If you’re looking to start driving a vehicle in Ontario it’s important to understand the rules of the road and how to drive safely. One of the best ways to prepare yourself for driving is to enrol yourself in a driver’s ed course. Not only will you learn proper driving techniques but you can greatly lower your insurance premiums. You will benefit in many ways when you take driver’s lessons and it will get you that much closer to enjoying the freedom of owning a vehicle.
What is driver’s ed?
Drivers under the age of 25 usually face absurdly high insurance premiums, especially in Ontario. Driver’s ed gives you the opportunity to sharpen your driving skills, or learn how to drive if you’re just starting out. By enrolling in a ministry approved driving school you will learn how to practice safe driving techniques which will in turn lower your insurance premiums.
Does driver’s ed lower your insurance in Ontario?
When insurance companies calculate your premium they look at a variety of factors; one of them being your driving history. Historically, high-risk drivers pay huge insurance premiums. When you’re a young driver with little driving experience, you tend to be considered high-risk.
Typically, driver’s ed will take up to 10% off your insurance rates depending on the company. There are other benefits to taking your driver’s ed course as well. If you’re a G2 driver who enrols in driving school you can get your G license 4 months earlier than if you didn’t take the course (8 vs. 12 months).
Benefits of driver’s ed
You’ll learn how to drive safely: A driving school will teach you techniques for safe driving including defensive driving & how to avoid collisions. You will also learn how to drive in a variety of weather conditions which could end up saving your life if you’re stuck in one of Ontario’s nasty winter storms.
You’ll be more knowledgeable: In driving school you’ll learn the rules of the road, driving techniques, and good driving habits from both a handbook and an instructor. There is nothing more valuable than practicing driving with a driving instructor by your side. As someone learning to drive, it can be scary but the instructor will be there to reassure you and prepare you to drive on your own.
Cheaper insurance: Most insurance companies will offer you discounts if you’ve completed your driver’s ed course.
Practice makes perfect: Taking a driver’s ed course gives you the opportunity to take regularly scheduled driving lessons which help you practice safe driving maneuvers in real life situations. These lessons also help you gain your highway practice hours which are necessary to obtain your G License.
How much is driver’s ed?
The average cost of an Ontario approved driving school ranges from $500 – $1,000. The cost varies based on the institution and how many times you’d take driving lessons. Now this may seem expensive, but if you consider how much you’ll save on insurance, driver’s ed is definitely a worthwhile investment. Here’s a scenario:
Annual insurance for 17 year old driver without driving school: $6,532
Annual insurance for 17 year old driver with driving school: $4,938
Total difference: $1,594
In total you would be saving just under $1,600 which makes the upfront cost of driver’s ed more than worth it. Considering you’ll roughly keep the same annual premium for 3 years you’ll end up saving a total of $4,782!
How long does driver’s ed take?
This depends on your skill level, driving experience and how many lessons are required for you to be considered a competent driver. Typically, driver’s ed takes 8 weeks to complete (usually done over the summer between school semesters) but it can take as long as a couple months to complete. The course contains both in-class and in-car sessions so depending on how many in-car lessons you take, it can take longer.
Driving school options
The most recognized driving school in Canada is Young Driver’s of Canada. Their program offers both in-class training and in-car training so you can apply what you learned in class on the road.
However, there are many different driving schools across Ontario. The best way to assess your options is at the Ministry of Transportation’s website. The more recognizable the program, the more likely your insurance provider will be to offer you a discount.
It is highly recommended you encourage your teen to enrol in driving school. There are plenty of options available, and some high-schools offer after school programs at a discount.