There are 24 million vehicles in Canada — and by law, all of them have to be insured.
But despite the fact that so many Canadians carry car insurance, there’s precious little data out there about how much they’re paying and where prices are trending.
Consumers can’t make informed choices about the financial products they buy without being armed with the right information. That’s why this morning we’re launching the Auto Insurance Price Index, which will track auto insurance pricing across the country.
The inaugural report starts with two provinces — Alberta and Ontario — but we plan to steadily roll out data for all provinces and territories in the future as more Canadians use our website to compare auto insurance, and our database of prices grows.
In the meantime, let’s take a look at what drivers in Ontario and Alberta have been paying in the past year.
Prices have seen a strong downtrend in Ontario
Ontario drivers can all find common ground in one area: auto insurance in the province is way too expensive.
The average driver in the province pays $1,458 annually for their premium. That’s 44% higher than the Canadian average of $930.
The good news is that based on our report, there’s been clear downward pressure on prices in the past year. In the third quarter, the average price of a quote on LowestRates.ca fell 5.8% compared to the second quarter.
Compared to the same time last year, the average quoted premium was down 11%. That’s a positive trend for Ontario drivers — but there’s still a long way to go before we can consider prices in the province “cheap.”
Breaking down the numbers further, men saw their average prices drop more than women — providing some relief from that persistent gender gap in pricing.
Alberta is seeing an uptick in prices
While Ontario has seen prices fall, Alberta’s moving in the opposite direction.
The average premium quoted in the third quarter in Alberta rose 1.7% compared to the second quarter, and is up 3.9% when compared to the same time last year.
The average Albertan right now is paying $1,179 a year for car insurance — about 23.6% above the $930 Canadian average.
But the sexes did not see their rates rise uniformly. Women saw rates rise only 1.9% when compared to last year, but men saw their rates climb 5.1%.
The LowestRates.ca Auto Insurance Index is designed to empower consumers to make smarter decisions about their auto insurance. For instance, if you’re seeing rates in your province fall, you can take the data and fight any increases in your own premium — or threaten to walk away and go with a new insurer.
Consumers should also know that insurers do not raise or lower premiums in unison. According to the Financial Services Commission of Ontario, insurers will move rates depending on claims costs in a given quarter — that is, how much an insurance company is paying out for insurance claims versus how much it’s taking in.
Some insurers might see an unusual spike in claims in a given quarter, while others might not. That’s why it’s important to compare. One insurer might charge you a higher premium — even if you’ve been a loyal customer for a decade — just because their costs have gone up.
We hope consumers will use this knowledge, along with the information in our index, to make more informed choices. Because if we make the market for financial products more competitive, everyone wins.
The LowestRates.ca quoter allows you to compare auto insurance from more than 20 providers. The best part? It takes just a few minutes to get a quote.Get started