Ontario says companies offering drivers $650 million in insurance relief

Following criticism from the Ontario government, the insurance industry has served up consumers with $650 million in premium relief in the form of rebates and reductions.

According to the Financial Services Regulatory Authority of Ontario, 4.6 million policy holders in the province should get a reduction in premiums of about $150 on average.

“Of the 14 companies that represent 97 percent of insurers we now have 10 of them that are providing rebates and we are getting $685 million going back to consumers. I'd call that a good start,” Ontario Finance Minister Rod Phillips told CTV News Toronto.

During the height of the pandemic, cars sat in driveways for months and traffic on the highways was light. For insurance companies it meant fewer accidents and claims. While some insurance companies are giving their customers a break, not all of them are.

“I didn't get anything. Not a dime," Mississauga resident Diane Peddle said. Peddle said she's hardly been driving at all. She did not receive a rebate and her insurance actually increased $300 a year, she said.

“I'm not very happy. I’m paying $2,352 for one car and my driver’s licence is good and I’ve had no claims and I drive a 2014 Honda Civic,” Peddle said.

A survey by InsuranceHotline.com found that for Canadian drivers, only 25 percent were offered a rate reduction, 64 percent were not offered a rate reduction and 12 percent weren't sure. 

The rate comparison website said that in Ontario, where premiums are more expensive, many companies did offer their customers a reduction.

“Some companies are offering a $100 right off the bat. Some are offering rate reductions for a number of months so it's worth it to have a look,” Anne Marie Thomas with InsuranceHotline.com said.

Breaking down the $650 million in savings, Phillips said there was insurance premium relief of $220 million in March and April. He says there should be another $465 million in future premium relief. Phillips said companies that don't offer reductions could face penalties.

“Some are participating and taking care of their customers and some are not," Phillips said. “We are not taking anything off the table. We want to see action and we've seen some.”

InsuranceHotline.com shows the various reductions insurance companies are offering due to COVID-19. If you're not sure if you're getting a break on your rate, you may check the website or call and ask your insurance company.