Issues and Activities

National Study On Auto Insurance Rates Confirms Toronto Consumers Pay The Highest Rates in Canada

Press Release



Sept. 10, 2003

Consumers' Association National Study On Auto Insurance Rates Confirms Toronto Consumers Pay The Highest Rates In Canada

TORONTO, Sept. 10 /CNW/ - "Auto insurance rates in Toronto are the highest in Canada and are outrageously high compared to other major cities such as Vancouver and Montreal", said Mr. Mel Fruitman, President of the Consumers' Association of Canada at a news conference held at 10 am today at the Sheraton Centre in Toronto. The Association released its national study of auto insurance rates across Canada including data from forty cities in all ten provinces.

"This study by the CAC is the largest independent national study of auto insurance rates ever conducted", said Mr. Bruce Cran, National Secretary of the Consumers Association. "The study used over 7,000 actual rate quotes, and asked the question consumers want answered, namely, 'How much would the same driver pay for auto insurance if they had the same vehicle, same driving record and same claims history but lived in each of the 40 cities surveyed in this study?' "Our report delivers the answer", said Mr. Cran.

The study may be downloaded here.

The major finding in the study is that consumers in the four provinces with public auto insurance, British Columbia, Saskatchewan, Manitoba and Quebec pay the lowest rates. "Some consumers in Toronto pay up to 500% more for auto insurance than do equivalent consumers in provinces with public auto systems", said Mr. Cran. "The highest actual rate quote we obtained in all of Canada was a shocking $18,000 in Toronto".

"When one also compares Ontario's smaller cities to smaller cities in a province like British Columbia one thing is very clear" said Mr. Cran. "Consumers in cities like Ottawa, London, Thunder Bay and Barrie pay a lot more. How much more they pay is also dependent on how much comparison shopping they do. The rates from different private insurers can vary by thousands of dollars. We strongly recommend consumers shop around".

The study shows that, of Canada's large cities, Vancouver and Winnipeg have much lower rates than Toronto and Calgary. Winnipeg has the lowest rates of major cities in Canada. On a region vs. region basis the maritime provinces have much higher rates than do the western provinces, with the exception of Alberta, whose rates are much higher," said Mr. Cran.

There is one unique location in Canada that enables a side-by-side comparison of public vs. private auto insurance rates. This is Lloydminster, Alberta vs. Lloydminster, Saskatchewan, a city that straddles the border between provinces. "A person living 30 metres across the street on the Alberta side can pay up to $5000 more each year for the same vehicle and get worse insurance coverage", said Mr. Cran. Saskatchewan has a public auto system while Alberta has a totally private system.

"Should a young driver with a clean driving record have to pay 100% more to drive a ten year old car compared to a middle aged driver who owns a high priced BMW and has driving convictions? That's the case in Ontario", said Mr. Cran. In the public auto insurance provinces, if you are a bad driver you pay more, irrespective of your age.

The Consumers' Association has set up a web-based feedback form for drivers in Canada who want to talk about auto insurance. "We invite any driver to click on the CAC website and fill out a form that allows a consumer to tell us their auto insurance story", said Mr. Cran. "In just a few weeks we have received hundreds of stories from consumers who have experienced rate shock. Many consumers are also very upset with how they have been treated by private insurers".

Note For Media - The Press Conference is on September 10, 2003 at 10 AM Toronto time. Both Mr. Fruitman and Mr. Cran will be in attendance. Media can attend in person at the Sheraton Centre Toronto Hotel, Wentworth Room, 123 Queen Street West, in downtown Toronto. Media outside Toronto can participate in the press conference via conference call by calling 1-877-228-3370, then entering the conference call code number 836254, followed by pressing the pound key.

For further information contact Mr. Bruce Cran, (604) 454-7827