By Pat Foran, CTV News
TORONTO — The Zaum family say they know residents of Brampton pay some of the highest insurance premiums in the country, but they still thought their last renewal notice was a mistake.
“I was very surprised. I called them thinking that this was an error, because mistakes do happen,” Marcus Zaum said.
The retired couple has one vehicle—a 2016 Dodge Grand Caravan. Their old annual insurance premium was $1,443. The new one is $2,345. It’s an increase of $902 a year, or a hike of 62.5 percent.
“That’s with absolutely no charges, no tickets, no brand new expensive car,” Marcus Zaum said. “I’ve been driving without any problems for more than 40 years.”
When the Zaums called their insurance company to ask why there was a huge hike, they were told it was because they live in Brampton and that the insurance industry is dealing with increased costs and vehicles are more expensive to repair.
Marcus’s wife said that she could spend that money on something else, like gifts for her grandchildren.
“I just don’t like being punished for where I live. What are we supposed to do move out of Brampton?” Terry Zaum said.
The Insurance Bureau of Canada says insurance is based on the principle of sharing risk, so drivers share the risk with neighbours and others who live in the same area. Pete Karageorgos the director of consumer and industry relations with the Insurance Bureau, says that depending on your postal code, drivers could pay more, despite having a good record.
“If you live in an area that has a high frequency of claims then you can expect to see a high frequency or a relative increase in your premiums,” Karageorgos said.
Ontario’s Liberal government tired for more than a decade to lower premiums without success. The current Ontario government says it’s reviewing the insurance system, trying to find efficiencies.
“Over time, we have a multi-year strategy that will gradually address the issue. It’s a priority for Ontarians and we want to get it right. The last government didn’t get it right, which is why we have the highest insurance rates in the country,” Ontario Finance Minister Rod Phillips said.
The Zaums say they hope the government can make changes so they don’t get hit with more huge insurance hikes and maybe even see their premiums reduced one day.
The Insurance Bureau of Canada says when you get a large increase, you should shop around to try and find a lower rate.
The Zaums said they did that, but couldn’t find insurance at a significantly lower price in their area code.