Only a quarter of Canadian drivers say they received relief programs from their insurers during COVID-19, new report

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Half of survey respondents say they are significantly or somewhat financially impacted as result of the pandemic

TORONTO, June 02, 2020 — While restrictions introduced to combat the spread of COVID-19 changed many Canadians’ driving habits and/or their financial situation, only 25 per cent of respondents say they were offered rate relief from their auto insurer compared to 64 per cent who said they were not, according to a new InsuranceHotline.com survey.  

As a result of the pandemic, most automobile insurers offered rebates, premium discounts, payment deferrals or the waiving of non-sufficient fund fees for missing payments. Of drivers who received some form of relief from their insurers, 33 per cent considered the measures helpful, while 64 per cent deemed them negligible.

“Despite insurance companies rolling out COVID-19 rate relief response programs, it appears that the majority of Canadians are either not aware of their options or did not determine what they were eligible for,” says Anne Marie Thomas, insurance expert at InsuranceHotline.com. “When it comes to auto insurance, a significant item on a household budget, it’s important for drivers to understand what their options are to help alleviate financial pressure.”

According to the results, about two in five Canadians said that they will not likely shop around when renewal time rolls around. “Interestingly, with half of Canadians revealing the pandemic has caused financial hardship, a large percentage of drivers have indicated that they will stick with their current insurer when it comes time to renew,” Thomas says. “If drivers want to get the lowest possible premium or want to find out how insurance companies can help them now’s the time to compare and see where you can get a better deal, especially if, for example, your driving habits have changed because you are working from home.”

Thomas offers three key steps drivers should take to learn more about what their auto insurance options:

  • Research to find out what rebates you are eligible for. If drivers are unsure what relief measures their insurer is providing, they can find out with InsuranceHotline.com free-to-use COVID-19 Rebate Calculator.
  • Call Your Insurer or Broker. If you’re having difficulty paying your insurance bill, call your insurance company or broker to inquire about how they may be able to help. Be sure to ask about: o What will happen if you miss a payment? o Will missed payments be held against you and potentially result in a cancellation of your policy? o Can you pay less if you’re not commuting to work? o Should you cancel your policy completely or just remove the driving coverage and keep the theft coverage if you’re not driving at all? o Will you have a difficult time getting insurance in the future if there is a gap in your insurance history?
  • Go Comparison Shopping. Whether you are satisfied with your car insurance provider or not, it never hurts to shop for the lowest rate you can find, especially if your driving patterns have changed during COVID-19.

Among the survey’s other findings:

  • Drivers who were offered some form of premium relief by their insurance company, 36 per cent were from Quebec, 30 per cent from Ontario, 22 per cent from Alberta, 19 per cent from Prairies, 10 per cent from Atlantic Canada and 5 per cent from British Columbia.
  • Half of survey respondents say they are significantly or somewhat financially impacted as result of the pandemic, which reflects Canadian unemployment rate rising 5.2 percentage points in April to 13 per cent according to Statistics Canada, and an estimated 14.35 million Canadians applying for the Canadian Emergency Response Benefit according to the federal government. 
  • Canadians are split as to whether they will be shopping around for another auto insurance company, with 41 per cent saying they are not likely and 39 per cent saying they are likely. Of consumers who say they are not likely to shop around, 37 per cent are drivers under the age of 35 compared to 42 per cent who are older than 35.

To review the survey’s findings, visit InsuranceHotline.com.

About the Survey An online survey of 1,265 Canadians with a car insurance policy was conducted by Leger Marketing on behalf of InsuranceHotline.com from May 15 to May 17, 2020, using Leger’s online panel. The respondents’ ages ranged from 18 to 55+ years old. Only those who have a car insurance policy are reported. The margin of error for this study is +/-2.8 per cent, 19 times out of 20.

About InsuranceHotline.com InsuranceHotline.com is Canada’s one-stop-shop for the best rates on insurance and money products. InsuranceHotline.com publishes rates from 30+ insurance providers so that shoppers can find the best rates for themselves. Use the site to find the best rates for auto, home, travel insurance, mortgages and credit cards. Headquartered in Toronto, InsuranceHotline.com is located at 360 Adelaide Street West, Suite 100, Toronto, Ontario, M5V 1R7.

For more information or to arrange an interview, please contact:

Masha Mikey, Proof Inc. for InsuranceHotline.com [email protected] (416) 969-2664

Cameron Penner, Proof Inc. for InsuranceHotline.com [email protected] (416) 969-2705

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