Canadian Underwriter

Pandemic prompts policyholders to shift purchasing behaviours

February 10, 2022   by Alyssa DiSabatino

A stack of seven wooden blocks. From top to bottom, they read "home, business, life, insurance, health, car, travel." The insurance block is yellow, a man in a suit is reaching his hand towards it.

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The pandemic’s prompted Canadians to spend more time researching and evaluating their insurance options online, according to a recent report.’s 2021 Digital Money Trends Report, looked at how Canadians interact and evaluate insurance policies and services, based on survey data from roughly 1,500 respondents.  

Findings suggest COVID-19 is shifting Canadian insurance shopping behaviours. Pre-COVID, 35% of respondents claimed to have researched and compared insurance rates online, while 42% said they now plan to do so. 

About one-third (31%) of respondents said they don’t feel comfortable purchasing online insurance, although those under 55 years old showed more interest in online policy shopping.  

Another third (33%) said prior to COVID-19 they allowed their policies to auto-renew without additional research, but only 26% said they would continue that practice.  

Further, findings show the three most popular types of insurance are: auto, with 77% of Canadians paying for coverage, followed by home or condo insurance at 58%, and life insurance at 44%. 

The most common policies bought online are auto (42%) and travel (39%), followed by life and home insurance. 

What’s more, the study found less than 50% of Canadian renters have tenant insurance. Just 18% of respondents indicated they have an active renter’s insurance policy. This figure aligns with a recent TD Insurance survey, which finds approximately 41% of surveyed renters forgo tenant insurance. also found that those in the 55+ age demographic were more likely to be insured. For example, 88% of those 55+ were found to have auto insurance, compared to 70% of people under 55.  

Home insurance saw 73% of those 55+ with coverage, compared to 49% of the younger population, and 49% of those 55+ with life insurance, compared to 40% of those younger than 55. 

The report chalks this disparity up to the fact that many young Canadians may live in cities, and rely on public transportation or rideshare, rather than car ownership.

“The older demographic grew up in a time where home and vehicle ownership was more attainable. Younger Canadians are struggling with the current economic landscape that makes home ownership significantly less affordable,” the report suggested.  

Findings also show many Canadians are missing out on opportunities to save money, with only 40% of respondents indicating they’ve considered usage-based insurance. Approximately one-in-three respondents bundle their auto and home policies, and one-in-four opted for a soft-credit check for a home insurance discount.