Vaughan, Ont., has replaced Brampton as the most expensive city in Ontario for car insurance in 2021, according to a new report from rate comparison site Ratesdotca.
With estimated annual insurance premiums of $2,179, Vaughan is now the costliest city in Ontario. Brampton, the former title holder, is in fourth place, averaging $1,976 a year, nearly 27% cheaper year-over-year.
High auto insurance premiums have dogged Brampton for years, with the city even going so far as to approve a motion last March to lobby the province to end “postal code discrimination.” This refers to the practice of insurers pricing premiums based on overall claims frequency in a given geographic region rather than by individual driving behaviour.
In 2021, rates fell in Brampton by a considerable 26.8% due in part to pandemic-related lower claims activity. And even though Vaughan unseated Brampton as the city with the highest average premium, a difference of only about $200 separates them, notes Ratesdotca insurance expert Tanisha Kishan.
“Vaughan’s claim frequency could have been slightly higher than Brampton for that time period,” causing the northwestern suburb to take this year’s top spot, says Kishan, a chartered insurance professional.
Across Ontario, the average premium last year was $1,555, a 3.8% decrease from 2020, when the average was $1,616, according to data from Ratesdotca’s Auto Insuramap. The interactive online map lets users search for estimated auto premiums by postal code. Vaughan combines the premiums for Woodbridge, Thornhill, Concord, Kleinburg and Maple; rate estimates are based on a 35-year-old driver of a 2018 Honda Civic with a clean driving record.
On the flip side, the cheapest cities for auto insurance premiums were Cornwall, Elizabethtown, Amherstview, Gananoque, Martintown, Iroquois, Brockville, and Kingston, where yearly premiums are estimated at $1,132. But while they round out the bottom of the provincial ranking, these communities still saw their rates go up year-over-year (2.3% for Cornwall and 2.6% for all other cities).
Other places such as Napanee, Trenton, Port Hope, Cobourg, Belleville, and Picton saw 6.5% year-over-year increases to their premiums, estimated at $1,175. The exception to this list is Kendal, which saw a 7.6% decrease year-over-year.
The rate increases could be correlated to the migration of city dwellers to the country, Kishan suggests. “Because of remote work, people started moving a bit farther out and the number of cars on the road could have increased slightly,” she says, adding that more data is needed for a definitive conclusion. More likely, drivers in these communities maintained similar commutes.
Overall, prices decreased in most places in the province. The largest overall decrease in Ontario auto insurance premiums within the last five years was caused by several factors, according to Ratesdotca, but especially:
Professionals using their cars less while working from home
Insurance providers offering relief measures through lowered rates and rebates
Fewer new drivers behind the wheel due to a backlogged testing schedule
Toronto drivers saw significant decreases, as did suburban drivers who commute to the city for work. The average annual premium for Toronto including its suburbs was $1,952 in 2021, 11.3% lower than the 2020 premium of $2,200.
The cities of Nobleton, Schomberg, Orangeville and King City, which tied for 10th place in the top ten most expensive cities, increased by 14.2%.
Here are the top 10 most expensive cities in Ontario for car insurance according to the rate aggregator: