RATESDOTCA has released their list of most expensive cities in Ontario for auto insurance, and Bradford ranks 15th.
According to RATESDOTCA’s data, the average Ontario auto insurance premium in December 2020 is estimated at $1,616, a 9.7 percent increase from December 2018.
Why the increase in rates when most people are now working from home and ditching their daily commutes?
There are a number of factors, says Liam Lahey, editor for RATESDOTCA, including where you live, your age, your driving record, the vehicle you drive, your gender, marital status and how many kilometres you drive annually.
"It's not necessarily the size or population of the city, but the frequency of claims," Lahey says about the overall increase. He also added that the costs to repair a car nowadays is very expensive.
"There's no such thing as a minor fender bender anymore," he explains, "the cars we're driving now are like computers on wheels."
"The other side of the equation is, insurance premiums are based on what insurers need to shell out to settle claims based on historical claims data," says Lahey, "When I think of the most expensive cities for car insurance, Bradford is not one of them."
He noted that insurance rates have not increased since the pandemic began in March 2020, with many insurance providers offering discounts and rebates for the decrease in kilometres driven. Lahey says there was an estimated $1B in savings issued for drivers to help soften the economic impact of the pandemic.
Lahey says the onus is on the consumer to reach out to their insurance providers to ensure they are getting the best rates possible when it comes to auto insurance, especially now with most people working from home amid the pandemic and not racking up so many kilometres on their vehicles.
"I think we are going to be working from home for a lot longer than we anticipated," he said, adding that it will affect the auto insurance industry in a number of ways.
"If there are fewer cars on the road and fewer collisions, rates are going to come down," he said.
He references the Ontario car insurance regulator Financial Services Regulatory Authority (FSRA), and how no insurance company can increase or decrease a rate without their approval.
"Since March 2020, a lot of insurers have been decreasing their rates," he said.
Lahey himself says he took one of his own cars off the road this year after he and his wife switched to working remotely.
"There are things you can do (to get a lower auto insurance rate)," he says.
He provided some of the following tips for getting better auto insurance rates:
- Bundle Services - Better known as a multi-line discount. If you buy your car and home insurance policies from the same provider, you can typically save between five to 15 percent.
- Drive smart and defensively - Don't speed, don't be a distracted driver and avoid getting into a collision. Traffic convictions and at-fault collisions will increase your premium. A speeding ticket will stay on your record for three years, and an at-fault accident will stay on for six.
- Pay your premium upfront - If you can afford to do so. Some insurers will charge a modest fee for month to month billing.
- Increase your deductibles - Increasing your coverage deductibles can lower your annual premium. Just make sure it is set to a comfortable price, as this is what you will have to pay in case of a claim.
- Get snow tires - Every auto insurance company in Ontario is mandated to give you a five percent discount on your premium for putting snow tires on your vehicle.
- Shop around - It never hurts to look around and compare rates like RATESDOTCA, whether your policy is up for renewal or not.
- Try usage-based insurance - Also known as 'pay as you go' or 'pay how you drive' insurance, which is ideal for senior drivers or those who don't drive a lot.
"They all add up," Lahey says about the incentives and encourages everyone to look over their policies and compare to get the best rate possible.
*Introduced in 2016, RATESDOTCA’s Insuramap is an interactive online map, which lets Ontario drivers see how car insurance rates compare to other parts of their city or province. All estimated premiums are based on a 35-year-old driver of a 2017 Honda Civic DX 4DR with a clean driving record.