Today, LowestRates.ca, an online recommendation site for personal finance products like insurance, mortgages, loans and credit cards, released its Q3 2018 Auto Insurance Price Index, which uses proprietary data to track the average cost of car insurance in Canada on a quarterly basis.
The report found that the price of auto insurance has been trending upward in all three markets surveyed, with increases of 3.57% in Ontario, 0.24% in Alberta and 1.79% in Atlantic Canada versus the prior quarter. When compared with this time last year, Ontario saw the steepest rate increase at 10.71% and Alberta saw an annual increase of 6.70%. Annual data for Atlantic Canada is not yet available.
Breakdown by sex:
- Men are paying 9.67% more than in Q3 2017
- Women are paying 12.21% more than in Q3 2017
- Men are paying 7.36% more than in Q3 2017
- Women are paying 5.56% more than in Q3 2017
- Men are paying 1.97% more than in Q2 2018
- Women are paying 1.39% more than in Q2 2018
As auto insurance rates continue to rise, Canada has also become the first G20 country to legalize recreational cannabis. LowestRates.ca found that a staggering 91% of Canadians do not know how the legalization of cannabis will affect their rates. Millennials (94%) are the least certain of the potential impact. A study released in October by the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety gives some insight into what could happen: it found that U.S. states that legalized cannabis have accident rates that are 5.2% higher than neighbouring states. If legalization leads to an increase in impaired driving and more accidents, it’s likely that rates will see an increase in Canada, as well.
“It’s a time of unknowns in the Canadian insurance industry,” said Justin Thouin, co-founder and CEO of LowestRates.ca. “The potential effects of cannabis legalization have shown Canadians the importance of educating themselves on not just insurance, but personal finance as a whole. That’s exactly what the Auto Insurance Price Index aims to do—give Canadians another tool that can equip them with the information they need in order to make smarter financial decisions.”
How does the Auto Insurance Price Index Report work?
The index works by looking at the lowest auto insurance rates available on LowestRates.ca each quarter, getting an average and then comparing it to past quarters. A benchmark quarter, in this case Q1 2018, is used to create a baseline (a reading of 100) for the index. Each point on the index above or below 100 represents a roughly 1% change in prices. For instance, a 105 index reading would mean the price has increased by 5% since Q1 2018.
Each market has seen the following increases on LowestRates.ca’s Auto Insurance Price Index:
- Ontario increased from 100 on the index at the end of Q1 2018 to 107 at the end of Q3 2018
- Alberta increased from 100 on the index at the end of Q1 2018 to 103 at the end of Q3 2018
- Atlantic Canada increased from 100 on the index at the end of Q1 2018 to 103 at the end of Q3 2018
This index also shows the value of comparing auto insurance. While the average quoted price on LowestRates.ca rose 0.67% in the second quarter, that was less than the amount insurers were approved to raise rates. The Financial Services Commission of Ontario, which regulates auto insurance in the province, approved insurance providers for an average 2.06% rate increase in Q3.
Why do rates increase?
Insurance rate increases are directly related to costs incurred by providers. For instance, if the number of claims rises in a given quarter for one insurer, they’ll increase their premiums, even if other insurers lower their own prices. There are several trends right now that may contribute to these increases, including a higher number of distracted driving accidents, the rising cost of new vehicle repairs, and fraud. The LowestRates.ca Auto Insurance Price Index tracks the percentage change in the average car insurance quote received by individual drivers insuring only one vehicle in either Ontario, Alberta or Atlantic Canada.
LowestRates.ca is an online rate comparison site for insurance, mortgages, loans and credit card rates in Canada. The free, independent service connects directly with financial institutions and providers from all over North America to offer Canadians a comprehensive list of rates. LowestRates.ca wants to help everyone become more financially literate, with a goal of saving Canadians $1 billion in interest and fees.