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Discussion Starter #1
Our auto and home insurance is coming up for renewal and I would like to hear feedback on when you would switch providers.

I've been with Co-operators insurance for close to ten years now. Almost every year, when the insurance is up for renewal, I tend to shop around and for some reason, Co-operators was almost always within $50 of the lowest quote. I've liked my agent and they've been prompt and helpful the couple of times we've had accidents and so I've been hesitant to switch for a very small difference.

Last year, it changed. Bel-Air Direct's quote was more than $200 less than Co-operators renewal offer and I was tempted to change but in the end went with Co-operators due to my history with them.

I've just started shopping around this year and am wondering how much lower should the quote be for you to switch insurance providers? Also, is getting insurance from a no-frills, direct insurance provider such as Bel-Air Direct a concern?
 

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I would have switched last year with the $200 discount.

I usually check every year, but my Melonche policy seems to be pretty competitive.

Not sure what you mean by "no frills" insurer. If the coverage is the same, what would be no frills about it? Being direct means they do not have to pay the broker, so those savings can be used to be more competitive.
 

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I'd probably switch for $200 as well. I also check rates each year (part of being frugal, right?) but have never found anything cheaper than the group rates through TD Meloche Monnex. I've always used a no-frills, direct insurer and even when making claims have had no problems. I've never felt the need to deal with a full-service insurance agent.
 

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No experience with Bel-Air, but I can tell you that TD is not the place you want to go. TD seems to have very lax standards when it comes to the safety of your personal and private information. We had an unsealed letter come to us that contained my entire bank account number from which they used to withdraw our insurance premiums. TD also liked to double dip and take their time to get your mistakenly taken funds back to you.

RBC was good to me when I had them for tenant/renters insurance.
 

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Our auto and home insurance is coming up for renewal and I would like to hear feedback on when you would switch providers.

I've been with Co-operators insurance for close to ten years now. Almost every year, when the insurance is up for renewal, I tend to shop around and for some reason, Co-operators was almost always within $50 of the lowest quote. I've liked my agent and they've been prompt and helpful the couple of times we've had accidents and so I've been hesitant to switch for a very small difference.

Last year, it changed. Bel-Air Direct's quote was more than $200 less than Co-operators renewal offer and I was tempted to change but in the end went with Co-operators due to my history with them.

I've just started shopping around this year and am wondering how much lower should the quote be for you to switch insurance providers? Also, is getting insurance from a no-frills, direct insurance provider such as Bel-Air Direct a concern?
CC, as an engineer, you should get preferred rates at Meloche Monnex. Get a quote from them (as an engineer) before renewing.
 

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Discussion Starter #7
CC, as an engineer, you should get preferred rates at Meloche Monnex. Get a quote from them (as an engineer) before renewing.
This year, TD MM's rate was slightly higher than Co-operators but Belair Direct was more than $500 cheaper. That's a big enough difference to motivate me to switch.
 

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Although, it does seem odd that suddenly this year Belair would be so much cheaper than the competition, when CC has a history of receiving near-par quotes from them.

Does anyone have any big picture ideas why this may have occurred? How do car insurance companies fund their operations? Why is Bel-Air suddenly able to offer cut-throat pricing? Did something in the regulatory framework change?

It just seems odd that, after a history of near-par pricing, this year a dramatic change in the rate is seen.
 

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Discussion Starter #11
Although, it does seem odd that suddenly this year Belair would be so much cheaper than the competition, when CC has a history of receiving near-par quotes from them.
Actually, I looked back at my posts and found that in 2007 PC Financial's quote was $200 cheaper than Co-operators but Co-operators was able to match it.

Last year, Belair Direct was $200 cheaper but Co-operators couldn't match it. I didn't switch because I know and like the agent though I was tempted to.

This year, Belair's auto quote was about $600 less & home insurance costs about $130 more & Belair doesn't charge a service fee for monthly payments. That's a lot of dough in my world though I still like my Co-operators agent.

But I'd also like to know why auto insurance premiums have such a wide differential between companies.
 

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Actually, I looked back at my posts and found that in 2007 PC Financial's quote was $200 cheaper than Co-operators but Co-operators was able to match it.

Last year, Belair Direct was $200 cheaper but Co-operators couldn't match it. I didn't switch because I know and like the agent though I was tempted to.

This year, Belair's auto quote was about $600 less & home insurance costs about $130 more & Belair doesn't charge a service fee for monthly payments. That's a lot of dough in my world though I still like my Co-operators agent.

But I'd also like to know why auto insurance premiums have such a wide differential between companies.
CC, I don't believe Bel-Air Direct has B&M offices (bricks and mortars) so that may have translated into some savings to the consumers, as opposed to All-State or StateFarm which pretty much have offices at any corners.

I don't know if I am comparing apples and oranges but I tend to think Bel-Air Direct as the PC Financial/ING of the insurance world and the other folks are the Big 5 banks with more overhead.
 

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Discussion Starter #15
@Arcaneind: Belair used to be owned by ING. With ING Group in trouble they unloaded most of their stake in ING Canada at a huge discount. (Still kicking myself for missing that free lunch!). ING Canada trades on the TSX under ticker symbol IIC.

@dave: If your policy is coming up for renewal, there is no fee in switching to a rival insurance provider. You can also cancel the existing policy and switch as long as you've served enough time after the initial minimum premiums. But it is good to check because I think I switched mid-stream a long time back and memory is now rather fuzzy.
 
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