Auto insurance rates are down by an average of just under seven per cent in Ontario, much less than the 15 per cent reduction promised by Finance Minister Charles Sousa two years ago.
The latest figures from the Financial Services Commission of Ontario, released Thursday, show rates fell half a point in the quarter ended Sept. 30, to 6.96 per cent for the province’s 9.4 million drivers.
Sousa took credit for the drop, saying reforms to benefits, anti-fraud measures and mandatory discounts for motorists with winter tires have helped cut costs for drivers.
But he acknowledged “there is more work to be done.”
Critics said that line is wearing thin given that the Liberals pledged the 15 per cent cut to win NDP support of their 2013 budget during the minority government years.
As the story points out, this latest piece of news isn’t exactly “new.” We see the same type of story every six months or so. That is, the 2013 promise of a 15% reduction in car insurance premiums for Ontario drivers still hasn’t happened.
Celebration of rate reductions seems premature, anyway. Check out the fine print at the bottom of the article: “The third-quarter drop of 0.5 per cent compares with an average increase of 0.6 per cent in the second quarter.” So it went up before it went down, making the past six months a wash.
Whatever happens with these slight rate fluctuations, rest assured that your benefits are decreasing. This is from a post I wrote a month back:
Starting on June 1, 2016, standard medical, rehabilitation and attendant care benefits will have a maximum combined limit of $65,000 for non-catastrophic cases. After that money is spent, you are on your own. Since September 2010, that limit has been $86,000. Before that it was $172,000.
While the cost of health care keeps rising and rising, the money available for your benefits keeps dropping and dropping. Further, as of June 2016, the coverage period will be cut in half from the current 10 years to a mere 5 years.
Perhaps it’s worth phoning your MPP and asking when your 15% premium reductions will kick in to offset all of the benefits you’ll be missing next year.