While some drivers received relief on their premiums when the coronavirus pandemic hit, new data show that car insurance rates continue to rise in Ontario.
According to Rates.ca, a website that compares insurance rates, the average car insurance premium in Ontario as of Dec. 2020 came in at $1,616, a 9.7 per cent increase from Dec. 2018, when the data were last available.
Drivers in Brampton, Ontario pay the most for auto insurance in the province, with premiums in Dec. 2020 hitting $2,698, up from $2,494 in Dec. 2018, a jump of 8.2 per cent. The next most expensive cities for car insurance include Mississauga, Vaughan, Richmond Hill and Markham, respectively.
Liam Lahey at Rates.ca says there are many reasons why Brampton, Mississauga and Vaughan are consistently at the top of the list in the cost of car insurance premiums.
“If the municipality where you live has a greater frequency of insurance claims – which is to say, more car accidents – or if claims in that area trend higher, your premium is likely going to reflect that,” he said.
“We need to bear in mind that more than half of every dollar an insurer receives is paid out to settle claims and insurers paid out $41.5 billion in claims in 2019.”
Toronto was the sixth most expensive city for auto insurance, although rates vary depending on the area of the city you are in. For example, drivers in areas of north Scarborough were hit with average premiums of $3,000 last year. If you live in Etobicoke North or York-South Weston, your premiums were an average of $2,463.
The cheapest premiums of $1,103 can be found for drivers in Kingston, Brockville, Napanee and 10 other municipalities.
Ontario’s high car insurance rates have become a focus for the provincial government, which unveiled a blueprint to change Ontario’s auto insurance system in 2019. That strategy focuses on lowering costs, finding efficiencies, reducing regulations, increasing competition and fighting fraud, the government said at the time.
Ontario's auto insurance rates in Ontario are among the highest in the country, and action is needed. As part of our commitment to making life more affordable, we want to hear from you to improve Ontario’s auto insurance system: https://t.co/gYOkeo5u8Z pic.twitter.com/SVlSSDfL5X
— Doug Ford (@fordnation) January 13, 2019
The province introduced Bill 42 in 2018, which will amend the Ontario Insurance Act to prohibit insurers from using factors such as postal code or telephone area code to determine rates. The bill passed second reading in March 2019, and is before a standing committee.
Lahey says he still expects the province to pursue auto insurance reforms, but that the coronavirus pandemic has stalled efforts to do so.
“Like everything else, it’s on the back burner until things start to resemble some form of normalcy,” he said. “Then, I think, we’ll see changes.”
Alicja Siekierska is a senior reporter at Yahoo Finance Canada. Follow her on Twitter @alicjawithaj.