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What Canadian policyholders think of their insurance premiums


July 16, 2019   by Jason Contant


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Canadians have different concerns and beliefs about home and auto insurance depending on where in the country they reside, a new national survey commissioned by belairdirect has found.

In British Columbia, one-third of respondents (34%) were concerned with the price of their auto insurance policy, more than any other region in Canada. Thirty per cent of respondents in the westernmost province also strongly agreed that they pay too much for their home insurance (compared to 24% for rest of Canada) and car insurance (61% of B.C. respondents versus 38% rest of Canada).

By contrast, Quebec residents are less concerned about both home and car insurance price issues. According to the survey, nearly half of Canadians “lose sleep” when thinking about their home (48%) or car (49%) insurance, compared to those in Quebec (42% for home, 40% for auto).

The results jive with recent findings from the Insurance Bureau of Canada (IBC), which found that 2017 average auto premiums by province were the most expensive in B.C. ($1,680) and lowest in Quebec ($661).

More than 1,800 Canadians were polled, a belairdirect spokesperson told Canadian Underwriter Tuesday. The survey identified price as a key issue, but did not inquire as to why. The survey included a question where price was one variable that kept Canadians up at night in regards to insurance. For home or tenant insurance, the considerations included: understanding their policy and what they are covered for; price; and if they are covered in the event of flooding. For car insurance the considerations included: price; understanding their policy and what they are covered for; and what happens if they lend their car to a friend.

Looking at cannabis coverage, nearly one-fifth (18%) of those polled with home insurance said growing legal cannabis in their homes would not affect their policy and that their cannabis is covered. “But the reality is, the legal cannabis Canadians have in their home is covered, but the specifics vary by province, such as with Quebec, where growing plants is not allowed,” belairdirect said in a release.

Other survey findings include:

  • Nearly one-quarter of Canadians polled have not read their home (23%) or car (25%) insurance policies;
  • Generally speaking, Canadians with home and car insurance are quite literate when it comes to their policies. In B.C., 93% of respondents knew that car insurance varied by province (compared to 79% for the rest of Canada). Seven in ten polled Canadians are aware that home insurance is different in each province (but only 60% of Quebecers are aware);
  • Canadians with home or car insurance understand its importance, but many (52% and 48% respectively) find it difficult to understand their policy;
  • Only 47% of those polled with car insurance believe if someone borrows their car, they are covered by insurance. “In fact, when you lend your car, you lend your insurance.”
  • British Columbians want to be able to customize optional auto insurance.

“Car insurance in British Columbia is unique, which means British Columbians understand what they want from their car insurance,” said Jeremy Green, belairdirect’s vice president of sales and operations for western Canada. “British Columbian drivers consider understanding insurance to be tedious and want premiums that actually reflect their driving habits and fit their needs.”