Woman's insurance premium quadruples after series of car thefts
Quebecers who have to file insurance claims for car theft or damage are increasingly feeling the pinch of premium increases – even if they're not at fault.
While the province has some of Canada's lowest car insurance rates in the country, prices have begun to change in recent years, as the cost of repairs for cars involved in accidents has increased dramatically.
Jacquie Carracosa knows that all too well. Her Lexus SUV was stolen twice within a little more than a year. Both times, it happened at night while she and her husband slept.
“We have a camera in front of the house, and we saw it go down on video. We called the cops they said, ‘We can't help you; we don't have the resources.’ We called the insurance, and that’s it,” she said.
A year later, Carracosa bought a new Lexus – and sure enough, one night while asleep, it was stolen too.
“I parked in the driveway as usual, and in October it got stolen,” she said.
If that was not enough, Carracosa was rear-ended twice in traffic during that period. She says neither accident was her fault.
A few weeks ago, she received a surprise letter from her insurance broker.
“My insurance kicks me out, cancels my insurance, tells me I'm a risk. My broker told me he had to go elsewhere to look,” she said.
Carracosa was told the only company willing to insure her would charge $4,500 a year for standard coverage; four times her current rate – and that includes a $2,500 deductible.
Her case is not unusual, said Pierre Babinsky of the Insurance Bureau of Canada.
The higher the risk, the higher the premiums, and it all comes down to determining the risk for each person, based on a long list of factors, not just who's at fault when there's a claim.
“Even if you're not responsible, the chances that you will have another accident are higher, statistically. So that’s what the insurer works with, and that's why you're considered a higher risk, and you'll likely see a premium increase,” Babinsky explained.
Carracosa's expensive claims, even if they were not her fault, led to her dramatic increase.
Carracosa said she is not buying the insurance industry's explanations and has hired a lawyer to see what her options are.