EDGES OF TORONTO: Like poverty, our car insurance rates divide Toronto
Mike Adler writes about how people see life in Toronto differently, depending on where they live. – Metroland
The Kanetix.ca map showing car insurance rates by neighbourhood is something every Torontonian should see.
It looks strikingly like maps showing Toronto’s highest concentrations of poverty.
Angry red the company uses to show highest rates covers North Etobicoke, the Jane Street corridor in North York, the former City of York, Scarborough along Eglinton Avenue and north of Hwy. 401.
It’s white, signifying lowest rates, in places like Rosedale, Lawrence Park, and Bloor West Village.
As my colleague Justin Skinner reported recently, drivers in North Scarborough pay $2,300 on average – $950 more than people in the wealthy core.
That’s driving them “to the poorhouse,” says Jim Karygiannis, a Scarborough-Agincourt councillor who knows some of his constituents are registering vehicles elsewhere to avoid their rates.
David Marshall’s report to the province, released in April, was clear: something’s very wrong, since “Ontario’s roads continue to be among the safest in North America,” but premiums in 2015 were 55 per cent higher than the Canadian average, excluding Ontario.
The Financial Services Commission of Ontario is supposed to make sure the rates are “just and reasonable.” They’re based on the vehicles, where drivers live, driving experience, and their accident and conviction history.
But postal codes – just the first half of postal codes – carry enormous weight, which is unfair.
I benefited a while, while I lived in downtown North York. Then I moved not far very west, into a postal code for Downsview. My rate took a huge jump.
Yes, there’s a plaza at Bathurst and Sheppard where you can watch people maneuver around the parking lot like they were steering shopping carts at Costco.
But are they so much worse than drivers south of the 401, a short walk from where I live, where rates are much lower?
I had a Civic, Canada’s most popular car, so insurance companies punished me for that. They taught me buying a larger, more expensive, car will pay off if you keep it long enough.
Kathleen Wynne’s Liberal government pledged years ago to cut rates by 15 per cent, and hasn’t. They’re supposedly dedicated to reducing income equality.
The map tells a different story.