A Mississauga, Ont. driver says her annual insurance premiums almost tripled after she made a mistake calculating what she thought was the rebate she deserved.
At the height of the pandemic vehicles were sitting in driveways and insurance companies were under pressure to offer rebates.
Tian Liang of Mississauga says she was barely driving her Ford Escape, so she called her insurance company to see if she could get a rebate.
“I called the broker and I said I need a refund because I don't drive my car and I was told I got a $190 refund," said Liang.
Liang deducted a portion of the rebate from her premium that was due, not realizing her rates had also gone up. She received a letter the following month saying “to avoid having your policy cancelled, please pay the total amount due $77.02.”
Liang mistakenly thought the amount would eventually work itself out due to the rebate and didn't pay it and her policy was cancelled the next month.
“I got a letter saying they cancelled my policy. I was very upset," Liang said.
Liang said her former premium was $1,627 a year. Other insurance companies are now saying her new premium, because she was cancelled for non-payment, will be in the $4,000 range annually.
“Suddenly I can't drive my car because I have no insurance and I need to go to work. Now my husband has to drive me to work," Liang said.
Her company is Economical Insurance. A spokesperson for Economical told CTV News that, “we understand missed payments are not always intentional, and a cancelation for non-payment can impact a customers future insurance premium, so our process includes multiple notices and opportunities for payment.”
Peter Karageorgos with the Insurance Bureau of Canada said that, "insurance companies take those gaps in payment very seriously."
Karageorgos says drivers who miss payments can be viewed as high-risk individuals.
“The inability to stay of top of your bills is often an indication to many insurance companies you might not be the most conscientiousness of drivers on the road then.”
Liang knows she made a mistake but says she has a good driving record and is surprised after missing a partial payment that her policy was cancelled.
Karageorgos said paying your bills on time can be just as important as not having accidents or tickets.