COVID-19: Canadian home, auto and business insurance information

COVID-19 is altering the social and economic landscape of our country and our world.  In these uncertain and challenging times, we understand many Canadians will have questions related to their personal or business insurance. On this page you'll find answers to FAQs about insurance.

Updated: January 12, 2021

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Business Insurance

  • Canada's commercial insurance industry was challenged coming into 2020 from the following main contributing factors:
  • An extended period of weather-related claims that were both more severe and more frequent
  • Record low interest rates (affecting investment income) and capacity withdrawal in certain commercial product lines

The challenges affecting the availability of commercial insurance are global and the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic has compounded this issue.

Despite challenging market conditions, Canada's insurers are pulling together to find creative solutions to ensure Canadian businesses can access the insurance they need while also making sure commercial insurance remains affordable – even in a time of heightened uncertainty and risk.

Insurance Bureau of Canada (IBC) recently announced the launch of its Business Insurance Action Team (BIAT) to help to find viable insurance for small businesses in Ontario's hospitality sector – specifically restaurants, bars, pubs and banquet halls - amid the economic challenges the COVID-19 pandemic has created.

A recent analysis by Deloitte shows that the challenges affecting the availability of commercial insurance are global and that the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic has compounded this issue.

Commercial insurance is complex and specialized, which makes it important that you speak to your insurance representative if you have any questions or need clarification about your coverage.

IBC encourages small business owners facing challenges to visit or call the Business Insurance Helpline at 1-844-2ask-IBC.

Consumer Relief Measures

To help Canadians cope with the financial impact of COVID-19, IBC member companies have provided more than $2 billion in personal auto and commercial insurance relief to help Canadians impacted by the pandemic, plus an additional $200 million in deferred premiums to personal and commercial customers. These figures will continue to rise in the coming months as the industry continues to support Canadians through this challenging period.

Insurance customers whose driving habits changed significantly or who are facing financial hardship as a result of the pandemic should contact their insurance representative.

Consumer FAQs

Why would insurers increase rates during a crisis?

Many of the approved rate changes were submitted by insurers and approved by their respective provincial regulators late last year or early this year. In many cases, implementation began months before the states of emergency were declared throughout the country.

However, insurers understand that this is a challenging and uncertain time and want to help alleviate some of the financial burden for the most vulnerable. They recognize that many drivers are no longer commuting or using their vehicles as regularly, and their premiums should reflect the reduced risk.

If your driving habits have changed significantly, or if you are facing financial hardship as a result of the pandemic, contact your insurance representative. Savings will vary based on individual driving habits and policy requirements.

How long does it take to get rates approved?

After submitting a rate change proposal to the provincial regulator, insurers must wait roughly one to two months before those rates are approved. After that, consumers are sent renewal notices at least one month before their new proposed rates come into effect. In all, it takes at least 90 days from rate change submission, to approval, to when consumers pay the new rates.

90 days is the earliest the new rates would come into effect for a policyholder. In the vast majority of cases, the new rates will come into effect several months after the submission and rigorous approval process. For example, any rate increase that you might be seeing now on your renewal may have been approved and set 11 months ago.

What can consumers do to lower their premiums?

Insurers agree that auto insurance should be more affordable. In the short term, to help those dealing with the COVID-19 pandemic, insurers are offering substantial consumer relief measures. Consumers whose driving habits have changed significantly or who are facing financial hardship as a result of the pandemic should contact their insurance representative. As it relates to savings on auto insurance premiums, savings will vary depending on individual driving habits. In the long term, insurers are advocating for reforms to make auto insurance more affordable.

Consumers should shop around – it is proven to help drivers find better rates. But it is not the only way. For more information on what you can do to save on your insurance, please see Insurance Buying Tips – Cost Control