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What new auto insurance reforms will mean for Ontarians, if they get introduced

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Ontario has among the highest rates for auto insurance premiums in Canada -- just below Alberta and Nova Scotia -- however, the introduction of an insurance reform in the provincial budget could soon lower prices.

As part of its 2024 provincial budget, Building a Better Ontario, the Ford government announced plans to move forward with auto insurance reforms. Auto insurance reforms will make some mandatory aspects of accidental coverage optional, provide more access to benefits and create a more “modern” system enabling more consumer choice.

This is the government’s second attempt in the last five-years to lower insurance reforms, according to provincial budgets.

In the meantime, rates have been increasing. A report by Ratesdotca suggests that insurance premiums in Ontario have risen about 12 per cent from 2021 to 2023, averaging at about $1,766.

That number has increased to an average cost of $2,299 for Ontarians, according to a 2024 report by hellosafe.

Part of the drive behind auto insurance increases is auto theft. From 2018 to 2022, Ontario experienced a 329 per cent increase in auto theft claims costs following a 50 per cent increase in auto thefts.

More so, in 2023 alone, the province experienced over $1 billion in auto theft claims cost.

WHAT WILL THE REFORMS MEAN FOR ONTARIO DRIVERS

Introducing his budget on Monday, Finance Minister Peter Bethlenfalvy said that insurance reforms could provide more choice and flexibility for drivers, keeping their premiums more affordable.

“We are also moving ahead with insurance reforms with more choice and flexibility for drivers to keep their premiums more affordable,” he said.

Not many details have been worked out by insurers, who still need to look at the new rules and build policies around them.

“What we do know is that the industry absolutely welcomes the introduction, this first step in getting drivers more control and more choice over their insurance,” said the Insurance Bureau of Canada’s Vice-President for Ontario and Atlantic Canada, Amanda Dean.

One way that additional options could provide financial relief for drivers is by allowing them to opt-out of coverage already covered through their work.

Rhona DesRoches, chair of FAIR Association of Victims for Accident Insurance Reform, said that “a lot of people have been paying double for coverage they have at work,” meaning that they don’t get to use the auto insurance they pay for.

She says that the association hopes that drivers will be given the option, as some consumers might not realize what their coverage entails if they are being offered multiple packages.

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