If you’re a motorist in the Greater Toronto Area (GTA), you’re probably wondering why you pay as much as you do auto insurance. You may be confused why you’re paying significantly more than the provincial average for coverage.
So, why is auto insurance more expensive in Toronto than the provincial average? Is there anything you can do to reduce your premium?
How does Toronto compare to Ontario
According to the Financial Services Regulatory Authority (FSRA), Ontario’s car insurance regulator, the average cost of auto insurance in the province is $1,664. Meanwhile, the Insurance Bureau of Canada (IBC) says the average is $1,505.
However, a report from RATESDOTCA found the provincial average is $1,616.
As for the average auto insurance premium in the GTA, drivers are paying $2,201 each year, according to RATESDOTCA. If we look at FSRA’s numbers, the regulator thinks motorists may be paying as much as $2,252 per year to insure their vehicles.
All the numbers are close, so the message is clear: drivers in the GTA pay a significant amount of money for basic coverage.
There are some reasons why this is the case, such as Toronto having the most drivers, busiest roads, and the most collisions. Insurance companies assess the cost of auto insurance based on risk. The simple fact is the GTA is a riskier place to drive than other areas of Ontario.
How did COVID-19 impact auto insurance rates in Ontario?
Throughout the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, while Canada’s economy reeled from necessary lockdowns and stay-at-home orders, the auto insurance market found some respite.
Car insurance was one of the few sectors that benefited from government restrictions. Because drivers were using their cars less, there were fewer vehicles on the roads, leading to a reduction in collisions. Insurance companies also introduced measures to help customers during tough economic times, including discounts and rebates.
In 2020, average premiums continued to rise in Ontario, reflecting rate increase approvals granted to insurers earlier in the year. By the fourth quarter (Q4) of last year, the trend changed, and rates decreased, carrying on into 2021. That happened as the impact of COVID-19 on auto insurance started to have a positive effect on premium rates.
Does this new trend of decreasing rates mean auto insurance costs in Toronto and across Ontario are stabilizing, and further reductions will come? Unfortunately, that is unlikely to happen. Sure, as Canada remains in the grip of the COVID-19 crisis and other lockdowns may happen, decreasing auto insurance rates may continue deeper into 2021.
However, as we look further into the future, personal auto rates will likely increase again when the pandemic is under control. Driving is down amid the crisis, but as commuters return to the roads, it’s almost certain rates will start rising again.
How Toronto influences Ontario’s average auto insurance rates
Ontario is Canada’s second-costliest auto insurance market after British Columbia, and the Toronto region plays a direct role in influencing this position. Because drivers in the GTA pay hundreds of dollars more than those across the province, it impacts Ontario’s average cost of car insurance.
If the average rate calculations for Ontario did not include the GTA, the province would be more in line with other regions. After all, insuring a car in many places in Ontario is more affordable than you might expect.
Of course, that’s hardly going to make the millions of motorists in the GTA feel any better about what they pay.
Find the best auto insurance rates
What might make them feel better is finding ways to reduce how much they pay to insure their vehicle. Even with COVID-related rate decreases and discounts, motorists in Toronto still see too much of their monthly budgets go toward paying for car insurance. The best way to seek reductions in your premium is to compare quotes to find a cheaper rate for the coverage you need.
The pandemic has been a life-changer in many ways, and your existing insurer may no longer be providing you with the best possible price. Even if you still have a policy, you can compare quotes online and save money on your auto insurance. For drivers in the hugely expensive Toronto region, it’s worthwhile to shop around for car insurance to see if they can reduce their insurance bills.
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