Money-Saving Insurance Tips

Shopping for a car?

Check its claims experience before you buy.

If you're in the market for a new car, choose one whose claims experience is good. Most insurers now use the CLEAR (Canadian Loss Experience Automobile Rating) system of rating vehicles for insurance purposes. That means they take into account a vehicle model's claims experience (along with other so-called "risk factors" like your driving record, where you live, how far you drive, how often you drive, and your age) when they calculate your premium, rather than using the manufacturer's suggested list price, as was done in the past.

In other words, vehicle models that cost more to repair, have fewer safety features, or are stolen more often cost more to insure.

You can check the claims rating for each vehicle model in the free brochures "Choosing Your Vehicle" and "How Cars Measure Up," both published by the Vehicle Information Centre of Canada (VICC), a division of the Insurance Bureau of Canada that compiles claims information.

"Choosing Your Vehicle" outlines the availability of safety and theft- deterrent devices on the latest model-year vehicles, and offers comparative insurance rankings for all models of cars for the past five model years; "How Cars Measure Up" shows the insurance claims experience of the most popular new Canadian models of private passenger vehicles for the latest model-year available (usually about two years behind the current model-year).

To obtain a copy of these brochures, contact VICC at:

240 Duncan Mill Road, Suite 700, Don Mills, ON, M3B 1Z4
Telephone: (416) 445-1883;
(For "Choosing Your Vehicle," call the Insurance Information Centre of Canada at 416-445-5912, toll-free 1-800-761-6703)
Fax: (416) 445-2183;
E-mail: [email protected];
Web site:

Or ask your insurance representative how the model you are considering ranks in the claims department.

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The above is intended as general information only, and does not constitute legal advice. Be sure to check with your insurance representative regarding your specific situation.