Car insurance rates across Ontario are decreasing, but not as much as promised by the Liberal government and they vary wildly between cities.
The 10 most expensive cities are in the Greater Toronto Area and Hamilton region. The most expensive is Brampton, where a single 35-year-old driver with a clean record would have an average annual premium of $2,392 – 65 per cent higher than the provincial average of $1,448, according to data collected by Kanetix.ca, which ran quotes for every city in Ontario based on the same driver profile.
Vaughan ($2,018), Mississauga ($1,930), Toronto and Markham ($1,886) round out the top five most-expensive cities. Hawkesbury, located southeast of Ottawa, has the lowest typical premiums at $956.
"While there are a lot of variables that go into determining what you pay to insure your vehicle, one of the most influential factors is where you live," says Kanetix.ca vice-president Janine White. "If you reside anywhere in the GTA, chances are you'll be paying a lot more."
She says if insurance companies see higher claims costs and more claims in a particular area, premiums there go up. Other factors include traffic congestion, how much people drive, plus the number of accidents and thefts.
When White and her team looked deeper into the numbers, they discovereed that Brampton drivers have less experience than surrounding cities.
"Out of the top 10 most expensive cities," White says, "our data tells us that drivers in the Brampton area have fewer years of experience behind the wheel, and fewer years continually insured, which could factor into higher premiums."
But that doesn't mean everyone in Brampton is paying a higher rate.
"The important thing to remember is averages are just averages – there are easy ways to beat the averages without moving," says White. "Individual good drivers will see lower premiums regardless of where you live."
White says drivers can receive a discount for winter tires, bundling different policies or based on where they work. There are more than 40 companies in Ontario that provide personal auto insurance, not including small companies and niche players, and each company will provide a different rate based on its analysis.
The good news is that the provincial average was $92 higher in 2015 at $1,540, when Kanetix.ca conducted the same analysis.
Three years ago, the provincial government promised to reduce rates by 15 per cent within two years. Rates fell as much as 10 per cent on average, but that decrease has shrunk to 8.35 per cent.
The Financial Services Commission of Ontario this week approved rate increases by an average of 1.5 per cent in the third quarter of 2016.
After the two-year deadline came and went last August, Premier Kathleen Wynne admitted lowering rates by 15 per cent was a "stretch goal."
White is optimistic about rates continuing to fall. She says this current increase may be a blip. Additionally, Ontario has a high frequency of fraud. "If the government can tackle the fraud issue, there are ways to get those rates down," she says.
Ontario motorists pay some of the highest premiums anywhere in Canada, but drivers in Ontario also have some of the best benefits.
"Sometimes, when you look at province to province, it isn't an apples to apples comparison," she says.
Top 10 most expensive cities in Ontario
1. Brampton - $2,392
2. Vaughan - $2,018
3. Mississauga - $1,930
4. Toronto - $1,886
4. Markham - $1,886
6. Richmond Hill - $1,783
7. Hamilton - $1,683
8. Pickering - $1,593
9. Ajax - $1,556
10. Bradford - $1,484
10. Stouffville - $1,484
Ontario average - $1,448
With a report from The Canadian Press
We've redesigned the Drive section – take a look