You probably know that Canadian law requires all drivers to hold auto coverage. What you may not know is that specific requirements may vary from province to province and not all car insurance policies are the same.

Lakeside Insurance has been helping keep customers safe and informed since 1958. We’re here to help you understand your policy and to make sure that your package includes the coverage you need.

Here are five mistakes with the potential to cost you money and cause you grief.

1. Missing out on discounts

Every plan is different, so talk to an insurance broker to find the right one for your specific situation. During that conversation, ask about if and how you qualify for various discounts. For instance, drivers with anti-theft devices, certificates from approved training courses, or claims-free records could all be eligible to receive a discount. Other potential discounts depending on your province include mature drivers, summertime-only vehicles, and multiple vehicles in the same household.

2. Holding a balance on premiums

Many people pay their premium in instalments rather than in a single payment, which can ultimately cost them more. Paying premiums monthly or three times a year means that you will pay a lower amount per instalment. However, you may also have to pay an instalment fee; the amount you pay could vary, depending on whether you bundle your home and auto insurance.Additionally, late or missed payments incur fees and can even lead to the cancellation of your policy, driving costs way up. To escape this, set up pre-authorized payments through your bank.

3. Taking Long Commutes

The longer your commute, the higher your risk of collision, which translates into higher premiums. And then there’s the wear and tear on your car. Help the environment (and your wallet!) by taking public transit a few days per week or by carpooling.

4. Breaking the Law

Speed demons, beware: a lead foot could cost you much more than the initial ticket. Likewise for distracted driving. Collisions and traffic violations can raise your premiums substantially, especially when it comes to multiple infractions. Take your time, put your cell phone away and drive smart to save.

5. Lending Out Your Vehicle

It’s great to help out a friend by lending them your car, but remember that you are not only lending your car, but your insurance as well. Even if the driver has his/her own insurance, it will be your policy that provides coverage should there be an accident, with your rates going up as a result. Use good judgement when lending your car; make sure the driver has your permission to use it and that he or she holds a current and valid driver’s license.

Should the same person regularly use your car, you should list him or her as an occasional driver on your policy.

By avoiding the above mistakes, you will keep the cost of your auto insurance down. If you have any questions or would like to discuss more ways to cut costs, reach out to your provider.