Many of Canada’s auto insurers are rolling out rebates, payment deferrals, and discounts for consumers who may be struggling to pay their monthly auto insurance premiums due to the COVID-19 lockdown.
With the Canadian economy crippled by the coronavirus pandemic and unemployment on the rise, countless drivers run the risk of missing their monthly insurance payments.
Aware of the gravity of the situation facing their customers, a wave of Canadian auto insurers announced emergency auto rate relief measures in recent days. Their moves follow an Insurance Bureau of Canada (IBC) statement on April 8, which implies drivers may be able to take advantage of $600 million worth of savings insurers are providing over the next three months, depending on which company insures them.
Drivers who are either working from home or not at all and who are driving less may qualify for some form of a reduction on auto insurance either through a refund, rebate, or policy changes to help save money. Some insurers are also offering flexibility for homeowners who may have trouble paying their home insurance premiums as well.
Below is a rundown of how some insurers are providing rate relief measures. For a more complete list, visit the Rates.ca COVID-19 Rebate Calculator. In a couple of clicks, see what auto and home insurance relief measures your insurer may provide. The rebate calculator and its accompanying resources are free to use.
Customers of Aviva who are not driving can reduce their auto insurance premium by up to 75%. For their customers who are still driving during the COVID-19 lockdown, they may receive savings up to 15% on their auto policies. Aviva is also extending its 90-day payment deferment program, which will not charge its customers additional fees, and is waiving any NSF fees for customers who cannot make their payments on time.
Flexible payments, waiving NSF fees due to non-payment, payment deferrals and premium adjustments for consumers are among belairdirect’s rate relief measures.
CAA is offering a 10% rate reduction for all new and existing customers on auto and home insurance policies for a 12-month policy term in Ontario. Drivers can earn additional savings by signing up to the company’s MyPace usage-based auto insurance program. On May 8, the insurer announced a $100 rebate for all Ontario auto policyholders. In February 2021, CAA said its 10% rate reduction it enacted in 2020 for auto and property policyholders will continue. No action is needed by insureds to receive the pandemic-related relief.
Policyholders can apply for The Co-operators’ payment and premium relief options. The insurer offers a reduced driving refund, payment deferrals and extended grace periods, and it is waiving NSF fees for a missed monthly payment. Contact them for more information.
Desjardins General Insurance
Drivers who are only using their vehicles for essential trips to a grocery store or pharmacy may qualify for a refund on auto insurance for the three months of COVID-19 containment. The refund is calculated based on the estimated annual kilometres on your policy.
If you’re working from home during the pandemic, Desjardins home insurance customers may qualify for a temporary increase in coverage affecting home-based business properties to $10,000 at no extra cost.
Echelon is adjusting auto premiums by up to 15% for customers who are driving less and suspending coverage on vehicles that are not in use except comprehensive coverage (protects your vehicle if it is vandalized or stolen) for a premium reduction of up to an 80%. The company is also postponing its planned auto rate increases for the next three to six months. That will result in savings between 12% and 15% on auto policies. Moreover, the company is providing automatic coverage for customers who volunteer to deliver food or supplies (excluding coverage for paid deliveries such as UberEats).
Echelon customers should contact their brokers to request these measures. The company says they will be applied to active auto policies retroactively for March 15, 2020, or the date of the most recent policy change.
Customers of Economical Insurance who are driving less can have their annual kilometres amended and receive, on average, up to 15% off their premium until June 30. This discount will be backdated to April 1 and is only available for existing customers. For home and auto policies that are up for renewal between April 1 and June 30, Economical says it is limiting rate increases on renewals to a maximum of 10%.
The insurer is also providing flexible payment options, payment plan adjustments and deferrals, and waiving NSF fees.
Gore Mutual will introduce a customer care package which includes reducing auto premiums by way of a one-time payment equivalent to 20% of three months of premium, and personal liability and business property coverage up to $5,000 for those working from home on all existing homeowner policies. It is also suspending policy cancellations for non-payment and waiving NSF fees.
iA Financial Group
Quebec-based insurer iA Financial is providing discounts of up to 20% for its auto and home policyholders.
Intact is offering flexible payments on a case-by-case basis and reducing auto premiums for all its customers by 15% for April, May, and June. Moreover, drivers who store their vehicles and are not driving during the lockdown may be eligible for a premium reduction of 75%.
La Capitale Insurance
Customers of La Capitale may qualify for a 20% rebate on auto insurance until the COVID-19 lockdown comes to an end.
L’Unique General Insurance
Quebec’s L’Unique is offering a 20% rebate for auto insurance policyholders during the pandemic confinement period.
Northbridge Insurance is providing premium relief and additional flexibility to help its existing personal lines customers cope with the financial impact of COVID-19. These measures include a 15% auto premium rebate in April, May, and June, the temporary suspension of auto insurance coverage for vehicles that are not in use, payment deferrals on a case-by-case basis, and the extension of coverage on vacant homes from six months to 12. For Canadians who left their vehicles stateside to fly back to Canada because of the crisis, Northbridge will continue to provide coverage for a vehicle that is parked in the U.S.
The insurer established a COVID-19 resource page for its customers to access, which includes an FAQ and other tools.
Onlia is waiving home and auto insurance payments in the month of May for all active policyholders as of March 31 who have made at least one full monthly premium payment.
As one of Allstate Canada’s group of companies, Pafco customers with an active auto policy as of April 8 will receive a one-time Stay-at-Home payment of approximately 25% of their monthly premium by cheque in May. The payment applies to all personal vehicles excluding recreational vehicles such as motorcycles and snowmobiles. Furthermore, the company is extending personal auto coverage for customers who use their vehicles to include making food and medicine deliveries for commercial purposes.
Pafco is also waiving NSF fees as of April 14 and will defer payments for customers who request it.
Pembridge is also one of Allstate Canada’s group of companies. It, too, is offering customers with an active auto policy as of April 8 a one-time Stay-at-Home payment of approximately 25% of their monthly premium by cheque in May. Pembridge is also waiving NSF fees as of April 14 and extending personal auto insurance coverage for customers who use their vehicles to deliver food and medicine for businesses during the crisis.
Pembridge customers are encouraged to contact their brokers for more information on the COVID-19 crisis insurance relief measures available to them.
If you are driving less or not at all, get in touch with RSA Canada to request a reduction to your auto premium. The insurer says payment deferrals for home and auto policyholders are considered on a case-by-case basis. These measures will be in place until June 30.
All SSQ auto policyholders will receive a 20% rebate on their monthly premium for each insured vehicle until the end of the COVID-19 confinement period.
Eligible home and auto consumers can request a 90-day monthly payment deferral on insurance premiums. TD is also offering temporary premium adjustments to reflect changes in driving habits, and the elimination of NSF fees during the pandemic. It is also suspending the cancellation of auto and home policies because of non-payment.
Travelers Canada launched its “Stay-at-Home Auto Premium Credit Program”, which will provide a 25% credit on one month’s premium to its auto insurance customers. It is also suspending auto policy cancellations and non-renewal of coverage until May 15, and waiving NSF fees during this time. Customers are encouraged to contact their broker or the insurer directly to discuss their unique circumstances.
Wawanesa customers should call their brokers to have their auto insurance coverage changed. Doing so can save policyholders up to 75% (or $80) on car insurance each month. The mutual company also says it will not implement previously approved auto rate hikes, and for customers who have claims filed for their vehicles or properties, Wawanesa will extend car rental and additional living expenses on a case-by-case basis.
Additionally, home insurance policyholders who are working from home will get $5,000 of coverage to protect business property they may be using during the pandemic. The insurer may also extend terminations and expiry dates on home insurance policy terms by up to 120 days upon request.
NSF fees for non-payment are waived until May 25, and the company will not cancel any policies for non-payment of insurance premiums for the foreseeable future.
As part of the Northbridge group of companies, Zenith is also offering a range of relief measures for its auto and home insurance customers. These actions include identifying changes to driving behaviour because of the pandemic that may result in a premium reduction, temporarily suspending auto coverage for vehicles that are not in use, and the extension of coverage on vacant homes from six months to 12. For Canadians who left their vehicles stateside to fly back to Canada because of the crisis, Zenith will continue to provide coverage for a vehicle that is parked in the U.S.
Customers may also qualify for a one-month payment deferral. The company is waiving all NSF fees until May 31, 2020. You are encouraged to contact your Zenith insurance specialist at the number provided on your policy documents for more information.
More Can Be Done to Help: IBAC
Meanwhile, the Insurance Brokers Association of Canada (IBAC) praised those insurers that stepped forward with relief measures for their customers. Still, it adds more can be done to assist Canadians during the pandemic and economic downturn.
“Reducing and deferring automobile insurance premiums at a time when many Canadians aren’t driving is the right thing to do, and demonstrates our industry’s commitment to do our part,” said IBAC President Kent Rowe in a statement. “While these initial cost controlling measures will benefit many consumers, we would encourage all insurance companies to consider what more can be done to support Canadians through this crisis.”
If you are concerned about paying your auto or home insurance bill due to the COVID-19 pandemic or are seeking ways to reduce your premium during the lockdown, contact your insurance company or broker to find out how they can assist you.