Our auto and home insurance renewal documents arrived in the mail the other day. The bad news is that insurance premiums are going up sharply in Ontario. Our auto and home insurance premiums went up by 22 and 14 percent respectively even though we did not have any claims in the past year. The hikes were not really surprising because Nordic Insurance Company, our auto insurance provider, obtained approval from the Financial Services Commission of Ontario (FSCO) for two rate increases that averaged 6.71% and 9.40% in the past year alone.
James Daw of The Star reported that the main reason for premium increases is the rapid rise in the cost of accident benefit claims. While the Ontario Government has announced changes that will allow consumers the choice to lower the medical benefits, the insurance companies are saying that they are awaiting greater clarity on the details of the reforms.
It’s possible that there is little you can do about the rise in premiums but it is worth trying to find ways to soften the blow. First, you can always shop around. Last year, I found that switching from Co-Operators to belairdirect reduced our auto premiums by a staggering 35 percent. If you find that other insurers are quoting similar numbers, it may be worth calling your current provider to try and find some savings. Maybe your driving patterns have changed or the insurance provider offers a discount that you’ve been missing out all these years. It may not amount to much but at least you’ll know you tried your best.