Ontario Car Insurance in 2021: What’s Happening with Rates?

By Liam Lahey
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With 2020 in the rearview mirror, Ontario drivers may be wondering if average car insurance premiums will rise or fall in the province in 2021.

Considering the COVID-19 pandemic continues to rage in the province, and government-imposed public health lockdowns to help prevent the spread of the virus have resulted in more folks working from home instead of commuting to a workplace, one hopes rates won’t spike dramatically.

In Ontario, every insurance company must have changes to their auto insurance rates approved by the Financial Services Regulatory Authority (FSRA), Ontario’s car insurance regulator. If the rate-filing decisions made by FSRA in the fourth quarter (Q4) of 2020 (from October to December) are any indication, many drivers may get a break from a rate hike in early 2021.

Ontario auto insurance rate-filing decisions in Q4 2020

In Q4 2020, the rate changes FSRA approved show a decrease on average of 0.02% for some drivers. The total average market impact based on approved rates and insurers' market share is -0.64% in Q4 2020. The majority of these rate changes come into effect in 2021.

These changes reflect the average drivers may see upon renewal, with some Ontario drivers seeing a slight increase, and others getting a decrease or no change at all. It all depends on which insurer provides you with coverage.

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Which Ontario auto insurance companies are changing their rates?

In Q4 2020, here are the eight insurers who had a rate change approved by FSRA:

Insurer Market Share % Approved Rate Change % Effective Renewal Date
Belair Insurance (Intact) 14.61% -1.85% January 15, 2021
Commonwell Mutual 0.56% -0.1% March 1, 2021
The Co-operators 7.64% 0.34% February 7, 2021
Gore Mutual 1.48% -4.96% January 1, 2021
Heartland Farm Mutual 0.31% -0.42% January 1, 2021
Intact 14.61% -2.15% December 18, 2020
Portage la Prairie Mutual 0.17% -0.03% February 1, 2021
Wawanesa 3.80% -0.04% May 1, 2021

A brief history of Ontario auto rate changes

The graph below shows the rate decisions made by FSRA (formerly the Financial Services Commission of Ontario) based on its quarterly filings from 2015 to 2019. In 2020, FSRA stopped reporting the approved rate changes by filing dates; therefore, in the future, we will present the regulator’s rate-filing decisions by their effective renewal dates.

COVID-19’s impact on Ontario’s auto insurance rates

The pandemic hasn’t only triggered a change in where and how many of us work, it has hit the province’s economy hard. Many Ontarians have suffered job losses, making it challenging to pay bills on time. To help offset the financial impact of COVID-19, many Ontario drivers were eligible to receive rebates or discounts from their insurers. As of last October, insurers in Ontario offered up to $1 billion in car insurance rate relief measures, according to FSRA.

There are other ways for Ontario drivers seeking additional ways to trim their insurance costs, including having a conversation with your insurance professional about changes you can make to your policy if your driving habits have changed. Regardless, it’s always worthwhile to shop your rate to explore your options and see if you can get the coverage you need at a cheaper price.