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?
In Ontario, Accident Benefits coverage is mandatory, included with every motorcycle insurance policy, just as it is with auto insurance.
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.
Also included with Accident Benefits in Ontario is 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.
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.
Mitchell & Whale is fast becoming known as Ontario’s leading motorcycle insurance broker, with the widest variety of insurers and coverage discounts.