In early February, CBC News Toronto reported that auto insurance rates in Ontario were set to increase by as much as 11 per cent. The change would further solidify the province as one of the most expensive places in Canada to purchase insurance. The average premium price at the time was $1,505, second only to British Columbia’s $1,832, despite Ontario holding ‘one of the lowest accident and death rates in the country,’ per the report.
For Ontario’s car accident lawyers, the report proved once again that accident victims face unfair barriers to fair and reasonable compensation for their injuries, especially given the drastic cuts to statutory accident benefits delivered by the previous provincial government in 2016.
And then, the COVID-19 pandemic took hold. Not only was the reported premium increase pushed off the front pages, insurance industry stakeholders announced that Ontario drivers could expect their rates to fall. In March and April, traffic plummeted across the province. According to mobility info published by Google and reported in the Toronto Star, activity at transit stations dropped 55 per cent from the recorded average, and workplace mobility dropped 32 per cent.
Since March, Ontario insurance companies have offered discounts worth $1 billion, according to the Financial Services Regulatory Authority. These include reduced premiums, deferred premiums, waived fees, and new payment options. But the Star reports that many Canadians never received a discount, or received a smaller discount than expected. That’s because vehicle traffic hasn’t disappeared; it’s simply moved to different locations. Workplace mobility is down, but park traffic is up 43 per cent.
More importantly, serious accidents have actually increased in 2020, as most of the province’s car accident lawyers know. In May, the Ontario Provincial Police reported a 16 per cent year-over-year increase in fatal accidents. Police have also reported more speeding infractions, and injury claims are reportedly up.
In other words, most Ontario drivers, even those who have used their vehicles less than in previous years, are paying the same elevated premiums as before the pandemic. Reduced insurance rates were expected to be a small silver lining in a destructive, challenging year. That expectation has not been fulfilled.
If you’ve been involved in an automotive accident and are having difficulty accessing benefits from your insurer, contact Neinstein Personal Injury Lawyers today to schedule a free, no obligation consultation. Our team of car accident lawyers can help you get the compensation you deserve for the damages you have experienced.
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