If you've ever lived in more than one Canadian province, you may notice that price differentials for products and services become apparent. When it comes to insurance, the number and volume of paid claims need to be taken into account to get a snapshot of the cost variance for car insurance quotes. Among the 10 provinces, insurance rates vary considerably, with Quebec holding the lowest average premium and British Columbia (B.C.) registering the highest figure.

One of the major drivers (pun intended) of auto insurance premiums springs from whether provincial insurance programmes are sponsored by a government agency or promoted by a private entity. In general, insurance premiums subjected to market forces gravitate toward the lower end of the price range. With multiple for-profit insurers putting competitive pressure on the cost of liability, collision, and comprehensive premiums, operational efficiencies and corporate accountability drive down dollar amounts passed to consumers.

The private-is-cheaper phenomenon doesn't take shape in every case. Car insurance rates in Ontario, which offers residents a choice of several non-public insurers, sit directly behind B.C.'s rates as the second-most expensive in the country. The IBC unveiled a snapshot of the average annual premium costs for each of the 10 provinces in 2017:

  • British Columbia: $1,680
  • Ontario: $1,445
  • Alberta: $1,251
  • Newfoundland and Labrador: $1,132
  • Manitoba: $1,080
  • Saskatchewan: $936
  • Nova Scotia: $842
  • New Brunswick: $819
  • Prince Edward Island: $796
  • Quebec: $661

Why Ontario Drivers Pay More

You don't have to dig deep to find the cause of elevated car insurance rates in Ontario. Much of the increase is attributed to fatalities resulting from collisions, which numbered 343 in 2017, a marked increase from the 307 traffic-related deaths in 2016, according to Ontario Provincial Police. Collision claims between 2008 and 2018 increased more than 30% in frequency in that 10-year time frame.

The three communities in the province with the highest number of collision claims per 100 hundred vehicles are as follows:

  • Brampton: 7.1%
  • Scarborough: 7.1%
  • North York: 7.1%

On the other side of the equation, per that same statistic, here are the three safest places to drive in Ontario in the 10-year period ending in 2018:

  • Hammer: 3.8 accidents per 100 vehicles
  • Brockville: 3.9 accidents per 100 vehicles
  • La Salle: 4 accidents per 100 vehicles

Ontario officials see the cause of accidents as much more than just road conditions and/or fluke situations. Many of the fatal crashes involved distracted driving and other preventable causes, with Highway 401 seeing a marked rise in transport truck accidents. Four accidents associated with commercial vehicles on that road accounted for 10 deaths alone — and numerous injuries in addition.

The Wrap

Regardless of your geographic location, finding the best possible coverage for the most reasonable price always remains a primary objective. Many other variables determine auto insurance premiums, with driver experience and blemish-free driving records helping the cause. Rates.ca offers free quotes from over 30 different insurance providers spanning the entire nation.


The RATESDOTCA editorial team are experienced writers focused on sharing stories and bringing you the latest news in insurance and personal finance. Our goal is to provide Canadians with the information and resources they need to make better insurance and financial decisions.

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