Yesterday we wrote about the importance of auto insurance during this year’s Ontario election campaign. Parties are running on a promise of ending territorial assessment for premium cost, something insurance companies is vital to how they determine how much customers should pay for coverage.
Despite insurer protestations, there is a good reason political parties are pushing this pledge… it entices the voter. In Ontario, the Greater Toronto Area is comfortably the most expensive market for insuring a vehicle, it is also the vastly more populated area. In other words, if you live outside the GTA the chances are your coverage will be reasonable against Ontario’s sky-high average.
Killing territorial assessment for premium cost would mean more unity in the price customers pay, no matter where they live. For customers living in rural areas this is bad news, but for the heavy majority in Toronto and surrounding neighbourhoods, it could mean a cut in rates.
The debate to whether this is right or wrong will continue through the election season and is an interesting situation where the private market (insurers) are against proposed public (the government) policy.
Still, in Toronto, there is evidence that the territorial based method for assessing premium cost can throw up some unfair results. For example, a consumer in the city saw his auto insurance rise $600 when he moved from one Toronto neighbourhood to another.
Steven Baker spoke to TD Insurance to tell the company he would be changing postal address as he moved from a side street near Ossington Avenue and College Street and relocated to a new place near Dufferin Street and St. Clair Avenue. He was shocked to see the move saw his auto insurance increase from $1,950 a year to $2,560.
“I was shocked,” Baker told CBC News in an interview. “I asked them why. Nothing had changed. I hadn’t had any accidents.”
“If you look, the two streets, they’re almost identical in terms of the type of neighbourhood and the amount of traffic,” Baker added.
“Even within small geographic distances, claims rates can vary widely due to a number of factors like traffic density, levels of pedestrian traffic and weather exposure,” TD Bank Group spokesperson Crystal Jongeward said.