Canadian Underwriter

Why the large variance within Toronto of auto rates

February 26, 2019   by Greg Meckbach

Print this page Share

If your client lives in an area where most people do not use their car to get to work, he or she could save money on auto insurance.

Kanetix released Tuesday its annual InsuraMap, which the Toronto-based online auto insurance quote provider uses to depict how rates vary in Ontario by municipality and postal code.

The highest rates in the City of Toronto – at $2,590 a year – were for clients living in northwest Etobicoke (with postal codes beginning with M9V, M9L and M9M) or with a postal code beginning with M3N, which includes the intersection of Jane St. and Finch Ave. in North York.

The average rate in the city of Toronto was $1,948 and the average rate in the province was $1,473.

(Etobicoke and North York were separate cities until 1998, when they were amalgamated with Toronto, York, Scarborough and East York to form the “mega-city” of Toronto, eliminating the upper-tier municipality of Metropolitan Toronto.)

To come up with its averages, Kanetix uses the rate that a 35-year-old driver, with a clean driving record, would have paid to insure a 2015 Honda. It compared rates not by the territories auto insurers use but by municipality and postal code.

One reason for higher auto rates in Etobicoke and North York is the fact that a higher percentage of residents in the suburbs rely on their vehicles to get around, suggested Janine White, vice president of marketplaces and strategy at Kanetix, in an interview Tuesday.

White alluded to the Transportation Tomorrow Survey (TTS), which the City of Toronto quoted in its Vision Zero Road Safety Plan.  The TTS survey indicates 32% of people in the old city of Toronto and in East York rely on their car (as opposed to cycling, walking or public transit) to get around. Nearly two-thirds of people in North York and Etobicoke rely on their cars to get around.

“We are definitely seeing a correlation between the reliance on your vehicle versus public transit or bikes as alternatives, and what we see as the most expensive and least expensive places in the GTA” for auto insurance, said White.

The three most expensive cities – with average rates of $2,494, $2,128 and $2,086 respectively – were Brampton, Vaughan and Mississauga.

Four large cities – Ottawa, London, Kitchener, and Windsor – had lower-than average rates, at $1,151, $1,392, $1,264 and $1,368 respectively.

“It is a huge variability in just where you live,” said White.

Kanetix used rates quoted by brokers, captive agents and direct writers, White said.