Can you appeal a high car insurance rate?

Under the right circumstances, increased rates can sometimes be appealed

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With supply chain issues and inflation adding to day-to-day living costs, an increase in insurance rates can be another expense to worry about.

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Fortunately, high rates aren’t always set in stone. Under the right circumstances, increased rates can sometimes be appealed.

First of all, it is important to understand some things.

Why did my auto insurance rate go up?

One of the most obvious reasons you could experience a rate hike is driving behavior. If you receive a speeding ticket or are found at fault in an accident, insurers can raise your rate once it’s time to renew your insurance, says Fernand Vartanian, general counsel at digital insurance company Onlia.

The same can happen if you have a habit of missing car insurance payments.

“There are a lot of behaviors that can cause damage in terms of increased rates,” Vartanian says.

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The other reason your rate could go up is that your insurance company is going to a provincial regulator to request a rate increase to help cover the costs of claims and they get approval. For example, with the new technology we see in vehicles today, the cost of repairs may increase, so your insurer might be able to increase their rates year over year. Your driving behavior would not be relevant in this scenario, but you could still see an increase in your premium.

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What type of rate hikes can be used?

When it comes to rate hikes that have been approved by regulators to help deal with rising costs, you’re probably out of luck when it comes to appealing.

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However, if you think a rate increase was made because of an error related to your driving behavior, you’re more likely to reduce that rate increase, Vartanian says.

The key here is to contact your insurance provider so you can fully understand why this rate increase has occurred.

For example, an insurance company may have let past traffic tickets or at-fault accidents influence your rate longer than it should have. Speeding tickets, for example, can impact fares for up to three years. With at-fault accidents, that number jumps to six years.

However, insurance companies are usually good at tracking this information, Vartanian says.

Another reason someone might dispute an insurance rate is if they think an adjuster assigned more blame to them after an accident than they should have received. Typically, a person is judged to be at fault on a scale from zero to 100%.

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So if you were determined 100% at fault but you think it should have been 50%, then you can challenge that determination of fault, Vartanian says.

Here’s how to appeal a rate increase

To appeal a rate hike, you’ll want to go to your insurance company’s ombudsman’s office. Their role is to handle complaints from policyholders about company business practices and to write final reports on a complaint.

You can also file a complaint with a provincial insurance regulator, like the Financial Services Regulatory Authority of Ontario (FSRA), but that’s not really their goal, Vartanian says.

Vartanian shared an example of a successful appeal: a driver was wrongly determined to be 100% responsible for an accident. The driver pleaded his case with the insurance company mediator, who then reviewed the circumstances of the accident. The ombudsman concluded that the adjusters were wrong about this: the driver was only 50% at fault.

If you end up with a high insurance premium and your appeal is unsuccessful, all is not lost. One tool you always have in your back pocket is the ability to compare auto insurance rates in line. This will ensure, despite your situation, that you always get the lowest possible rate. is a free, independent rate comparison website that allows Canadians to compare rates for various financial products, such as home and auto insurance, mortgages and credit cards.


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Justin D. O'Neill