By: Matias de Dovitiis
Poster on June 1, 2020. It is no secret that drivers in the Downsview area have been routinely broadsided by high car insurance rates. Ontario has some of the highest rates in Canada and Downsview is known for having some of the most expensive postal codes for car insurance rates in all of Ontario. That makes our area one of the most expensive places to drive a car in the country. With COVID-19 shutting down the economy, many people expected some financial relief. The relief efforts has been uneven.
Some banks have provided mortgage relief, some utility companies can give some a break if they call them, and property taxes payments have been deferred. What is lacking in all of these actions however is a clear government-led direction that would be mandatory and fair across the board. Insurance companies, like most in the private industry, cannot be expected to voluntarily make a cut to their own profits. They may make some symbolic, marketing gestures to appease some customers, but not much more. The government needs to legislate and force them to.
As a result, people in Downsview and throughout Ontario have not seen a decrease to their car insurance rates, even though auto-accidents are reportedly down a whopping 75 per cent recently due to the pandemic. Toronto Police have confirmed that both accidents and fatalities are lower. Prices, however, have not budged. Some have been lucky enough to receive a discount after calling their providers, but those are one-off’s that do not represent the system-wide reality. Car insurance rates, for all they are worth, continue to be a letdown.
Ontario has the second lowest rate of road fatalities in North America, but continues to have one of the highest insurance rates. There is a myth that the price gouging is related to fraud in the system, but whether the system is corrupt or predatory, it is still up to the government to regulate it. The driver that is accident-free, just lost their job and has their car parked at home all day is not getting the break or the protection that they need from their government. With or without COVID-19 in the mix, that financial woes related to operating a car have not changed.