Insurance companies cutting rates for some drivers but not everyone qualifies
TORONTO -- With the amount of driving dramatically reduced due to the COVID-19 pandemic, some insurance companies are now offering relief to drivers.
"There is no question people who have their vehicles parked at home pose a lower risk then when they were driving to work," Don Forgeron, President of the Insurance Bureau of Canada, told CTV News Toronto.
Canada’s insurance industry is going to reward some drivers with breaks on their premiums or deferred payments to help provide financial relief for the duration of the pandemic.
The bureau represents more than 90 per cent of insurance companies across Canada. It said measures announced on Wednesday could help save drivers $600 million over the next three months.
There will be insurance relief for those who have been laid off or experienced job loss, for the sick or elderly, for those with reduced kilometers traveled and for people working from home.
Many drivers have already reached out to their insurance companies asking for help.
"We know that thousands and thousands of Canadians have already called their insurance companies and made requests to defer payments or make other arrangements," Forgeron said.
Drivers may be able to get refunds on premiums, payment deferrals, premium adjustments, the waiving of missed payment fees or extended existing coverage.
FAIR is a group that advocates for insurance reforms for accident victims and other insurance issues. Rhonda Desroches, a spokesperson for FAIR, said insurance companies could do more to help their customers, adding "Insurers already have a reputation for overcharging Ontario drivers."
Some insurance companies have extended savings to all their clients whether or not they have experienced financial hardship due to COVID-19.
Allstate Canada announced it will spend $30 million on rebates for its customers with stay-at-home payments. Every client will receive a one-time payment of 25 per cent of their monthly auto premium.
Allstate customers don't need to apply for the rebate and they should receive a cheque in mid-May.
Desroches said other companies could provide similar relief at a time when many people aren't driving.
"When we are looking at the traffic cameras across the province, there is very little traffic out there, so I think we need to adjust the premiums accordingly," Desroches said.
There are about 195 different insurance providers in Canada. To see if you're eligible for a break on your insurance, call your insurance company, as savings will vary depending on your situation.