Personal Finance

Home/Auto insurance - CAA? Sonnet?

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[OP]
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Feb 2, 2003
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Home/Auto insurance - CAA? Sonnet?

Can anyone advise on their experience with CAA and/or Sonnet for home/auto? I've looked into Aviva, Scottish & York, Square One, Bel-Air. Costco. I also tried using some of the insurance broker online quotes - lowestrates.ca, etc.
So far, CAA and Sonnet are the best rates for us.

I've been doing some insurance shopping for the last few weeks. and so far, the best rates I've found is CAA for auto insurance and Sonnet for home insurance.  We've been with TD (Meloche Monnex) for the last 6 years but our auto is going up an additional $400 this year (to $285 a month) and our home went up another $100 to about $90/month. 

For Sonnet - their home insurance is $52 a month compared to TD which is almost double that for the same coverage. I did see a lot of mixed reviews for Sonnet with some folks really happy with their rates and others complaining that their policies skyrocketed after the first year which concerns me.

For auto - CAA was really cheap for me because they have a program called MyPace which is basically like pay as you go - so you pay per 1,000 km which seems good for people who don't do a lot of driving.  I work from home and when I did the quote online, it said my cost was going to be $482 a year. However, when I called in, my cost doubled because they found an at-fault accident.  If you are interested in those details, I posted a separate thread here about that.

With the accident the cost went up significantly. (The price goes up to $700 yearly instead of $150 yearly for the insurance benefits portion. Each 1,000 km is still the same for me at $330.) With the hike, it's still about $500 less than I'd pay for my renewal, although I would not be limited by mileage. Technically, I don't really need it because I just use my car for errands/pickups, etc, but the only way I can get close to the rate CAA is offering is if I park it and just throw on insurance for fire/theft/collision.

I did try going through a few brokers (PC Insurance, some online ones and a couple people that friends recommended) and they weren't able to get me as good a deal. I'm just wondering if the MyPace is too good to be true.  

Also, Sonnet is offering half the cost for home insurance. That seems great but I'm not sure about the quality of service. Or if I'm setting myself up for any issues if we ever needed to do a claim. Usually when I find a better deal, TD will match it but this time they wouldn't even try to even come down a little.

I was hoping someone could shed some insight into their experience when it comes to ditching their long-term insurers and elsewhere. I really don't love change so it's hard for me to change providers, but I don't love the fact that they keep hiking up the rates. Plus they tacked on an at-fault ruling which I felt to be unreasonable.
61 replies
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Mar 25, 2012
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If you live outside of B.C., Saskatchewan and Manitoba, Sonnet for the win, by a wide margin. If ICBC would allow online sales of insurance, instead of rewarding insurance brokers with a ratepayer-funded million dollar gift every year for the privilege of touching a few keys on the keyboard and earning a $50 per sale commission of Autoplan insurance, then I'd hands down have my mom and dad bundle their homeowners' insurance with their auto insurance.

They've had a Sonnet homeowners' policy for the past two, maybe even three, years now and have saved about $600/year the first year, and $400-500/year in each of the past two years, for more coverage.

In fact, they've just got an Autoplan insurance policy with Interior Savings' insurance brokerage now, and they've generally been good customer service wise, but at the same time, just as we did a number of years ago when I had them switch from Western Financial Group for homeowners/Autoplan insurance, I'm considering recommending they move to a different insurance brokerage, so as not to give too much business for too long to an outfit that seems to be resting on its laurels, is somewhat less than transparent with its financials, and which locks its ATM vestibules all bloody weekend every bloody weekend.

Cheers,
Doug
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Oct 22, 2016
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Comox Valley
For home insurance in BC, I have 2 properties with Sonnet, and have been with them for close to 3 years.

I did have some dealings with them, doing some extra paperwork for a mortgage on house (needed earthquake insurance), and they were very efficient, and on the ball. I am more than happy with them, and plan on staying with them, if prices are good.

However the true test, is if you have a claim with them, how they will react. As for yet I have not had any claims with them.

I did read the reviews of them beforehand. It appeared to me, the negative reviews, were coming from the auto insurance side, and not homeowners side.
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I've had a home policy with Sonnet for... many years now and have had zero issues and the quote has continued to come in under others. The few times I've had to contact customer service for something they were quick and easy. No claims as of yet so can't comment on that.
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I switched to sonnet because home insurance was half of what other companies were quoting. I'm on my 2nd year and rates for auto and home combined stayed the same.
[OP]
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Feb 2, 2003
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Thanks for all the information. I think Sonnet for home is the way to go but I am going to have to check CAA and some other locations to see what type of deal I will end up with.
If I leave TD, or just keep my auto insurance with them, I lose my multi-line discount so I'll have to see how much that adds up to.
Right now, I'm saving apx 40% for home insurance if I switch. (From $90 to $52)

Not sure if they will require me to jump through hoops (getting a note from my alarm company, etc.) Some of these places are like the Spanish Inquisition and they want proof of all sorts of things which I can't be bothered to do. Smiling Face With Open Mouth

I should have asked what type of rate they could have given me if I combined both home and auto. I really had to jump through hoops to talk to someone on the phone!
[OP]
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Feb 2, 2003
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Thanks! I will check out that insurance brokerage tomorrow.
I have never actually used a brokerage because everything I've found has been cheaper than what I've been quoted as of yet.
I'm hoping that someone will prove me wrong though!

Crazy about the ATM's!


dmehus wrote: If you live outside of B.C., Saskatchewan and Manitoba, Sonnet for the win, by a wide margin. If ICBC would allow online sales of insurance, instead of rewarding insurance brokers with a ratepayer-funded million dollar gift every year for the privilege of touching a few keys on the keyboard and earning a $50 per sale commission of Autoplan insurance, then I'd hands down have my mom and dad bundle their homeowners' insurance with their auto insurance.

They've had a Sonnet homeowners' policy for the past two, maybe even three, years now and have saved about $600/year the first year, and $400-500/year in each of the past two years, for more coverage.

In fact, they've just got an Autoplan insurance policy with Interior Savings' insurance brokerage now, and they've generally been good customer service wise, but at the same time, just as we did a number of years ago when I had them switch from Western Financial Group for homeowners/Autoplan insurance, I'm considering recommending they move to a different insurance brokerage, so as not to give too much business for too long to an outfit that seems to be resting on its laurels, is somewhat less than transparent with its financials, and which locks its ATM vestibules all bloody weekend every bloody weekend.

Cheers,
Doug
Sr. Member
Nov 13, 2009
522 posts
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Ajax
Ive been with sonnet for the past 2 years for auto and home insurance
2 years ago i had an at fault accident and they handled it professionally.
Few months ago i had not at fault accident and they handled it professionally as well.

So I definitely recommend them, the claims are handled by economical insurance which is their parent company.
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User452441 wrote: For home insurance in BC, I have 2 properties with Sonnet, and have been with them for close to 3 years.

I did have some dealings with them, doing some extra paperwork for a mortgage on house (needed earthquake insurance), and they were very efficient, and on the ball. I am more than happy with them, and plan on staying with them, if prices are good.

However the true test, is if you have a claim with them, how they will react. As for yet I have not had any claims with them.

I did read the reviews of them beforehand. It appeared to me, the negative reviews, were coming from the auto insurance side, and not homeowners side.
joshnet wrote: I've had a home policy with Sonnet for... many years now and have had zero issues and the quote has continued to come in under others. The few times I've had to contact customer service for something they were quick and easy. No claims as of yet so can't comment on that.
Agree with that. My parents have never had a home insurance claim, in some 35 years they've owned their home. So, really, the opportunity to test the claims experience is low for most of us. I would say that I generally think any time you had a broker into the mix as your intermediary, you will generally be worse off. So, I think Sonnet should be fine. Has anyone dealt with Economical, their affiliate brand owned by the same company, with respect to claims?

Cheers,
Doug
[OP]
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dmehus wrote: Agree with that. My parents have never had a home insurance claim, in some 35 years they've owned their home. So, really, the opportunity to test the claims experience is low for most of us. I would say that I generally think any time you had a broker into the mix as your intermediary, you will generally be worse off. So, I think Sonnet should be fine. Has anyone dealt with Economical, their affiliate brand owned by the same company, with respect to claims?

Cheers,
Doug

I spoke to a local broker today (in Toronto) and the rates he came back with were so high! How does anyone use a broker and expect to pay a low rate after factoring in the costs for their services?

I looked at Interior Savings today but realized that was in BC which doesn't work for me. Smiling Face With Open Mouth

The insurance broker I spoke to today mentioned that he heard horror stories about Sonnet asking for additional stuff after your policy kicked in and if you couldn't provide it, then raising your premiums significantly, especially for immigrants that are first coming to Canada. Not sure if this is true or not.

It's hard to find people that do reviews when things are going well. It's usually only when things go wrong are they quick to post.
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Oct 22, 2016
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Comox Valley
Nikitty wrote:
The insurance broker I spoke to today mentioned that he heard horror stories about Sonnet asking for additional stuff after your policy kicked in and if you couldn't provide it, then raising your premiums significantly, especially for immigrants that are first coming to Canada. Not sure if this is true or not.
Not the case for me. In fact it was just the opposite with lack of questions on the properties. As it is a rural property, how faraway was the fire hall, and if I had any ploy b piping, that other companies would ask.
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Nikitty wrote: I spoke to a local broker today (in Toronto) and the rates he came back with were so high! How does anyone use a broker and expect to pay a low rate after factoring in the costs for their services?

I looked at Interior Savings today but realized that was in BC which doesn't work for me. Smiling Face With Open Mouth

The insurance broker I spoke to today mentioned that he heard horror stories about Sonnet asking for additional stuff after your policy kicked in and if you couldn't provide it, then raising your premiums significantly, especially for immigrants that are first coming to Canada. Not sure if this is true or not.

It's hard to find people that do reviews when things are going well. It's usually only when things go wrong are they quick to post.
@Nikitty Bear in mind the insurance brokerages hate Sonnet, Belairdirect, and the like because they don't receive any commission on insurance policies sold online. I wouldn't put much, if any, stock, personally, in that review from your insurance broker. ;)

As to Interior Savings, they are fine enough customer service, but wasn't meaning to recommend them as I suspected you were in Ontario.

Perhaps a better question would be to ask your broker on how Economical Mutual Insurance Company is in terms of claims handling, especially if they are included as one of those for which the broker has quoted a rate? If they heap praise onto Economical, and then trash Sonnet, knowing that both are owned by the same company, you know your broker is full of shit. ;)

Cheers,
Doug
Last edited by dmehus on May 11th, 2020 5:11 pm, edited 1 time in total.
[OP]
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User452441 wrote: Not the case for me. In fact it was just the opposite with lack of questions on the properties. As it is a rural property, how faraway was the fire hall, and if I had any ploy b piping, that other companies would ask.
I didn't get any of these questions either but I did get a ton from PC Insurance who asked me every tiny thing about my home (if I had plastic knobs on my breaker box) etc.
Sonnet didn't ask me much at all. I did get the fire hall/fire hydrant question too.

I just spent an hour on the phone on hold waiting to speak to someone at Avivia. After 90 minutes the phone went to fast busy and they disconnected.
Don't think I will bother trying them again. I can't imagine how long it would take an existing customer to get through, nevermind someone looking to switch companies like myself.
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Nikitty wrote: I didn't get any of these questions either but I did get a ton from PC Insurance who asked me every tiny thing about my home (if I had plastic knobs on my breaker box) etc.
Sonnet didn't ask me much at all. I did get the fire hall/fire hydrant question too.

I just spent an hour on the phone on hold waiting to speak to someone at Avivia. After 90 minutes the phone went to fast busy and they disconnected.
Don't think I will bother trying them again. I can't imagine how long it would take an existing customer to get through, nevermind someone looking to switch companies like myself.
Does Aviva sell direct? They are fine; my mom had a policy with them for a several years when they were the cheapest. They were reasonable, customer service was great. They're just not price competitive with Sonnet. My mom and dad have used Intact, Wawanesa, Aviva, and RSA Canadian Northern Shield before switching to Sonnet. Wawanesa had a good rate, actually, and was what spurred me to getting my mom and dad to switch from Western Financial Group to Interior Savings Insurance Services as the broker of record, since Western didn't offer that option so we sort of felt like they weren't doing everything they should by rate shopping the policy every year. This was before Desjardins bought Western Financial Group. Interestingly, Wawanesa now owns Western Financial Group and they also own what was Coast Capital Insurance Services Limited, now renamed Western Coast Insurance Ltd. Wawanesa owns Western through its Trimont Financial, Ltd., subsidiary, so now they're like the largest Canadian-owned owner/operator of insurance brokerages in Canada (HUB International is larger; Intact's BrokerLink is probably second largest).

Cheers,
Doug
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dmehus wrote: Does Aviva sell direct? They are fine; my mom had a policy with them for a several years when they were the cheapest. They were reasonable, customer service was great. They're just not price competitive with Sonnet. My mom and dad have used Intact, Wawanesa, Aviva, and RSA Canadian Northern Shield before switching to Sonnet. Wawanesa had a good rate, actually, and was what spurred me to getting my mom and dad to switch from Western Financial Group to Interior Savings Insurance Services as the broker of record, since Western didn't offer that option so we sort of felt like they weren't doing everything they should by rate shopping the policy every year. This was before Desjardins bought Western Financial Group. Interestingly, Wawanesa now owns Western Financial Group and they also own what was Coast Capital Insurance Services Limited, now renamed Western Coast Insurance Ltd. Wawanesa owns Western through its Trimont Financial, Ltd., subsidiary, so now they're like the largest Canadian-owned owner/operator of insurance brokerages in Canada (HUB International is larger; Intact's BrokerLink is probably second largest).

Cheers,
Doug

I have no idea if they sell direct. I went on their website and got a quote, called the # to talk to someone about it and waited 90 minutes. I did get quotes from other brokers with Aviva as well but the rates they quoted weren't as good as the ones I did myself. (I could have missed something which is why mine is lower.)

For me, I feel like a pig looking at a watch with all this insurance stuff. I have spent the last two weeks researching and am no further than I was when I started.
My insurance is renewing in a couple of days. I was kind of excited about Sonnet but I keep seeing bad reviews and that is making me take pause.

https://mitchellwhale.com/insurance-companies/sonnet/
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Nikitty wrote: I have no idea if they sell direct. I went on their website and got a quote, called the # to talk to someone about it and waited 90 minutes. I did get quotes from other brokers with Aviva as well but the rates they quoted weren't as good as the ones I did myself. (I could have missed something which is why mine is lower.)

For me, I feel like a pig looking at a watch with all this insurance stuff. I have spent the last two weeks researching and am no further than I was when I started.
My insurance is renewing in a couple of days. I was kind of excited about Sonnet but I keep seeing bad reviews and that is making me take pause.

https://mitchellwhale.com/insurance-companies/sonnet/
You were quite apt when you wrote above that people are most inclined to write a company review following a negative experience. Every company will have negative reviews and, with insurance in particular, they can be particularly individual circumstance-related. Thus, I really don't think you should spend a lot of time on research customer reviews. Go with your gut.

Everyone in this thread recommends Sonnet, for what that's worth.

Cheers,
Doug
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Jun 5, 2012
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EDMONTON
Have you phoned up TD recently and did a review of your policies? I have been doing this annually and they are always able to find "hidden" cost savings (in the 5-15% range) that are not automatic and not advertised...
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boobermonkey wrote: Have you phoned up TD recently and did a review of your policies? I have been doing this annually and they are always able to find "hidden" cost savings (in the 5-15% range) that are not automatic and not advertised...
I did call them to ask.
They were able to keep the price from only going up 10% for home insurance but for auto they couldn't do anything.
I have had them match other competitors in the past but this year they wouldn't which was frustrating.
I also don't love how they treated the accident I was involved in but I really don't know if any other insurance companies are any better.

We do qualify for some group rates so I'm wondering if there are some companies that I don't know about that have a special set up for alumni, etc.
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Thanks for this. These are pretty horrifying reviews but looking at the reviews in general for all companies, they are abysmal across the board.
The only ones that had good ratings had a very low amount of reviews which I haven't heard of. I also don't qualify for Grey Power just yet. Face With Tears Of Joy

Does anyone have a good site for trustworthy reviews that have some good ratings for a change?
I am still considering CAA and was swaying back to Sonnet based on dmehus' last post, but now I am not sure. Grinning Face With Smiling Eyes

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