the wheel on their own anytime soon, your insurer still needs to know there is another licensed driver in your home. It likely won’t affect your premium, but failing to disclose this information could get you in trouble.
  7. You suspect insurance fraud. Insurance fraud costs Ontario drivers an estimated $1.6 billion each year, so it’s a serious problem that concerns all insurance providers. If you suspect fraud – such as your mechanic charging your provider for services or parts that weren’t supplied after a collision – you should alert your insurer right away.
  8. You got in an accident. Even if you’re not planning on making a claim to your insurance company, you should still report your accident. If the other driver changes their mind down the road and submits a claim or files a police report, your insurance provider could deny your claim if you didn’t tell them about the collision when it happened.
  9. Someone else will be driving your car regularly. If someone else will have regular access to your car, you need to advise your insurance company. The new driver could change the risk level for your vehicle, and withholding that information could be considered insurance fraud.
  10. You installed an alarm system. Installing an alarm system in your car reduces the likelihood that it will stolen – meaning your insurance provider is assuming less risk by covering you and your vehicle. In many cases, your new alarm could earn you a discount.

When it comes to your car insurance, honesty is always the best policy. If you’re concerned that sharing new information with your provider will raise your premium, look for other ways to save money. You can compare insurance quotes online to find a better deal, or ask your provider about discounts that could offset the cost of an increased premium.