News & Resources

Ontario Residents in Small Cities Pay More Than Double for Insurance Than Homeowners Near Toronto

Sept. 27, 2021
7 mins
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Ontarians living near Toronto have the lowest home insurance premiums in the province while those in the Northern and Southern regions are paying the most.

These are the core findings from the RATESDOTCA interactive map tool, Home Insuramap, which generates estimated annual home, condo and tenant insurance premiums for each postal code zone in Ontario.

By identifying premiums based on location, the tool underlines the particular and great need that homeowners in Northern and Southern Ontario have for effective ways to bring down their home insurance costs.

Which Ontario cites have the highest and lowest premiums for home insurance?

Home Insuramap makes clear that while residents in the Greater Toronto Area have the lowest premiums in the province those in smaller cities are paying the most.

Premiums for cities throughout the Windsor region are especially high as are those in North Western parts of the province such as North Bay, Sudbury, Timmins and east toward Sault Ste. Marie as well as Thunder Bay, Ont.

Highlights:

  • Cities in the Windsor area occupy the entire first half of the list for the Top 20 cities with the most expensive home insurance in Ontario.
  • Homes in Lasalle, a city near Windsor with a population of about 30,000, have an estimated annual premium of $2,098 – the most expensive in the province and more than double what residents are paying in the Ontario city with the lowest home insurance premiums.
  • Residents of Woodbridge, a suburb outside Toronto, have estimated premiums of $953 – the least expensive in Ontario.
  • In aggregate, Northern Ontario cities occupy half of the Top 20 list. This means that residents in Thunder Bay, several cities around Timmins and Sudbury as well as North Bay, Kenora, Sault Ste. Marie and Elliott Lake are paying up to $1,857 each year to protect their homes.
  • Finally, while 156 cities in Ontario have premiums ranging from $950-$1,500, residents in 60 cities are paying $1,500-$2,000 – which is high compared to the provincial average: $1,342.

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Top 20 Most Expensive Ontario Cities For Home Insurance

 

City 

Closest urban area 

Estimated Premium ($) 

1 

Lasalle 

Windsor (Essex) 

2,098 

2 

Windsor 

Windsor 

2,072 

3 

Kingsville 

Windsor (Essex) 

1,889 

4 

Amherstburg 

Windsor (Essex) 

1,864 

5 

Thunder Bay 

Thunder Bay 

1,857 

6 

Timmins 

Timmins 

1,821 

7 

Lively (Walden) 

Sudbury 

1,761 

8 

Essex 

Windsor (Essex) 

1,760 

9 

Garson 

Sudbury  

1,747 

10 

Elliot Lake 

Sudbury 

1,747 

11 

Kenora 

Kenora 

1,736 

12 

Sudbury 

Sudbury 

1,729 

13 

Keewatin 

Kenora  

1,715 

14 

Stoney Creek 

Hamilton  

1,618 

15 

Sault Ste. Marie 

Sault Ste. Marie 

1,617 

16 

Sturgeon Falls 

North Bay  

1,616 

17 

Dundas 

Hamilton 

1,567 

18 

Innisfil 

Barrie 

1,553 

19 

Welland 

St. Catharines 

1,553 

20 

Leamington 

Windsor (Essex) 

1,553 

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Top 20 Least Expensive Ontario Cities For Home Insurance

 

City 

Location 

Estimated Premium ($) 

1 

Woodbridge 

GTA 

953 

2 

Stratford 

KW 

979 

3 

Richmond Hill 

GTA 

982 

4 

Oakville 

GTA 

1,011 

5 

Aurora 

GTA 

1,015 

6 

Holland Landing 

GTA (York) 

1,020 

7 

Simcoe 

KW 

1,022 

8 

Milton 

GTA 

1,024 

9 

Ajax 

GTA 

1,027 

10 

Kleinburg 

GTA (Vaughan) 

1,031 

11 

Cambridge 

KW 

1,032 

12 

Maple 

GTA (Vaughan) 

1,033 

13 

Courtice 

GTA (Oshawa) 

1,033 

14 

Concord 

GTA (Vaughan) 

1,033 

15 

Fergus 

KW  

1,033 

16 

Schomberg 

GTA 

1,036 

17 

Markham 

GTA 

1,036 

18 

Port Stanley 

London  

1,038 

19 

Whitby 

GTA 

1,048 

20 

Kitchener 

KW 

1,051 

Why the disparity? 

RATESDOTCA managing editor, John Shmuel, suggests that while location is one of the key factors that home insurance carriers consider when determining a premium, a high crime rate and increasing incidents of severe weather also account for why home insurance is more expensive in smaller cities throughout the province.

“Insurance carriers try to gauge what sort of a risk a home and its owner represent. Regardless of location, a home in a neighbourhood with a higher crime rate or one that has often been affected by severe weather represent a higher risk and the premiums will reflect it.

“Unfortunately, crime rates in Ontario are higher in smaller cities and rural regions, while also facing higher risks from climate change, such as forest fires, flooding and tornadoes.”

Property related crimes in Windsor take place at least six times daily; the local police service reported that, in 2018, there was a break and enter or attempted break and enter once every four hours.

Similarly, in 2020, Timmins police responded to 295 break and enters, compared to 218 the year before.

The effects of climate change are also having a direct financial impact on homeowners across the country. The Insurance Bureau of Canada reports that in the last decade, severe weather in Canada has resulted in claims costs of up to $2.1 billion.

In 2021 alone, a hailstorm in Calgary, AB, wildfires in Lutton, B.C. and a recent tornado in Barrie, Ont. will have resulted in claims costs of more than $650 million.

How high crime rates and climate change can drive up home insurance premiums

Insurance companies make money through premiums and investment income.

In a low interest rate environment, when it’s difficult to generate a return on investment, carriers under pressure to cover an increasing volume of payouts – whether from crime or incidents of severe weather – may increase premiums.

Since regulation precludes carriers from easily adjusting car insurance rates, home insurance costs can go up to compensate, as the market doesn’t face the same regulations.

Tips for keeping your home insurance premium low

In addition to location, home insurance carriers look at details about your home as well as you, the policyholder.

They’re trying to figure out how likely you are to make any claim and what sort of risk they’ll be assuming by insuring your property.

To bring down insurance cost, homeowners should consider the following tactics:

  • Compare all available premiums to make sure you're getting the best coverage at the lowest rate. Most online quote tools are free, and fast. They'll offer you rates from dozens and dozens of carriers.
  • Bundle insurance policies. You may be eligible for lower premiums if each is held with one carrier.
  • Establish and maintain a good credit score. In some provinces, carriers can consider credit scores when determining insurance premiums.
  • Get a home inspection to verify the condition of the home when it’s first insured.
  • Increase the deductible.
  • When you pay for a year’s worth of coverage up front, you may be able to save.
  • Install a burglar alarm and other tools to reflect that you’ve taken every possible step you can to protect your home against crime.
  • Be selective in what you claim. Avoid claiming for small things as that impacts claims history. Carriers consider past behaviour to be a likely indication of future behaviour.
  • Mitigate potential risks within a home by installing a carbon monoxide monitor, smoke detector and sprinkler system.
  • Update the home so that it’s as resistant to disaster as possible.

Our constant refrain: Protect your home against flooding

Increasing incidents of flooding throughout Ontario put your home at risk of serious damage and the costs are often significant.

Most home insurance policies need to be updated with additional protection.

While your policy may protect you against some forms of water damage (such as damage from a burst pipe), assume that you don’t have flood protection.

Be aware that insurance companies recognize several different categories of flooding: overland, sewer back-up and tidal.

We recommend that Ontario residents, regardless of neighbourhood, consider purchasing the former two types.

Other tips to keep homes safe from extreme weather:

  • Install a back water valve/sump pump in basements (telling an insurance provider about this could result in a discount).
  • Regularly cleaning gutters/pipes.
  • Adjust downspouts away from homes and onto the street.
  • Clear about five feet of vegetation around a house, which can halve the risk of a home being destroyed by a wildfire
  • Using impact-resistant materials on roofs, especially in a hail zone.
  • Avoid planting coniferous trees, which are more flammable than deciduous trees.
  • Get water flooding coverage included in insurance policies (check with insurance provider since most require this to be purchased separately).

*Only cities with a minimum population of 10,000 were included in this report

About Home Insuramap

RATESDOTCA’s Home Insuramap is an interactive online map which allows Ontario residents to see how their home, condo or tenant insurance rates compare to other parts of their city or province.

The estimated home insurance premiums are based on a 45-year-old homeowner, who has been insured for at least 10 years and lives in a 2,500 sq ft house with brick veneer, wood frame construction, natural gas heat, and a roof that is 10-15 years old.

The estimated condo insurance rates are based on a 1 bedroom plus den, 800-1,000 sq ft condo in a high-rise, fire resistance type building constructed after 2007, with $40,000 worth of contents.

The estimated tenant insurance premiums were based on a 2 bedroom, 1 bath, 1,000 sq ft apartment with $35,000 worth of contents and $1-million liability.

Katie Rook

Katie Rook is a writer based in Toronto, Ont. She has been a full-time reporter at CTV, National Post and Globe and Mail. Her work has also appeared in Dow Jones’ MarketWatch, Toronto Star, Toronto Life, Saint John Telegraph-Journal and VICE. Katie is a graduate of Ryerson and Dalhousie universities

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