Why is Motorcycle Insurance So Expensive in Ontario?

Expensive Ontario motorcycle insurance

The amount you pay for any type of insurance is primarily based on your exposure to risk. This is one of the primary reasons that motorcycle is more expensive than car insurance: higher risk–of injury.

Similarities Between Motorcycle and Car Insurance in Ontario

Whether you ride a motorcycle or drive a car, the regulations regarding your coverage are the same. Both motorcycle and auto policies include minimum coverages that are required by law. Insurance companies don’t have a choice but to include them, and they aren’t legally permitted to offer an insurance policy that doesn’t include these minimum coverages.

In Ontario, as with the rest of Canada, provincial healthcare covers acute injuries due to vehicular accidents. However, recovery typically involves treatment, rehab, and other expenses that go beyond what the Ontario Health Insurance Plan (OHIP) covers, and your insurance company foots the bill for those extra expenses.

In addition to the coverage offered by insurance companies, auto insurers in Ontario also contribute to a tax called a health care levy, to reimburse the government for medical care provided to collision victims.

According to the IBC, “In 2010, Canadian auto insurers paid $274 million in health care levies. From these, $142.3 million (about 51%) came from Ontario.”, which is one reason why auto insurance is so expensive in Ontario, especially in the GTA.

Where the Similarities End

Motorcyclists face much more bodily risk than other motorists on the road, due mostly to a lack of physical protection at high speeds. This isn’t news. What is new are some numbers from a 2017 study done by researchers at the University of Toronto, Sunnybrook Health Sciences Centre, and the Institute for Clinical Evaluative Science.

The study, published in the Canadian Medical Association Journal. shows that Ontario motorcyclists, when compared with automobile drivers in the province:

  • Are 3 times more likely to be injured in a collision
  • Are 10 times more likely to suffer serious injuries in those collisions
  • Are 5 times more likely to die from an accident
  • Cost Ontario’s healthcare system 6 times as much due to accidents

So Where Does the Extra Cost of Motorcycle Insurance Go?

If motorcyclists are exposed to an increased risk of serious injury, it makes sense that the premiums would be higher to reflect increased potential expenses. But what are these expenses?

Accident Benefits

In Ontario, Accident Benefits coverage is mandatory, included with every motorcycle insurance policy, just as it is with auto insurance.Medical and rehabilitation benefits

Medical, Rehabilitation and Attendant Care Benefits

Statutory accident benefits include Medical, Rehabilitation and Attendant Care, for expenses that aren’t covered by the OHIP, with mandatory minimum coverage of $65,000 for non-catastrophic injuries, and $1M for catastrophic injuries.

Extra expenses not covered by OHIP can add up, such as for physiotherapy, prescription drugs, chiropractic care, counseling, and transportation to medical appointments.

Income Replacement

Also included with Accident Benefits in Ontario is Income Replacement.Income Replacement

Income replacement at the basic amount can be $400.00/week, or $20,800/yr. If the injuries are catastrophic and the insured is unable to engage in any occupation after 2 years, then the benefits will be extended.

Other Benefits

Included as part of mandatory accident benefits coverage are Caregiver Benefits, Housekeeping and Home Maintenance Expenses, and Death and Funeral Benefits.

With the average Ontario motorcyclist being at a 10 times greater risk of serious injury, the potential for claims is higher, and unfortunately, this can reflect on the premiums you might pay. But this doesn’t have to be the case…

So What Can You Do?

  • Match your bike to your needs: Faster bikes with a lot of horsepower are considered more dangerous, and can fetch higher premiums. Choosing a tamer ride can help tame your insurance costs.
  • Take rider training: There are big insurance discounts for completion of rider training programs. Ask about advanced rider training insurance discounts as well. These programs pay for themselves within a short time and could even save your life one day.
  • Establish a clean riding record: Most insurance companies care primarily about your riding record. Stay ticket free–and more importantly, accident-free.
  • Ask about insurance bundles: Multiline policies can be a great option to help you save on premiums. Ask your broker about discounts for bundling your motorcycle insurance with your home, your car, or better yet, both.
  • Choose a higher deductible: Choosing a higher deductible means lower insurance premiums. Keep in mind that in the event of a claimed accident, you’ll pay more out of pocket.
  • Drop collision coverage: If your motorcycle has a low replacement cost, it may be worth it to opt for liability coverage only, since collision coverage is optional. If you only paid $1,000 for a used motorcycle, the combined cost of collision insurance and the deductible (should you damage your bike) may not be a worthwhile expense.
  • Don’t cancel your policy for the winter: Some companies will offer you continuous insurance discounts, so avoid cancelling your policy after the riding season.
  • Speak with a broker: Always have a broker shop the market for you, as available discounts and rates change regularly.

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Mitchell & Whale is fast becoming known as Ontario’s leading motorcycle insurance broker, with the widest variety of insurers and coverage discounts.



15 Comments

  1. Avatar
    Jesse-Reply
    October 11, 2018 at 10:29 pm

    These reasons for Ontarihole motorcycle rates are pathetic. Its 7 to 22 times more expensive here than anywhere else in the entire continent. What’s so different about Metro Toronthole than other cities and states and provinces to substantiate this insurance rip-off? Nothing. Ontario is just the armpit of this earth. The biggest scam on everything.

    • Mitchell & Whale Team
      December 9, 2018 at 12:15 pm

      Hey Jesse,

      Although I don’t know the actual cost of motorcycle insurance in all the other states and provinces, I’ll have a crack at your question of “What’s so different about Metro Toronhole than other cities states and provinces?”.

      There are two answers:

      Is there anything statistically different in the crash statistics of motorcycles in Ontario regarding frequency or severity? No. Motorcycles crash at the same frequencies as other cities.

      The answer is actually in the generosity of the mandatory product; the insurance policy that everyone must buy. Medical benefits and income replacement, along with other features in the Ontario policy, make it more expensive than other provinces and states. The target loss ratio is actually the same in other provinces. It’s more about target loss ratios here.

  2. Avatar
    Francisco Toro-Reply
    December 2, 2018 at 2:37 pm

    The information above is total nonsense. I can fully insure my motorcycle in California for 1/4 of what I pay in Ontario and ride the whole year in an environment of far heavier traffic. This is a perfect scam for underwriters in Canada. Traffic in Canada is far more tame than in the US so likelihood of a collision is significantly lower.

    The statistics quoted apply to anywhere in the world. There is nothing there that is Ontario-specific that one could say “yeah that makes sense”. Nothing. It’s all smoke and mirrors as usually from insurance companies.

    Additionally the risk is for less than half a year, so more than half the year is risk-free. And cancelling the policy for the time i don’t ride should not be a punishable offence. Blaming Ontario is like blaming the farmer for a bad meal at a restaurant. Nothing to do one with the other. A rip-off is a rip-off no matter how disguised.

    • Mitchell & Whale Team
      December 9, 2018 at 1:07 pm

      Hi Francisco,

      Think of it like a life insurance policy. You can get a $10,000 life insurance policy in California for ¼ of the price of what you might pay in Ontario, like you state, but the only policy available for purchase in Ontario is a $1,000,000 life insurance policy.

      In this example you can see the products and benefits are quite different. Agreed it’s not that Ontario drivers crash more than elsewhere.

      As far as the risk of driving your motorcycle being a factor for only half the year, the insurance companies are fully aware of the riding season. They do expect little to no km in February. To make it more affordable they allow you to finance the premium over 12 months in a level way but the premium is being earned during the four main riding months. You can read more about this in our post on cancelling motorcycle insurance in the winter if you’d like.

      Cheers

  3. Avatar
    Francisco Toro-Reply
    December 2, 2018 at 2:43 pm

    By the way, there is really no “comparison shopping” for motorcycle insurance, since there are only two motorcycle insurance underwriters in all of Canada, so there is no room to negotiate with a near-monopoly.

    Please stop misleading consumers. Insurance in Canada is high because companies have little competition.

    • Mitchell & Whale Team
      December 9, 2018 at 1:24 pm

      You’re right, there is no open market competition, which most in the industry would quite like to see. The upside or downside of not being able to negotiate car or motorcycle rates, which is accurate, is you can’t change the rates per the individual as that is illegal.

      This means it is consistent pricing for each consumer no matter how skilled or knowledgeable you are or aren’t.

  4. Avatar
    GORD-Reply
    December 5, 2018 at 10:54 am

    Amen for all that, socialism countries are all the same. Open up insurance North American wide and see our expenses go down. No, can’t do that, no government control then… Only difference between Canada and Communist countries is govt can’t tell us where to live and work …YET

    • Mitchell & Whale Team
      December 9, 2018 at 12:37 pm

      Fair, competition would drive pricing on insurance products down. But as the average amount of insurance on the road would go down, they would strip out products, meaning less coverage for your buck.

      This would impact OHIP and the court systems as well, as there would be an increase in the number of people having to resort to covering their own medical expenses, and possibly suing others involved in the accident to recover losses.

      • Avatar
        David Goldman-Reply
        December 13, 2018 at 7:19 pm

        Less coverage for your buck? not true again. With Geico I had road side assistance, a great app for the phone!! etc and the price was far less. You guys have all been drinking the coolaid so long you believe it. I wonder if you think the cell phone prices for what you get are a great deal as well since it’s what Rogers, Bell etc tell you. It’s not, just accept it and acknowledge it. It would be far more productive if the insurance companies just told the truth and not tried to make people believe some other story.

        Okay, that’s enough venting for now, I mean I am on hold with TD insurance.

  5. Avatar
    David Goldman-Reply
    December 13, 2018 at 7:06 pm

    I have lived in Brooklyn NY!! a pretty busy place to live. My insurance premiums on the same bike I brought back to Toronto were less than half of what I’m now paying in Canada (Ontario-Toronto) Not only that. I could reduce my coverage for the non-riding season to only fire and theft. Why in the world am I being forced to pay for liability during the winter. ZERO accountability in this country. Companies charge what they want and if the customer doesn’t like it they are told “Sorry, there is nothing I can do, you can try another place”

    I could not agree with Francisco Toro more!

  6. Avatar
    Ed Houle-Reply
    February 22, 2019 at 6:44 pm

    there was a time you could cancel your coverage during the non riding season , i use to do this with my snowmobiles in the spring time back in the 70s but the insurance companys put a stop to all that . i lived in northern california for 5 years and had insurance on my honda cb750 with full coverage by geigo insurance for 300 dollars when i moved back to ontario i brought my bike with me, the same insurance coverage was 700 dollars , that was 20years ago i still have the bike today and now only ride the bike around the block a few times a season with only liebility on it and the insurance company still charges me 500.00 dollars a year for the old girl

  7. Avatar
    Rick-Reply
    February 26, 2019 at 11:15 am

    The root of the problem is the complete lack of competition. I agree with all the comments made prior to mine. It’s all smoke and mirrors. As others have stated, Ontario traffic is very tame compared to the US. As such, it’s just natural to assume that accident rates are much lower here that in the US; therefore health care costs should be lower. Simple equation, less bikes on our roads than the US, less traffic, shorter riding season, therefore less accidents = less health care costs. I live in Ottawa, I ride a 2009 HD Heritage Softail and I’m paying over $1000/year, with no fire and theft, just $1M liability. I’m 51, never made 1 claim in my entire life (knock on wood), been riding since before I walked, bike is always garaged, at home and at work. I’ve been with the same insurance company for a decade. I ride no more than 3-4000 km per year. I consider this legalized robbery allowed by the Government. There is absolutely no reason for my premium to be so high. Same goes for cable, cell phone plans, internet and air travel within Canada. Lack of competition thanks to all the lobbyists requesting/demanding that the Gov’t keep things the way they are. Does not sound very democratic…

  8. Avatar
    Don-Reply
    April 27, 2019 at 9:25 pm

    I have decided to get into riding. At 38. After looking for Insurance, I’ve now decided to sell the bike I bought. I’ve been driving for over 25 years. With the same company for over 15. No claims no infractions. Yes just got my m1 licence. Regardless this was a move to cut costs with gas etc etc. I now see why legendary companies like Harley Davidson are closing their doors. I’m just gonna drive without being raped by insurance companies if I get caught chances are the fines will be less than the insurance anyways. That’s what drives up rates. I feel like smashing 1 of my 4 cars into all the others in my own driveway. Making a claim on all 4 then start taking the bus after all 4 cars get paid out. I’m sick of being raped by these companies. Oh yeah I forgot might include the house maybe it will catch fire by the accident in my driveway. With all the insurance money I’ll be paid I’m moving to the US.

  9. Avatar
    Al Brisebois-Reply
    April 28, 2019 at 1:15 pm

    I’m surprised that nobody mentioned that you are forced to hire a lawyer to go after the party at fault when you get taken out and they pocket 1/3 of the claim . It’s all a big scam . Totally corrupt

  10. Avatar
    Rick-Reply
    May 8, 2019 at 6:43 pm

    I have lived in Canada my whole life and IN Ontario as well BUT our insurance is unfairly high for some things.

    My 2004 1600b Kawasaki Mean Streak ran me $414 a year while my 1999 Harley Davidson 1340 cc is $979 a year??

    The Harley costs as much as my pickup apartment and Kawasaki did and then some ..

    There are the brokers that say it is the age of my Harley but if this is the case why do we EVER need to safety them?

    Another it was the type of Motorcycle but all Harleys are significantly over priced for insurance as if the brand of bike is way more important than the 28 years of safe riding I have and 32 years of safe driving (20 years spent as a tractor trailer driver).

    I am NOW living on disability due to a back injury which means lost wages and health care = zero for the insurance company on my end so there is something VERY wrong with Ontario insurance and maybe my MPP will actually look into my complaint I filed

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