COVID-19's impact on Canadian auto insurance customers

COVID-19's impact on Canadian auto insurance customers | Insurance Business

COVID-19

Apart from its impact on global health, the COVID-19 pandemic has also affected auto insurance customer behaviour, LowestRates.ca outlined in a new report.

Based on its data, the insurance comparison site found that there are some “interesting car insurance shopping habits” as the number of consumers visiting LowestRates.ca’s website increased since the initial lockdown order.

The website found that during the months of March, April, and May, it observed an increase in the number of low-mileage drivers (defined as individuals who drive fewer than 5,000 kilometers a year) shopping on the website. From February to March there was a 3.54% increase in low-mileage drivers shopping for insurance. But from March to April – the period when lockdown measures were fully enforced – LowestRates.ca saw an even bigger increase, at 30.07%.

The number continues to trend upward, LowestRates.ca reported. In May, the number of low-mileage quotes completed on the insurance comparison site increased again by nearly 6% month-over-month. These low-mileage drivers capitalized on the cheaper insurance rates being offered during this time of crisis.

“Customers who are driving less during the lockdown have the option of amending their vehicle use — from business/commuting to pleasure use — and the associated annual mileage, in order to lower their premiums,” explained DirectRate.ca director of operations Elektra Hilton. “Alternatively, they also have an option to suspend coverage if a particular vehicle is not being driven at all. This would result in cost-savings as well.”

LowestRates.ca’s other notable findings include:

  • The number of individuals under the age of 25 who filled out quotes on LowestRates.ca dropped by 37% year-over-year in March and nearly 43% year-over-year in April. The comparison site suggested that young drivers, perhaps looking to insure their first vehicle, were unable to do so since car dealerships across the country were closed.
  • The number of individuals obtaining quotes for auto insurance for new vehicles (2019-2021 models) dropped by 80% year-over-year in April, when most dealerships were closed, and increased by 51% month-over-month in May when many dealerships across the country were allowed to fully reopen.
  • The number of individuals with no prior insurance history obtaining quotes for auto insurance decreased by 50% year-over-year in April.