Auto insurance: When Ontarians feel suffocated by the cost of their premium

The impact on the finances of motorists like Jacques Ngassam is considerable. The Scarborough resident has held a G license since 2011.

Frankly, if the insurance ever takes me $600 [par mois], I don’t know how I can survive. Even if you had to work, when you see that you have a minimum wage of $15 [de l’heure] when we calculate, how much does it make per month?he asks himself.

I went back to school to be a teacher in primary or secondary schools. As a mature student, it takes a big dent in my monthly income. With the four children I have at home, I can no longer make ends meet. »

A quote from Jacques Ngassam, resident of Scarborough

The cost of auto insurance premiums has been rising for years in Ontario. Residents continue to complain about it.

A pile of bills

Jacques Ngassam says he had been paying a monthly auto insurance premium of $280 for over 5 years. But an accident, which he describes as light last winter had a significant impact on his premium, which rose to over $600.

Jacques Ngassam has no choice but to use his vehicle.

Photo: Courtesy of Jacques Ngassam

The situation is such that he considered parting with his vehicle. He can’t bring himself to do it right now.

I’m working in the afternoons coaching children’s soccer, I tell myself that [garder la voiture] worth it because going on public transport with balloons, cones is a bit more difficult for mehe says.

And then, if I give up, there are a lot of children who need me. So I think it’s worth the sacrifice. […] If it hadn’t been for this obligation towards the children, I was going to drop the car. »

A quote from Scarborough resident Jacques Ngassam.

For his part, Blaise Fodjo, a resident of Etobicoke, has been paying $360 in auto insurance premiums per month while driving in Canada since 2014.

Blaise Fodjo seated in an office in front of a computer.

Blaise Fodjo is all the more unhappy when he compares the premiums in Ontario to those in Quebec.

Photo: Courtesy of Blaise Fodjo

This insurance premium seems to him all the more problematic as it is added, he explains, to other expenses.

If you have to pay for car insurance, $360 is huge. That’s not counting the other expenses: you have to insure the house, it’s around $120, you take out life insurance which is around $100he is offended.

If you go and get the water bills, the electricity bills, the gas bills, the mortgage, it’s huge. These are suffocating bills. »

A quote from Blaise Fodjo, Etobicoke resident

Mr. Fodjo says he is frustrated when he compares this amount to the $60 a month he paid for his auto insurance when he lived in Quebec just a few years ago.

A chart that compares Canadian auto insurance averages by province in 2020.

Auto insurance in Ontario is considerably more expensive than in many other Canadian provinces.

Photo: Auto Insurers Group/Insurance Bureau of Canada

In fact, according to data compiled by the Groupement des assureurs automobiles and the Insurance Bureau of Canada, in 2020, Quebec was the Canadian province with the lowest average annual cost ($857). Ontario had the same highest cost average at $1,655.

Everyone’s Business

Criticisms of auto insurance prices in Ontario are also being heard in the northern part of the province.

Audrey Debruyne lives in Thunder Bay. Arriving from France in 2012 and then holding a driver’s license for 17 years, she has been driving in Northern Ontario for almost 10 years.

Audrey Debruyne standing in a room.

Audrey Debruyne says she does not understand the logic behind car insurance.

Photo: Courtesy of Audrey Debruyne

Despite this long driving experience accident-freeshe says she feels her car insurance is increasing over the years.

The argument is that it increases with inflation. I don’t find that very fair. I haven’t had an accident, I’m a good driver, it should decrease. But on the contrary, my insurance costs me a little more each yearshe shares.

You have to be careful when looking for a new car. We tend to buy used cars. If you want a certain type of model, it’s complicated and then a little nervous. »

A quote from Audrey Debruyne, resident of Thunder Bay

For Ms. Debruyne, the consequences of a high insurance premium were particularly felt when it was necessary to look for a new vehicle.

We also had to keep in mind how much it was going to cost us in terms of insurance. The family has grown too. So next purchase, of course you have to take into account the size of the car, the model, the age, so that the insurance is not exorbitant.she says.

What solutions?

To respond to the concerns of Ontarians, Radio-Canada contacted the four major parties in Ontario: the Progressive Conservative Party, the New Democratic Party, the Liberal Party and the Green Party.

Only the New Democratic Party responded to our requests through Lisa Gretzky, MPP for Windsor West.

Lisa Gretzky answers questions in front of a microphone outside.

Lisa Gretzky accuses Progressive Conservatives and Liberals of lacking the will to change things.

Photo: Elvis Nouemsi Njike

Ms. Gretzky says the NDP, if it were to form the next government, would take action to end what she sees as a form of injustice.

Across the province, there is discrimination based on postal codes. So depending on the city you live in, or the zip code within the city you live in, insurance premiums differ. We are committed to banishing discrimination based on postal codesshe explains.

We are also committed to exploring all possible avenues to lower insurance prices, improve service quality, enforce transparency and ensure that the Financial Services Regulatory Authority of Ontario puts drivers first. »

A quote from Lisa Gretzky, MPP for Windsor West

If she does not set a precise deadline and does not explain exactly what mechanisms will be put in place to make car insurance more affordable, Lisa Gretzky nevertheless affirms that a New Democrat government would start working on this issue immediately after the election, flaying in the process the inaction of previous governments.

The current Conservative government talks about car insurance occasionally, but has done nothing concrete to keep the cost of insurance premiums under control, in fact they continue to rise. The same could be said of the previous Liberal government. […] The Liberals had 15 years to do somethingshe says.

In its most recent budget, the Progressive Conservative government indicates that it will change the rules for auto insurance.

Promotional banner of our file on the 2022 elections in Ontario.

The document outlines a plan that the province says will give drivers more choice and ensure insurance fairness, while tackling fraud.

Drivers will be able to better tailor their insurance to their needs and purchase coverage based on vehicle use, according to the government, which does not give further details.

With information from The Canadian Press

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