During the pandemic, many Torontonians have taken advantage of remote working arrangements, and decided to leave the city. If you do the same, you could save up to 37% on your home and auto insurance premiums.
The pandemic has led to an unprecedented spike in the number of people working from home. In January of 2021, more than 30% of Canadian employees were working primarily at home, and many have no intention of ever going back to the old status quo. That has created the perfect conditions for many Torontonians to leave the city for the slower pace and lower costs that can be found far away from the skyscrapers and stop-and-go traffic.
Admittedly, the largest savings that can be realized are related to housing (mortgage or rent), but it’s always good to have as much data as possible when you’re weighing your options. So we took the time to crunch some insurance numbers for you. Here’s what we found.
- Savings on home insurance are not significant when you move away from the big city. Maximum savings of 15% (Peterborough), and four of the eight communities we got quotes in actually pay more than Toronto (18% more in Clarington).
- Savings on auto insurance tend to grow the further you get from the city – as much as 43% in Peterborough.
- You can save 36-37% on your total premiums by moving to Peterborough.
- If you don’t want to move too far, you can save 24% on your total premiums by living in Guelph, and still be within 100 km of a Blue Jays game.
- If you’re moving to Clarington, don’t do it for the insurance savings. You’re going over 100 km away for a total premium savings of just 8-11%.
- The percentage savings seem to be fairly consistent regardless of whether you have a clean insurance record or not, but the worse your record, the more you’ll save in actual dollars.
Where will you save at least 25% on housing?
There was a time when moving away from Toronto could’ve meant relocating to relatively nearby bedroom communities like Markham, Pickering or Burlington. The reality of today’s GTA real estate market is that to live the dream of getting a bigger house, with a larger property, and still pay significantly less than you’re currently paying in Toronto for housing, you have to move somewhat further, especially if you want to go west.
We chose eight communities between 60 and 140 km from Toronto where the average home price is low enough, compared to Toronto ($1,025,925), to make a significant difference in the lifestyle you can enjoy there.
|City/Town||Population1||Avg Home Price2||Distance from Toronto|
|Oshawa||159,458||$625, 692||60 km|
|Barrie||141,434||$604, 475||110 km|
|St. Catharines||133,113||$478,600||112 km|
So how much is insurance “out there”?
After we chose the communities, we ran home and auto insurance quotes for a fictional 38-year-old female, first in Toronto, and then in each of the “bedroom communities”. Note that the most common scenario when someone moves away from the city is that they will get a bigger, newer house than they had in the city. For the purposes of a fair comparison however, we chose to compare rates for properties that are of the same size, age and construction.
|City/Town||Home premium3||Auto premium||Total premium||Savings|
|St. Catharines (L2N)||$458||$1,123||$1,581||30%|
But what if you’re male? What if you’re older? What if you have tickets?
We all know that males under 30 pay more for auto insurance than a female with the same driving profile. So just to be sure that the above comparisons reflect the reality of moving away from the city for all Ontarians, we ran all the same quotes as above for a 50-year-old divorced male. And just for fun, we gave him a few speeding tickets and a recent home insurance claim.
|City/Town||Home premium||Increase due to recent claim||Auto premium – Clean record||Auto premium with tickets||Increase due to recent tickets||Total premium||Savings|
|St. Catharines (L2N)||$563||23%||$971||$1,187||22%||$1,750||29%|
A few notes about Martin:
- At age 38, Martin would pay 2-4% more for auto insurance than Sherice if they both had clean driving records, because he’s male. By age 50, men and women pay the same.
- Martin would pay 11-14% less in auto premiums than Sherice by virtue of his age (no tickets).
- Home premiums would have been the exact same for Martin and Sherice, regardless of gender, age and marital status.
- Because of Martin’s 2019 home insurance claim, his home premiums are between 17% and 24% higher than Sherice.
- Likewise, Martin pays between 21% and 24% more for auto insurance because of recent tickets on his record.
- In the final analysis, having blemishes on your record doesn’t seem to affect how much you can save on premiums when you leave the city.
- For some reason, Clarington residents don’t seem to get their share of savings, given how far they are from the city.
Should you move for the insurance savings?
Obviously the difference in insurance premiums will never be the primary driver for leaving Toronto. Unless you have a really bad record of claims, tickets, etc., moving away won’t save you more than $1,000 a year. That said, if you’re already thinking about leaving the city for other reasons, saving a few bucks on premiums might just push you over the edge.
At M&W, we love our Toronto customers, but we understand that the city is not for everyone. If you’re thinking about a move and want to know exactly how that will affect your insurance, give us a shout today.
3 All quotes assume the home is within 150 metres of a fire hydrant, and within 5 km of a fire station. If you move to a rural area, and your home is far away from any fire hydrant or fire station, that could add 50% or more to your home insurance premiums.
Special thanks to Alex Hillhouse, Insurance broker and team leader at M&W.