6 auto insurance myths put to rest

How much do you know about your auto coverage? We'll debunk some of Canada's most common car insurance myths so you can manage your policy with eyes wide open.

1. car colour impacts your auto insurance premium

According to the Insurance Bureau of Canada (IBC), 40 percent of Canadians believe this myth. Let us put your mind at ease: it's bogus.

There are a number of your car's characteristics that your insurer does use when determining your premium — make and model, safety features, accident history — but your car colour isn't one of them. Certain shades may attract more police (or, worse, pigeon) attention, but your insurer won't even bother asking.

2. i don’t need injury coverage from my auto insurance if i have my government health plan

Actually, treating bodily injuries is one of the key functions of auto insurance, and medical payments is a required coverage (along with liability insurance) in many provinces, including Alberta and Ontario. If you're an Esurance customer, treatment for your injuries or those of others under your policy is part of your accident benefits coverage, included automatically with your third-party liability.

Keep in mind, your provincial health insurance isn't required to provide treatment options not listed in the Canadian Health Act. That's why it's important (and, again, often legally required) to have sufficient accident benefits coverage through your auto policy for increased peace of mind. Accident benefits coverage can also include income replacement in case injuries from a car accident force you to miss work, which can be crucial to tide your family over while you recover.

3. auto insurance covers personal belongings in your vehicle

The good news is that 58 percent of Canadians know not to buy into this myth (per the IBC). The bad news — that still leaves a good deal of drivers under the wrong impression.

Here's the lowdown: While your auto insurance covers you, your passengers, and your car (up to your policy's limits), valuables such as smart phones, laptops, jewellery, or golf clubs stolen from the car or damaged in an accident typically fall under homeowners or renters insurance.

4. no-fault auto insurance leads to reckless driving

There is a lot of confusion around no-fault car insurance, with this myth being a prime example. The fact is, "no fault" doesn't mean drivers are let off the hook for causing accidents or are somehow motivated to give up their normal, cautious habits. It simply means that regardless of fault, drivers go through their own insurer for a certain amount of insurance benefits rather than using the legal (or tort) system to get damages from other motorists. There is no scientific correlation between no-fault car insurance and reduced road safety.

5. thieves prefer to steal new cars

When it comes to electronics, clothing, or even a pack of gum, thieves prefer new over used. So the same must be true of cars, right? Wrong.

Older models are actually frequently coveted due to their parts, accessibility, or other reasons. In fact, of the 10 most stolen cars of 2013, none were made after 2007. This goes to show that having an older car isn't always a reason to skimp on auto insurance. It pays to have comprehensive coverage to give you peace of mind against theft. After all, you may not think your old beater from 2001 holds much appeal next to something fresh off the assembly line … but a car thief may view things differently.

6. auto insurance doesn’t cover collisions with animals

We're happy to assuage the fears of the 32 percent of Canadians who believe this myth. Large-animal collisions (which occur 4 to 8 times every hour across the country!) are typically covered as long as you have comprehensive coverage on your policy.

need help clearing up other car insurance myths?

Myths can be a whole lot of fun when it comes to ghost stories or Greek folklore. But as far as car insurance goes, it's always better to get the facts.

If you're worried you're not as informed as you need to be, give us a call at 1-888-ESURANCE (1-888-378-7262). We're available at these times to help dispel any car insurance myths that may be keeping you up at night.