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Ontario Car Insurance: Here’s What You Need to Know about Changes in the Provincial Budget

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Earlier this year, the Ontario government launched a review of the province’s auto insurance system, saying it hopes to lower rates for drivers who pay some of the most expensive premiums in the country. Currently, Ontario drivers pay some of the highest auto insurance rates in Canada, with those in the GTA paying even more money than others. With no clear understanding as to why Ontario car insurance rates are so high, the government is currently examining practices in other jurisdictions to find ways to make improvements and introduce more competition to stabilize rates. However, the auto insurance industry is one that is bureaucratic and complex and implementing change takes time.

Here’s a brief timeline of what’s happened in the auto insurance industry from 2013 to present.

2013

Auto reforms promised by Kathleen Wynne and the Liberal party to lower auto insurance by 15 per cent from 2013 – 2015 never really worked out and Ontario drivers didn’t see much change.

2016

Liberal Finance Minister Charles Sousa hired David Marshall (an independent analyst) to make recommendations on improving Ontario’s insurance system. Marshall’s analysis showed:

  • The average premium paid by Ontario drivers is higher than in any other province.
  • Claims in Ontario for car insurance are more expensive and take longer to resolve.
  • There are a high proportion of disputed claims requiring independent medical exams (IMEs) and mediation/arbitration. He estimated it to be about $1.4 billion or a third of all insurance premium benefits were going to dueling lawyers and medical experts in court, instead of to treatment for accident victims.

2018

Drivers were hit hard in 2018 as there were rate increases every quarter.

2019

January 2019: Ontario PC Party launched an online survey to get feedback from drivers about the current auto insurance system. Findings revealed that they plan to overhaul the current system to make insurance more affordable.

April 2019: The PC government launched the Putting Drivers First Plan.

Photo credit: Budget Ontario

This multi-year plan hopes to provide:

  • More flexible options for insurance coverage: by reducing premium costs and providing drivers with more options while reducing the amount insurers spend on claims processes.
  • Driver care card: the new chip-and-pin card is expected to simplify the claims process, with insurers loading it with the funds earmarked for repairs or other accident-related expenses.
  • Increase in catastrophic claims benefits from $1 million to $2 million.
  • Fraud Prevention: to implement an online claims process, introduce new rules on unfair practices and enhanced data analytics. In addition, the government also plans to work with the Law Society of Ontario to better protect drivers from inflated legal fees.
  • Better digital capabilities: access to improved (and more) online communications will make it easier for customers to interact with their insurance broker/agent. The first goal is to produce an electronic proof of insurance slip for easy access anytime and anywhere.
  • Reduced industry regulation: reduction in industry regulations is to encourage more competition to make insurance rates more competitive. This includes a new pricing structure and more innovative insurance business models.
  • End to postal code discrimination.

What is your take on the growing problem of auto insurance rates? Do you think your car insurance rates are so high?  To make sure you’re getting the best insurance quote in Ontario you have to do is to compare insurance rates. That’s where we come in. Why are you paying more than you should? Contact us today so we can find you the best rate and the most adequate coverage.

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