Should professional drivers pay less for their personal car insurance?

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Do all insurance companies [offer discounts to] professional drivers? If professional drivers are known to be the safest drivers on the roads, why don’t all insurance companies give us a discount on insurance rates? I drive school buses and limos, and I have my own [driving record]. If we wear [more advanced classes of driving] license, shouldn’t we be rewarded for a good driving record? We continually take defensive driving courses, practice what we are taught, and act defensively on the road. – Gerald, Middlesex, Ont.

It may come as a surprise, but being a professional driver probably won’t save you money on your personal auto insurance anywhere in Canada. All drivers receive discounts for maintaining a good driving record. What matters is how you drive, not how much training you have.

“No company we know of offers a discount if you have more than one G license [standard driver’s licence]said Adam Mitchell, CEO of Mitchell & Whale, an insurance broker based in Whitby, Ontario. “They’ll rather look at how long you’ve been driving without [conviction] or at-fault accident.

When it comes to your driving record, companies typically rate you based on the number of driving convictions — for example, speeding tickets — and at-fault collisions you’ve had in the last six years. But, depending on the insurance company, you can get even bigger discounts the longer you keep a clean record.

“There’s a company with literally a 25-year rating,” Mitchell said.

Unless your insurance policy forgives your first accident, a single at-fault accident could reset your rating to zero, he said.

But don’t professional drivers receive additional training? Although the rules vary by province, most education requirements are similar. The amount of additional training you need varies by license type or class. To get a school bus driver’s license in Ontario, you need at least 6.25 hours of classroom instruction – and your license can’t have been suspended in the last year.

Records proven?

While some insurance companies give discounts to brand new drivers who have taken a driving course – for example, a new driver with a G1 license in Ontario can go from a rating of zero to three stars if they has had driver training — insurers don’t give discounts to professionally trained drivers, Mitchell said.

“Driver education programs give new drivers a better driver rating – often equivalent to a few years of driving experience from a rating perspective,” the Insurance Bureau of Canada said in an emailed statement. . “[But] it is rare for an insurer to offer an additional discount for a driver with multiple licenses, being a professional driver or taking advanced defensive driving courses. These “professional” drivers would already potentially be entitled to the best rates, provided they have an excellent driving record.

Provinces with government insurance – British Columbia, Saskatchewan and Manitoba – do not offer additional discounts for personal insurance for professional drivers.

“Insurance discounts under the Safe Driver Recognition Program are based on a person’s actual record of traffic convictions and at-fault collisions, not on the assumption that their level of training and experience makes him a safer driver,” said Tyler McMurchy, spokesman for the Saskatchewan government. Insurance, said in an email.

Advantages and disadvantages

No government regulations prohibit companies from offering discounts to professional drivers, as long as they can prove that professional drivers are at lower risk of accidents, insurance broker Adam Mitchell said.

For example, statistics should show that ambulance or school bus drivers with 10 years of clean driving are safer drivers than any other driver with a 10-year clean driving record.

“The regulator isn’t deterring them from giving discounts, but they better be prepared to back it up statistically,” Mitchell said. “We couldn’t get [companies] on the record to say why, but we can hypothesize that it’s either that they don’t have enough data or the numbers don’t back it up.

Moreover, even professional drivers can still get tickets and have accidents.

Last month, an Ottawa-area school bus driver was caught driving more than 40 kilometers per hour over the speed limit on a bus – with children on board.

He was charged with stunt driving and his license was suspended for 30 days. This is the same penalty a driver with an ordinary license would receive.

As for additional penalties, in Ontario, for example, all drivers can have their license suspended after receiving 15 demerit points. But drivers with a school bus license can have their license downgraded to the next class if they get eight demerit points, Ontario’s Ministry of Transportation said in an emailed statement.

But if you’re really a safe driver, whether you’re a professional driver or not, you might want to consider usage-based insurance, Mitchell said.

It’s a bit like having your insurance company in the car with you.

It uses either an app on your phone or a device built into your car to track almost everything you do on the road, including how hard you brake, how fast you accelerate, if you exceed the speed limit. speed and even if you use your phone.

Several companies, including Desjardins, Intact, Travelers Canada and TD Insurance, offer programs that assess how you drive and offer a discount for safe driving – on top of the discounts you already get.

“If you are willing to put your money where your mouth is, they will follow you and reward you. It can be up to 30% off [depending on the company]”Mitchell said.

But in some provinces, including Alberta, Quebec and Ontario, if the device indicates driving habits that your insurance company deems unsafe, they’re allowed to charge you more than you’re currently paying.

“It goes both ways,” Mitchell said. “You might end up paying 5-10% more.”

A usage-based program, Ajusto from Desjardins, offers good drivers up to 25% off safe driving. But drivers who “tend to be less attentive behind the wheel” could see rates rise by up to 20%, Desjardins said.

“It is important to remember that this is a voluntary program for people who are willing to demonstrate that they are safe drivers or who are willing to improve their driving habits based on feedback from the application,” Desjardins spokeswoman Jessica Spina said in an email.

Do you have a driving question? Send it to globedrive@globeandmail.com and put “Conduct Issues” in your subject line. Emails without the correct subject line may not receive a response. Canada is a big country, so let us know where you are so we can find the answer for your city and province.

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