Auto insurance rates vary wildly across Toronto – with some areas costing $1,000 less per year than others.
The cheapest area to live in Toronto for car insurance is the Christie neighbourhood, where a married 35-year-old male with a clean driving record in a 2012 Honda Civic will pay $1,479 a year. The best available rate for the same driver in the most expensive area of Downsview would be $2,422.
"The neighbourhood is only one factor, but one thing we found interesting is that two out of the top four [FSAs] have the most collision-prone intersections in the city," Kanetix.ca vice-president Janine White said. Those intersections are Islington Avenue at Albion Road and Sheppard Avenue at Morningside Avenue. She added that the differences exist because insurance companies, in addition to looking at an individual's driving history, also look at accidents and thefts in an area.
"They do say most collisions happen close to home," White said. "If a lot of people who live in the area have accidents or convictions, that will impact it."
To obtain the rates, Kanetix, an online insurance marketplace that partners with most insurance companies in the province, studied the best rate available for a married 35-year-old male driver who owns a 2012 Honda Civic.
White said when insurance companies assign a premium, they look for drivers with a similar driving history and age among other factors. Companies can't ask about ethnicity and can't use your credit history or employment status, and they don't know where you drive.
Kanetix provides a detailed map of Ontario on its website that shows the average rate in hundreds of areas across the province. The average rate in Ontario is $1,441, but there are higher rates in and around Toronto, Hamilton and London. The highest rate in Ontario is in the area of Dufferin Street between St. Clair Avenue and Eglinton Avenue in Toronto, where the average driver pays $3,241. There are also higher rates around the horn of Toronto in Mississauga, Brampton, Vaughan, Richmond Hill, Markham and Scarborough.
"[In] downtown Toronto there are a lot of walkers, lot of bikers, not a lot of miles on the cars they have," White said. "They have fewer opportunities to get into an accident."
The average rate in downtown Toronto is $1,745 a year whereas average rates in Brampton are between $2,100 and $2,400, depending on area. Ontario has the most expensive private auto insurance rates of any province, excluding British Columbia, Saskatchewan, Manitoba and Quebec, which have public insurance.
White said Ontario is known to have the most robust system with higher limits, but the province also has a "high frequency of claims, lawsuits, injuries and fraud, which contributes to higher costs."
She encourages drivers to compare products from different companies to pick the insurance best suited for them and to be a good driver. She said the most important factor affecting rates are driving records – and it's easier to keep those in good order, rather than move.
Top 10 most expensive neighbourhoods in Toronto
- M3N (Downsview): $2,422
- M9V (Albion): $2,418
- M1X (Upper Rouge): $2,373
- M1B (Malvern): $2,370
- M9L (Humber Summit): $2,343
- M9M (Humberlea): $2,314
- M9W (Rexdale): $2,253
- M6M (Mount Dennis): $2,241
- M3J (York University): $2,203
- M3M (Downsview/Rexdale): $2,157
Top 10 least expensive neighbourhoods in Toronto
- M6G (Christie): $1,479
- M5P (Forest Hill North): $1,486
- M4P (Davisville North): $1,503
- M4S (Davisville): $1,505
- M6J (Trinity): $1,511
- M4V (Summerhill/Forest Hill): $$1,513
- M4T (Moore Park/Summerhill East): $1,515
- M4G (Leaside): $1,515
- M2K (Bayview Village): $1,529
- M2P/M2L (York Mills): $1,530