• Sun. Dec 3rd, 2023

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Does a long commute impact your car insurance?

The more you’re on the road, the higher the risk of a collision, meaning longer commutes can equal higher insurance premiums

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The idea of a long drive on the open road might seem relaxing, but it doesn’t quite have the same effect when you’re stuck in traffic during your daily commute — nor is it the most economical. If you’re driving long hours and traveling long distances frequently, it will likely increase your car insurance premium. And for most drivers commuting in big Canadian cities — like Toronto — this is a harsh reality.

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A recent Global Public Transit Report states that people living in Toronto have the longest urban commute in North America, travelling an average of 12.29 km per trip within the city. Further, Ontario and Alberta residents pay the highest car insurance rates in Canada. Thus, an average Torontonian spends more time on the road than their North American counterparts and pays a higher car insurance premium.

The return to the work commute

The pandemic changed commute and travel habits for many, and as more of us started working remotely, we were spending less time on the road. Many insurance companies offered rebates to vehicle owners who were driving less as a result. However, the pandemic-induced work-from-home culture is slowly dissipating as many employers are encouraging employees to return to offices. For some, the return is permanent, while other companies are currently offering hybrid work arrangements (a mix of on-site and remote work arrangements).

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Either way, more people are back on the roads for both business and leisure.

For those who settled away from the “corporate hubs,” this means a longer daily commute to and from work — and a potential increase in their insurance premium.

Car insurance implications of a long commute

When determining your car insurance premium, one factor most insurance companies consider is your mileage. The more you drive, the higher your insurance premium can be, simply because the more you’re on the road, the higher the risk of a collision.

Though there are other factors that may impact your premium more, like your driving record or your vehicle model, you may see your rate increase by driving even 20 kilometres more daily. According to the Lowestrates.ca auto insurance quoter, a 35-year-old male driver living in downtown Toronto can expect an approximate three per cent increase in his premium if his commute increases from 10 kilometres to 30 kilometres to and from work each day.

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Note that the above example includes a list of other profile items such as number of vehicles, driving record, licensing dates, whether the vehicle has winter tires, etc. All factors need to be considered when requesting a quote; other profile changes can also factor into the premium cost.

Car insurance options

One of the best things any driver in this situation can do is to shop around and compare car insurance rates each year to ensure they’re still getting the lowest rate for their circumstances. Secondly, a driver should be prompt with updating the insurance company with any insurance-related changes — like changes in their daily commute or adding or removing a second driver from their policy, and so on.

Further, it is always a good idea to have a detailed conversation with your insurance provider about your situation to find out what discounts you might be eligible for.  Some companies offer discounts if you opt for usage-based car insurance and prove you’re a safe and responsible driver. Another option is to simply lower your mileage by using transit or carpooling if it works with your schedule and destination.

LowestRates.ca is a free and independent rate comparison website that allows Canadians to compare rates for various financial products, like auto and home insurance, mortgages, and credit cards. 

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