If you’re looking for the best deal on auto insurance, it turns out where you live really does matter.
Given that auto insurance is compulsory across Canada – you’re not legally allowed to drive a vehicle unless it is insured – you would think rates would be pretty consistent throughout the country, right? Wrong. Insurance rates can vary quite a bit depending on what province you live in. Typically the variance depends on the amount of public and private insurance providers, as well as the rates of accident claims and lawsuits in the province.
For example, some provinces like Manitoba and BC have a single, provincially- funded auto insurance system and as a result, tend to see higher insurance rates because there’s less competition. Ontario, which sees a larger number of accident claims per year, also tends to have higher rates for insurance premiums.
The latest data from the Insurance Bureau of Canada (IBC) is from 2013. Rates across the country have likely increased since this data was released. Generally, here’s how the numbers break down by province:
B.C. easily has one of the highest annual rates for drivers. Insurance can only be obtained through ICBC, a provincially-funded organization, and many residents believe their monopoly – and the lack of competition from private providers – keeps rates elevated. The province also sees a higher-than-average rate of vehicle accidents, which also contributes to higher rates.
Alberta is pretty on par with rates in the western part of the country, although compared to household income, insurance expenses only account for 2.7% of disposable income.
Like BC and Manitoba, Saskatchewan’s auto insurance program is also provided by the government, allowing it to have a monopoly on coverage. We don’t see rates quite as high as some provinces, however.
Manitoba also utilizes a single, provincially-controlled insurance provider, which is why rates tend to be on the high side.
There are a lot of great things about living in the province of Ontario, but if you were hoping for low auto insurance premiums, unfortunately you’re out of luck. Despite having a variety of providers to choose from, we continue to see high premiums,
thanks to an elevated rate of auto-related claims, lawsuits and injuries. Many people believe that some of these accidents are “staged,” by organized crime rings, to fraudulently drive up rates. Recently, the government has implemented measures to crack down on this type of fraud.
Quebec ranks consistently low for premiums, with a basic insurance package coming in under $1,000. In this province, you can find a variety of options for providers, including both private and public organizations.
Thanks to low levels of accident and injury claims, this Maritime province also sees fairly low premiums.
Like most eastern provinces, New Brunswick also has fairly reasonable premiums.
PEI uses a private insurance program, which is frequently considered to be one of the most efficiently run in the country. Rates are consistently low thanks to decreasing levels of insurance and accident claims.
With the highest premiums of any Maritime province, Newfoundland and Labrador is more comparable with provinces like BC and Alberta, thanks to increasing numbers of auto-related lawsuits.
If it seems like auto insurance rates are out of your control based on where you live, well, that’s somewhat true. Ultimately, if you live and drive in certain provinces like Ontario or British Columbia, insuring your vehicle is just going to cost more than it would in some other locations, regardless of your driving record. However, there are things that are under your control, and within your home province, can cause your insurance premiums to vary quite a bit. These include:
Vehicles with more safety features tend to cost less to insure, as well as certain makes and models that have lower rates of accidents or cost less to repair. Learn more about how your vehicle impacts your insurance here.
Newer drivers tend to have higher premiums, as well as those with more violations or infractions on their record. The longer you can abstain from getting a ticket or getting into an accident, the more your costs are likely to go down. However, if you are categorized as a high risk driver, you can pay as much as 25% higher insurance rates.
Generally, urban areas tend to have higher premiums. Why? Denser, more populated-areas and those with mixed incomes are seen as having more risks, more accidents and more potential for theft.
If you’re looking to save more on your insurance, talk with a broker about your insurance needs. An insurance broker can help you get the best rate and coverage for your driver profile. A broker also takes the time to shop the market. Plus, they’ll help you get discounts that you may be eligible for.
Need help finding the best insurance in Ontario? Contact us today to see how we can help.
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