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Alexandra Bosanac
Written by Alexandra Bosanac About Alexandra Bosanac

Alexandra Bosanac, content manager at InsuranceHotline.com, focuses on auto insurance. She began reporting on this topic in 2017. Alexandra holds a bachelor’s degree in journalism from Toronto Metropolitan University. Prior to joining InsuranceHotline.com in 2021, she contributed to publications such as Canadian Business, the Toronto Star, the National Post, and the CBC.

 

Content Manager

Updated On May 7, 2024

How does Ontario auto insurance work?

There are three things you need to know about Ontario car insurance:

1) Ontario law requires that all drivers have auto insurance.

It is a legal requirement for drivers in Ontario to obtain car insurance on their vehicle, but there are also minimal coverage types and conditions drivers must have, including third-party liability, statutory accident benefit, DC-PD, and uninsured automobile insurance. These requirements are baked into provincial providers' standard auto insurance policy coverages. Drivers can purchase additional coverage or optional coverages to provide more robust protection coverage to support their auto insurance needs.

 

2) Auto insurance in Ontario operates under a no-fault system.

Despite the name, no-fault insurance system does not mean that no one is held responsible for causing an accident. The term means that, regardless of fault, drivers only deal with their own insurance company when they need to make an accident claim. 

 

3) Ontario car insurance also operates under a private insurance model.

Ontario drivers purchase insurance policies directly from private insurance companies. You can get coverage from insurance brokers, insurance agents and direct writers (online insurance providers who sell policies direct to consumers). Shop the market and compare car insurance quotes today.

Ontario car insurance eligibility and restrictions

Auto insurance is mandatory in Ontario, but that doesn’t mean all vehicles and drivers are eligible for standard market car insurance. Some drivers may need a non-standard insurance policy (also known as high-risk auto insurance). Here’s what you need to be eligible for standard market personal car insurance in Ontario.

Valid driver’s licence

  • Must have valid driver’s license
  • All people listed on the policy must also have a valid license
  • Must have a G, G2, G1 or equivalent

Residency

  • Must be a Canadian resident
  • Must reside in Ontario

Vehicle type & usage

Good legal standing

  • Serious prior convictions, past insurance losses, and claims can affect your eligibility
  • Previous fraud convictions will almost guarantee you won’t be eligible
  • Not disclosing information that can affect your policy can make your insurance null and void

Ontario mandatory and optional auto insurance coverage

Learn which coverages you need by law and which ones you can add for a boost. Then compare insurance companies against each other to find your cheapest premium.

Insurance typeMandatory coverageOptional/ Additional Coverage
Third-Party Liability$200,000 minimum. Provides coverage in the event of a lawsuit resulting from an accident where you are at fault.Coverage can be increased to $500,000, $1 million, or $2 million, with up to $2 million limit.
Uninsured Automobile InsuranceProvides up to $200,000 in coverage if you are injured or killed by an uninsured driver, or if your vehicle is damaged as a result of a hit-and-run by an unidentified, uninsured motorist.Family Protection Coverage is an optional coverage that includes additional coverage of up to $1 million in the case of a hit-and-run by an uninsured motorist.
Statutory Accident BenefitsProvides coverage if you are injured in an accident, regardless of who is at fault. Covers medical expenses that aren’t covered by OHIP.Coverage limits can be increased.
Direct Compensation-Property Damage (DC-PD)OptionalDCPD is included in all standard insurance policies, but Ontario drivers can apply to remove it. DCPD pays to repair or replace your car if you're in a collision where the other driver is at fault. You lose this coverage by removing DCPD, as well as your ability to sue the other driver for repairs. 
Collision Coverage (Also Upset Coverage)OptionalCovers the costs of repairing or replacing your vehicle following a collision with another vehicle, an object, or property.
Comprehensive coverageOptionalCovers damages caused by named perils identified under the Specified Perils coverage, as well as losses from other perils like falling or flying objects, theft, fire, hail, windstorms, missiles, and vandalism.
Specified Perils CoverageOptionalCovers damages caused by named perils such as theft, attempted theft, explosions, natural disasters like fire, lightning, windstorm, hail, rising water, earthquakes, and other perils specified in your policy. Specified perils do not cover damages due to vandalism, breakage of glass, etc.
All-Perils CoverageOptionalCombines collision/upset and comprehensive coverage. Also, provides additional protection if a household member or an employee steals your vehicle.
OPCF 20: Coverage for Transportation ReplacementOptionalCovers the cost of your transportation replacement and rental car insurance if you were to get into a car accident or if your vehicle is stolen.
OPCF 27: Liability for Damage to Non-Owned Automobile(s)OptionalCovers if you damage a borrowed or rental vehicle. The coverage limit is usually around $25,000 to $50,000.
OPCF 39: Accident Waiver/ForgivenessOptionalProtect your premium from rising when you have your first at-fault accident.
OPCF 16: Suspension of coverageOptionalThis allows you to suspend your insurance coverage for 30 days or more during periods when you aren't using the car.
OPCF 43: Waiver of depreciationOptionalEnsures your insurance company won't factor in depreciation when settling a claim; you will receive the amount you initially paid for the car.
OPCF 44R: Family protection coverageOptionalEnsures your costs are covered if you and your family are involved in an accident with a driver with less liability insurance than you. This endorsement will cover the remainder.
OPCF 13C: Limited glassOptionalFor a lower premium, you can limit or exclude any coverage for glass damage that might've been in your policy.
OPCF 40: Fire and theft deductibleOptionalAdds a deductible (an amount you must pay before your insurance company chips in funds) for a theft or fire damage claim.

How much is Ontario car insurance in 2023?

In the first three months of 2023, Ontario's average car insurance premium was $1,744, up 12% since late 2021.**

Rates fell in the first two years of the COVID pandemic but are now rising due to car usage returning to pre-pandemic levels and inflationary pressures.

High inflation has also created some side effects that will linger, like increased costs for parts and labour, car shortages, and higher-than-average levels of car theft.

However, the premium you end up being charged will likely differ from the average; whether it's higher or lower depends on your driving record and insurance history, the vehicle you drive, and where you live, among other factors. For example, drivers in urban areas tend to pay more than drivers in rural areas.

Since car insurance prices in Ontario vary significantly, applying for quotes is the best way to determine how much car insurance will cost you.

Which Ontario city has the cheapest car insurance in 2023?

The town or city you live in impacts your insurance rates, with smaller, rural municipalities posing less insurance risk than urban centres. For this reason, drivers in the Greater Toronto Area (GTA) can expect to pay more than those in the country.

GTA drivers pay 70% more than those in rural Ontario, according to Ontario's car insurance regulator, the Financial Services Regulatory Authority of Ontario (FSRA).

As of October 2022, FSRA data showed that rural drivers paid $1,306 for car insurance, while GTA residents paid $2,245 per year.

Our own data also upholds this trend: the 10 cheapest car insurance premiums cities for car insurance were found in small cities and towns well outside the GTA and ranged from $1,232 to as low as $546.

However, your city isn't the only thing that impacts your rate (even if it is a major one). Your driving and insurance histories and the car you choose contribute to the premiums you're offered and are all things you can control.

Average Ontario car insurance rates by city

Your car insurance rate will be cheaper the further you live from an urban centre, where incidences of theft, fraud, and collision are higher.

Brampton had the highest average premium in Ontario for 2023 at $2,707 annually. That's $500 more than 2022's highest premium, which was $2,179 in Vaughan.

By comparison, the places with the three lowest premiums in Ontario — Kapuskasing in Northern Ontario ($888), Keewatin, Dryden, and Summer Beaver ($586) — are towns in the Kenora area.

The premiums from Insuramap are estimates based on a 35-year-old male who drives a 2019 Honda Civic four-door with a clean driving record.

RankCity2023 premium2021 premium Change (%)
1BRAMPTON$2,707$1,97637%
2TORONTO$2,325$1,95319%
3MISSISSAUGA$2,311$1,97117%
4RICHMOND HILL$2,188$2,0258%
5VAUGHAN$2,158$2,179-1%
6PICKERING$1,985$1,9591%
7MARKHAM$1,870$1,7447%
8OSHAWA$1,839$1,8330%
9HAMILTON$1,810$1,56416%
10SCHOMBERG$1,801$1,7662%
10KING CITY$1,801$1,7662%
10STOUFFVILLE$1,801$1,58214%
10AURORA$1,801$1,58214%
10NOBLETON$1,801$1,7662%
11BOWMANVILLE$1,796$1,37830%
12NEWMARKET$1,763$1,58211%
13BRADFORD$1,754$1,6367%
13HOLLAND LANDING$1,754$1,58211%
14WINDSOR$1,743$1,49117%
15LONDON$1,730$1,50515%
16AJAX$1,726$2,104-18%
17CALEDON$1,696$1,717-1%
18WHITBY$1,690$1,792-6%
19OAKVILLE$1,683$1,40820%
19GEORGETOWN$1,683$1,52610%
19ACTON$1,683$1,52610%
20GUELPH$1,676$1,39121%
21CAMBRIDGE$1,669$1,41218%
22PRICEVILLE$1,660$1,45914%
22MULMUR$1,660$1,689-2%
22ORANGEVILLE$1,660$1,766-6%
22CANNINGTON$1,660$1,35123%
22SHELBURNE$1,660$1,6361%
22KESWICK$1,660$1,5825%
23KITCHENER$1,654$1,34623%
24WATERDOWN$1,622$1,36819%
24BINBROOK$1,622$1,36819%
25SELKIRK$1,617$1,5802%
26AMHERSTBURG$1,616$1,38317%
26COMBER$1,616$1,38317%
26LASALLE$1,616$1,38317%
26PELEE ISLAND$1,616$1,38317%
26ESSEX$1,616$1,38317%
27MILTON$1,612$1,4988%
28BRANTFORD$1,602$1,36917%
29WATERLOO$1,594$1,35118%
30INNISFIL$1,588$1,5820%
31BURLINGTON$1,586$1,37415%
32WELLESLEY$1,581$1,31820%
32ST GEORGE BRANT$1,581$1,36816%
32CAMPBELLVILLE$1,581$1,36816%
33DUBREUILVILLE$1,578$1,39813%
34THESSALON$1,564$1,39812%
34FOLEYET$1,564$1,39812%
34MANITOWANING$1,564$1,39812%
35FORT ERIE$1,560$1,32718%
35NIAGARA FALLS$1,560$1,32718%
36SHEDDEN$1,535$1,31816%
36COURTICE$1,533$1,37811%
36NEWCASTLE$1,533$1,37811%
37ELMVALE$1,518$1,35112%
37SUNDERLAND$1,518$1,35112%
37UXBRIDGE$1,518$1,35112%
38DEVLIN$1,516$1,28318%
39LAKEFIELD$1,492$1,35110%
39KENDAL$1,492$1,17527%
40HURON PARK$1,491$1,31813%
40OIL SPRINGS$1,491$1,31813%
41OWEN SOUND$1,484$1,31813%
41ROSTOCK$1,484$1,31813%
41PORT ELGIN$1,484$1,31813%
41MEAFORD$1,484$1,31813%
41COURTLAND$1,484$1,31813%
41PARIS$1,484$1,31813%
41SARNIA$1,481$1,25618%
42FORT FRANCES$1,479$1,28315%
43GODERICH$1,471$1,31812%
43STRATFORD$1,471$1,31812%
43ST MARYS$1,471$1,31812%
43HANOVER$1,471$1,31812%
43WOODSTOCK$1,471$1,33111%
43TILLSONBURG$1,471$1,31812%
43ELMIRA$1,471$1,31812%
43FERGUS$1,471$1,31812%
43INGERSOLL$1,471$1,31812%
43STRATHROY$1,471$1,31812%
43NEW HAMBURG$1,471$1,31812%
43KINCARDINE$1,471$1,31812%
43LISTOWEL$1,471$1,31812%
44PORT COLBORNE$1,463$1,32710%
44THOROLD$1,463$1,32710%
44GRIMSBY$1,463$1,3687%
44WELLAND$1,463$1,32710%
45SHUNIAH$1,450$1,3696%
45THUNDER BAY$1,450$1,3696%
45NEEBING$1,450$1,3696%
46KENORA$1,445$1,28313%
46KASABONIKA$1,445$1,28313%
46INGOLF$1,445$1,31010%
46SIOUX LOOKOUT$1,445$1,28313%
47KINGSVILLE$1,440$1,3834%
47BORDEN$1,440$1,636-12%
47MIDLAND$1,440$1,3517%
47SIMCOE$1,440$1,3189%
47MINESING$1,440$1,3517%
47WALLACEBURG$1,440$1,3834%
47PORT STANLEY$1,440$1,27813%
47WASAGA BEACH$1,440$1,582-9%
47LEAMINGTON$1,440$1,3834%
47ST THOMAS$1,440$1,27813%
47AYLMER$1,440$1,3189%
47ORILLIA$1,440$1,3517%
47CHATHAM$1,440$1,3834%
47COLLINGWOOD$1,440$1,3189%
47DELHI$1,440$1,3189%
47PENETANGUISHENE$1,440$1,3517%
47DUNNVILLE$1,440$1,3943%
48LIVELY$1,429$1,25814%
48ESPANOLA$1,429$1,3784%
48VAL CARON$1,429$1,25814%
48ELLIOT LAKE$1,429$1,3982%
48GARSON$1,429$1,25814%
48HANMER$1,429$1,25814%
49ST CATHARINES$1,410$1,3276%
50KIRKLAND LAKE$1,397$1,3067%
50SOUTH PORCUPINE$1,397$1,3980%
50TIMMINS$1,397$1,3781%
50HEARST$1,397$1,3980%
50COBALT$1,397$1,3513%
50IROQUOIS FALLS A$1,397$1,3980%
51NOVAR$1,379$1,18716%
51GRAVENHURST$1,379$1,18716%
51ROSSEAU$1,379$1,18716%
51HUNTSVILLE$1,379$1,18716%
51NORTH BAY$1,379$1,3512%
51MCKELLAR$1,379$1,18716%
51STURGEON FALLS$1,379$1,3512%
51LORING$1,379$1,3512%
51KILWORTHY$1,379$1,18716%
51BRACEBRIDGE$1,379$1,18716%
51UTTERSON$1,379$1,18716%
51PARRY SOUND$1,379$1,18716%
52OTTAWA$1,321$1,2575%
53CASSELMAN$1,307$1,2068%
53RUSSELL$1,307$1,2068%
53CURRAN$1,307$1,2554%
53NAVAN$1,307$1,2068%
53HAWKESBURY$1,307$1,2395%
53ROCKLAND$1,307$1,2068%
54BOBCAYGEON$1,305$1,351-3%
55CORNWALL$1,289$1,13214%
55MARTINTOWN$1,289$1,13214%
56IROQUOIS$1,276$1,13213%
56KEMPTVILLE$1,276$1,1858%
56PORT HOPE$1,276$1,1759%
56PICTON$1,276$1,1759%
57TRENTON$1,259$1,1757%
57COBOURG$1,259$1,1757%
57PETERBOROUGH$1,259$1,351-7%
57LINDSAY$1,259$1,351-7%
57KINGSTON$1,259$1,13211%
57BELLEVILLE$1,259$1,1757%
57AMHERSTVIEW$1,259$1,13211%
58SUDBURY$1,249$1,258-1%
59CARLETON PLACE$1,232$1,2062%
59GANANOQUE$1,232$1,1329%
59SMITHS FALLS$1,232$1,1854%
59ELIZABETHTOWN$1,232$1,1329%
59PERTH$1,232$1,2062%
59BROCKVILLE$1,232$1,1329%
60BARRIE$1,225$1,582-23%
61SAULT STE. MARIE$1,185$1,398-15%
62PEMBROKE$1,175$1,206-3%
62NAPANEE$1,175$1,1750%
62PETAWAWA$1,175$1,206-3%
62ARNPRIOR$1,175$1,206-3%
62RENFREW$1,175$1,206-3%
62BARRYS BAY$1,175$1,253-6%
63ALLISTON$1,152$1,636-30%
64ORONO$1,047$1,351-23%
64PORT PERRY$1,047$1,351-23%
65CHESLEY$894$1,318-32%
66KAPUSKASING$888$1,306-32%
67KEEWATIN$586$1,283-54%
67DRYDEN$586$1,283-54%
67SUMMER BEAVER$586$1,310-55%
68CLOYNE$546$1,185-54%

What factors will affect my car insurance premium in Ontario?

 

Age

How much you pay for insurance depends a lot on your age. Drivers in their teens and early twenties, males especially, pay the highest car insurance premiums. Prices will begin to decrease by your mid-twenties, and the price gap between men and women usually resolves by age 30. Your rates take another dip in your fifties.

 

The vehicle you drive

Base models tend to fetch lower insurance premiums than cars with luxury trim. This is because basic cars are cheaper to repair and replace. Remember to factor in insurance costs when deciding between make and models.

 

Where you live

The place you call home affects your rates, down to your postal code. Insurance companies group drivers by geographic location and examine claims activity within those boundaries. Your neighbours affect your rate. More claims equal higher rates, while fewer claims equal lower rates.

 

Your driving record

Any conviction under Ontario’s Highway Traffic Act will affect your premiums. Think speeding, driving under the influence, and driving without a license. In Ontario, convictions stay on your insurance record for six years, so protect your driving record.

 

Your insurance history

Your insurance history is important. Traffic convictions have a large impact on your insurance history. Failure to pay your premiums on time — or not at all — will also destroy your credibility with your insurer and lead to a massive increase in your premium. It can also result in the cancellation of your policy, which will make finding cheap insurance with another provider nearly impossible.

Another thing that can trigger cancellation driving for a rideshare app without informing your insurer. All rideshare apps offer commercial insurance to drivers, but you're still obligated to let the provider of your personal policy know about your intention to start a new side hustle.

The coverage options you choose to include in your policy

Certain forms of auto insurance coverage are mandatory in Ontario — liability, accident, uninsured driver, and property damage — but you can choose to enhance your policy with a range of products. Adding them will raise your premium. Optional auto insurance in Ontario includes several products that reimburse you for physical damage to your car by circumstances that are not covered in a standard policy.  Another form of optional insurance includes endorsements, which are special contracts that amend a standard policy. For example, some endorsements will protect your premium from rising after your first at-fault accident, and there are ones that ensure depreciation won't be deducted from a claims settlement.

 

Your policy's deductibles

A deductible is an amount you agree to pay before your insurance company chips in. Insurers will lower your premium if you increase a deductible since you’re demonstrating that you're willing to shoulder a greater portion of the cost.

 

Whether you 'bundle' other insurance products, such as home insurance

Insurance companies will reward you for giving them more business by bundling your home and auto policies.

 

Gender and marital status

In Ontario, insurance companies are allowed to consider your gender and marital status when calculating your premium. Men are viewed as riskier to insure, and their premiums tend to be higher than women's. Nonbinary drivers are offered female rates. Married drivers are perceived as being at lower risk to insure, which might benefit their premium.

 

The company’s own insurance claims history

Insurance companies have to ensure they have enough in their coffers to meet their obligations to policyholders in the present and future. That’s why insurance companies are among the most fiscally conservative businesses in the financial marketplace. If insurers see that claim settlements are outpacing revenue from premiums (the relationship is tracked using a metric known as the ‘combined ratio’), they will increase their customers' rates.

Ontario car insurance quotes by age and gender

The price of car insurance varies by age and gender. The under 30-set pays the most for car insurance, and young male drivers are penalized more harshly than female drivers of the same age. Premiums start dropping for men and women at age 25; by age 30, gender is even less of a concern with insurers.

To illustrate, we found the average premium for men and women in Ontario that used InsuranceHotline.com during the first six months of 2023. Rates declined each decade for drivers.

AgeMale average premiumFemale average premium
Below 20$6,344.54$4,598.64
20 to 29$4,724.41$3,907.81
30 to 39$3,555.48$3,248.37
40 to 49$2,906.67$2,859.61
50 to 59$2,169.97$2,123.76
60 or above$1,449.65$1,323.22

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The cheapest car insurance quotes unlocked by real Ontario drivers

Here are some recent examples of savings found by real Ontario drivers from across the province using InsuranceHotline.com.

Cheapest Quote: $939

Driver: 46, Female

From: Newmarket, Ontario

Driving: 2023 Toyota RAV4

Cheapest Quote: $561

Driver: 50, Male

From: Toronto, Ontario

Driving: 2002 Hyundai Sonata

Cheapest Quote: $680

Driver: 45, Male

From: Mississauga, Ontario

Driving: 2006 Cadillac CTS

Cheapest Quote: $1,137

Driver: 39, Female

From: Markham, Ontario

Driving: 2018 CR-V

Cheapest Quote: $255

Driver: 48, Male

From: North York

Driving: 2016 Volkswagen Golf

Cheapest Quote: $273

Driver: 48 Female

From: Oshawa

Driving: 2019 Toyota Sienna

Cheapest car insurance companies in Ontario

Since car insurance premiums are based on many different variables (like a person’s age, driving experience, gender, and car type, to name a few), insurers can’t provide policies for a flat rate.

Not only does risk vary by person, but insurance companies also weigh it differently. Some insurance companies are more willing to take on some types of customers, while others are not; your provider’s preference will be reflected in your premium.

Insurance companies provide cheaper rates to preferred clientele.

To illustrate the difference between insurance companies, we’ve pulled real quotes from real InsuranceHotline.com users. For this example, we’ve selected quotes for 25-year-old male drivers from Toronto with clean driving records. The premiums offered to them differ by company and because their cars are different.

The best way to ensure you’re finding the lowest car insurance premium possible is to compare quotes from several different insurance companies.

Company ACompany BCompany C
2003 Subaru Forester 2.5 X Wagon AWD2001 Honda Civic X 4DR2001 Lexus IS300 4 DR
Cheapest quote: $2,116Cheapest quote: $2,118Cheapest quote: $2,128

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How to get the cheapest car insurance in Ontario

Saving on car insurance is easier than you think. These tips help ensure you’re getting the cheapest Ontario car insurance rate.

 

Shop around

Get quotes from as many car insurance companies as possible. InsuranceHotline.com compares quotes from 50+ insurers. Users in Ontario save an average of $653* on car insurance.

Bundle insurance policies

You can usually save 15% when purchasing your home and car insurance as a bundle from the same provider.

Get a multi-vehicle policy

If you have multiple cars in your family, you can save up to 20% by insuring them with the same company and policy.

Use winter tires

Putting winter tires on between Nov 1 and Apr 1 will earn you a winter tire discount of about 5% with most insurers.

Use a telematics device

Allow your insurer to monitor your driving habits and they will reward you with a reduced rate, sometimes as much as 25% off at renewal.

Research discounts

Don’t be afraid to ask about discounts you might be eligible for, including alumni and claims-free savings.

Take driving classes

Are you a new driver, or is your child almost ready to take the wheel? Consider an accredited driver’s education course to save on Ontario car insurance.

Increase deductibles

If it fits your budget, increase your deductibles from $500 to $1,000 to save 5 to 10% on your Ontario car insurance.

Make a lump sum payment

A single annual payment can help the insurance company reduce the administrative fees associated with charging and processing monthly payments.

Average Ontario car insurance premium (2008-2023)

YearAverage Ontario car insurance premium
2023$1,744
2022$1,555
2020$1,655
2019$1,634
2018$1,505
2017$1,445
2016$1,432
2015$1,455
2014$1,486
2013$1,540
2012$1,549
2011$1,532
2010$1,481
2009$1,374
2008$1,314

Source: Financial Services Regulatory Authority of Ontario, RATESDOTCA Insuramap (2022 and 2023 figures)

Ontario car insurance rates are on the rebound after seven consecutive quarters of little to no change. Rates were stable during 2020 and 2021, as pandemic conditions significantly altered our collective driving habits. There were fewer collisions, drivers decreased their coverage, and insurance companies issued base rate reductions, pandemic discounts, and rebates.

The reversal began in the spring of 2022 and took hold in 2023. Due to how Ontario’s auto insurance system works, insurance prices are still catching up with record inflation. Providers file a request to change rates and wait for regulatory approval. Then, there's usually a lag between when a new rate is approved and when they start applying it to customers. Because of this, insurance rates would be considered a 'lagging' economic indicator.

If your car insurance policy is renewing soon and you're concerned about rising prices, shopping around and comparing quotes from multiple insurance companies is recommended by Ontario’s regulator of car insurance prices, the Financial Services Regulatory Authority of Ontario (FSRA), as well as the Financial Consumer Agency of Canada (FCAC), the federal government's consumer watchdog.

Ontario car insurance rate changes (2014-2023)

Throughout the year, insurers can apply to have their rates increased or decreased. The Financial Services Regulatory Authority of Ontario (FSRA) oversees insurance in the province and approves or denies these requests. Ontario car insurance rates change frequently, and claims activity is usually the catalyst. Premiums will typically follow when claim costs go up (or down). There are other factors, too, like introducing new discounts (like Ontario’s winter tire discount) or when benefit coverages or options change, to name just a few examples.

FSRA can also order auto insurance companies in Ontario to apply to adjust their rates, such as in the event of auto reform. FSRA states that proposed rate changes must be just, reasonable, not excessive, and "not going to impair a company's financial solvency." Changes in rates are posted within days of approval, and while sometimes only a small number of insurers change their rate, other times many do.

The table below, featuring FSRA's approved quarterly changes*, shows how often rates change and highlights why comparing car insurance rates is imperative for saving money on your Ontario auto insurance.

QuarterOverall rate change %**Largest decrease %Largest increase %
Q2 20231.80-10.4915.00
Q1 20230.79-0.8012.60
Q4 20221.01-1.8010.37
Q3 20220.53-2.195.00
Q2 20220.50-0.6712.08
Q1 2022-0.27-0.764.00
Q4 2021-0.25-7.464.73
Q3 20210.02-4.950.96
Q2 2021-0.01-0.110.00
Q1 2021-0.10-4.964.99
Q4 2020-0.17-2.151.96
Q3 20200-0.085.00
Q2 20201.29-0.246.31
Q1 20200.88011.05
Q4 20191.56011.05
Q3 20192.60-0.2015.47
Q2 20191.99-1.2020.04
Q1 20192.7-0.0311.4
Q4 20183.35034.87
Q3 20182.06011.6
Q2 20181.1-0.698.15
Q1 20182.23-1.269.96
Q4 20171.03-12.679.43
Q3 2017-0.1-8.95.9
Q2 20170.76-1.078.97
Q1 20171.24-3.337.08
Q4 2016-0.14-3.13n/a
Q3 20161.5-5.3712.03
Q2 20160.33-6.833.7
Q1 2016-3.07-25.518.99
Q4 2015-0.15-8.4311.86
Q3 2015-0.5-4.133.79
Q2 20150.6-2.815.68
Q1 2015-0.95-7.252.99
Q4 2014-0.54-6.440.38
Q3 2014-0.11-4.885.13
Q2 20140.22-1.264.19
Q1 2014-1.01-13.62.27

Ontario car insurance frequently asked questions (FAQs)

How does no fault insurance work in Ontario? 

Ontario is a no-fault insurance province, and while this might sound like it means no one will be found at fault in the event of a collision, it means something altogether different. 

What no-fault actually means is if you are injured in an accident, or your vehicle is damaged, then you deal with your own insurance company when making a claim. By going through your own insurer, you get the financial help you need right away—whether it's for injuries you sustained or for fixing your damaged vehicle—instead of waiting for your insurer and the other drivers' insurers to decide who was to blame for the incident before paying out benefits. 

For more information, please review our guide on The Truth About No-Fault Insurance.

How do you prove you have auto insurance in Ontario?

By law, you must carry proof of auto insurance with you when you’re driving, even if you’re not the owner of the car.

Proof of insurance must be stored in the car at all times. If you’re lending someone your car, you must make sure they know the location of the certificate or transfer a digital copy to them.

The fines for not being able to show insurance when stopped by police ranges from $50 to $500 plus surcharges.

A charge of failing to surrender insurance is a separate offence from not having insurance in the first place, or falsifying insurance (the penalty for those ranges from $5,000 to $50,000, plus having your licence suspended and car impounded).

The following forms of proof are acceptable, according to the Financial Services Regulatory Authority of Ontario (FSRA):

  • Physical certificate (sometimes called a ‘pink slip’)
  • Digital certificate (can be stored on your smart phone)
  • An insurance binder (a document that acts as temporary proof of insurance)

How do you file an auto insurance claim in Ontario?

If you are involved in an accident resulting in injury or damage, you must report it to a police collision reporting centre within 24 hours and within seven days to your insurance company to file an auto insurance claim, no matter who is at fault.

Failure to do so could result in your insurance company not honouring your claim.

Next, an insurance claims adjuster will be assigned to your case to determine fault. In the insurance world, someone is always partially or fully at fault. This is so insurance companies can determine who pays what damages and that the at-fault driver's premiums are reflected accordingly.

Once fault is determined, payouts will be processed. If you are at fault, your rates may increase upon renewal. If you disagree with the outcome of an insurance investigation, you can contact the claims manager or the insurance company's ombudsperson to help you resolve the issue.

Why is Ontario car insurance expensive?

Ontario roads have more cars.

One of the driving factors is that there are simply more cars in Ontario. There were close to 13 million vehicles registered in Ontario in 2019, compared to five million in Alberta and four million in B.C.

It’s simple math: the more cars on the road, the more claims insurers must settle.

And since insurance is a form of pooled risk, other people’s driving behaviour will impact your insurance premium.

Ontario has a hybrid auto insurance system.

Another contributor is Ontario’s auto insurance system. Ontario has a limited no-fault system, which means that drivers can access rich benefits from their insurance provider while also retaining the right to sue for damages in addition to their claims settlement.

In Ontario, drivers will get their liability and medical expenses covered by their own insurance company. Their own insurer will also directly compensate them to get repairs or to replace a car that was damaged by an accident the policyholder was not at fault for.

In pure no-fault systems, drivers get these benefits but do not have the right to sue for additional damages.

In Ontario, you can sue for pain and suffering and economic losses.

Lawsuits raise the cost of claims, which then forces the insurers to raise auto insurance rates

There's a lot of auto insurance fraud.

Another culprit is fraud. Ontario is known as the capital of auto insurance fraud in Canada, and 80% of fraud in the province occurs in the Greater Toronto Area. The prevalence of insurance fraud drives up claims costs and increases premiums for all drivers. Insurance fraud includes everything from exaggerating the extent of damages, and faking collisions, to overbilling on services performed in the event of a claim. It comes from a wide cross-section of contributors, which makes it a complex issue for the province to deal with.

Climate change is taking its toll.

Climate change is also influencing Ontario car insurance rates. Though Ontario doesn’t have severe weather as frequently as Atlantic and Western Canada, two summer storms in 2021 resulted in a combined $205 million in damage. Severe weather also increases the number of claims, which in turn affects everyone’s premiums.

What are the 13 largest auto insurance companies in Ontario?

More than 100 insurance companies operate in Ontario, according to the Insurance Bureau of Canada. However, most car insurance brands you recognize are owned by parent companies ("insurer groups").

When looking at market share (a business metric that measures a company's sales to the total sales within a particular industry), 84% of car insurance sales can be traced to 13 parent companies. The top 10 make up 79% of all sales.

The 13 largest auto insurer groups in Ontario

1) Intact Insurance - Intact’s market share in Ontario was 17.5% in Ontario.

2) Desjardins - In 2021, Desjardins had a market share of 15.7% in Ontario.

3) TD Insurance - In 2021, TD Insurance's share of the Ontario auto insurance market was 10.4%.

4) Aviva - In 2021, Aviva's market share in Ontario was 8.6%.

5) Allstate - In 2021, Allstate had a market share of 8.6% in Ontario.

6) Co-operators - In 2021, The Co-operators had a market share of 7.8% in Ontario.

7) Definity Group - In 2021, Definity Group controlled 7.8% of the Ontario auto insurance market.

8) CAA - In 2021, CAA controlled 4.4% of the Ontario auto insurance market.

9) Travelers - In 2021, Travelers controlled 3% of the Ontario auto insurance market.

10) Wawanesa - In 2021, Wawanesa controlled 3% of the Ontario auto insurance market.

11) RSA Canada - In 2021, RSA Canada controlled 2.3% of the Ontario auto insurance market.

12) Gore Mutual - In 2021, Gore Mutual controlled 1.6% of the Ontario auto insurance market. It does not own any other brands.

13) Northbridge Insurance - In 2021, Northbridge Insurance controlled 1.5% of the Ontario auto insurance market.

*Shoppers in Ontario who obtained a quote on InsuranceHotline.com from January to December 2023 saved an average of $653 per year. The average savings represents the difference between the shoppers’ average lowest quoted premium and the average of the second and third-lowest quoted premiums generated by InsuranceHotline.com.

** According to the 2023 RATESDOTCA Auto Insuramap

About the Author - Alexandra Bosanac

Alexandra Bosanac, Content Manager

Alexandra Bosanac, content manager at InsuranceHotline.com, focuses on auto insurance. She began reporting on this topic in 2017. Alexandra holds a bachelor’s degree in journalism from Toronto Metropolitan University. Prior to joining InsuranceHotline.com in 2021, she contributed to publications such as Canadian Business, the Toronto Star, the National Post, and the CBC.

 

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