Motorcycle in busy traffic in Toronto Ontario

February 2, 2018

Why is motorcycle insurance so expensive in Ontario?

3 min read


The amount you pay for any type of insurance is primarily based on your exposure to risk. This is one of the primary reasons that motorcycle is more expensive than car insurance: higher risk–of injury.

Similarities between motorcycle and car insurance in Ontario

Whether you ride a motorcycle or drive a car, the regulations regarding your coverage are the same. Both motorcycle and auto policies include minimum coverages that are required by law. Insurance companies don’t have a choice but to include them, and they aren’t legally permitted to offer an insurance policy that doesn’t include these minimum coverages.

In Ontario, as with the rest of Canada, provincial healthcare covers acute injuries due to vehicular accidents. However, recovery typically involves treatment, rehab, and other expenses that go beyond what the Ontario Health Insurance Plan (OHIP) covers, and your insurance company foots the bill for those extra expenses.

In addition to the coverage offered by insurance companies, auto insurers in Ontario also contribute to a tax called a health care levy, to reimburse the government for medical care provided to collision victims.

According to the IBC, “In 2010, Canadian auto insurers paid $274 million in health care levies. From these, $142.3 million (about 51%) came from Ontario.”, which is one reason why auto insurance is so expensive in Ontario, especially in the GTA.

Where the similarities end

Motorcyclists face much more bodily risk than other motorists on the road, due mostly to a lack of physical protection at high speeds. This isn’t news. What is new are some numbers from a 2017 study done by researchers at the University of Toronto, Sunnybrook Health Sciences Centre, and the Institute for Clinical Evaluative Science.

The study, published in the Canadian Medical Association Journal. shows that Ontario motorcyclists, when compared with automobile drivers in the province:

  • Are 3 times more likely to be injured in a collision
  • Are 10 times more likely to suffer serious injuries in those collisions
  • Are 5 times more likely to die from an accident
  • Cost Ontario’s healthcare system 6 times as much due to accidents

So where does the extra cost of motorcycle insurance go?

If motorcyclists are exposed to an increased risk of serious injury, it makes sense that the premiums would be higher to reflect increased potential expenses. But what are these expenses?

Accident benefits

In Ontario, Accident Benefits coverage is mandatory, included with every motorcycle insurance policy, just as it is with auto insurance.

Medical, rehabilitation and attendant care benefits

Statutory accident benefits include Medical, Rehabilitation and Attendant Care, for expenses that aren’t covered by the OHIP, with mandatory minimum coverage of $65,000 for non-catastrophic injuries, and $1M for catastrophic injuries.

Extra expenses not covered by OHIP can add up, such as for physiotherapy, prescription drugs, chiropractic care, counseling, and transportation to medical appointments.

Income replacement

Also included with Accident Benefits in Ontario is Income Replacement.

Income replacement at the basic amount can be $400.00/week, or $20,800/yr. If the injuries are catastrophic and the insured is unable to engage in any occupation after 2 years, then the benefits will be extended.

Other benefits

Included as part of mandatory accident benefits coverage are Caregiver Benefits, Housekeeping and Home Maintenance Expenses, and Death and Funeral Benefits.

With the average Ontario motorcyclist being at a 10 times greater risk of serious injury, the potential for claims is higher, and unfortunately, this can reflect on the premiums you might pay. But this doesn’t have to be the case…

So what can you do?

  • Match your bike to your needs: Faster bikes with a lot of horsepower are considered more dangerous, and can fetch higher premiums. Choosing a tamer ride can help tame your insurance costs.
  • Take rider training: There are big insurance discounts for completion of rider training programs. Ask about advanced rider training insurance discounts as well. These programs pay for themselves within a short time and could even save your life one day.
  • Establish a clean riding record: Most insurance companies care primarily about your riding record. Stay ticket free–and more importantly, accident-free.
  • Ask about insurance bundles: Multiline policies can be a great option to help you save on premiums. Ask your broker about discounts for bundling your motorcycle insurance with your home, your car, or better yet, both.
  • Choose a higher deductible: Choosing a higher deductible means lower insurance premiums. Keep in mind that in the event of a claimed accident, you’ll pay more out of pocket.
  • Drop collision coverage: If your motorcycle has a low replacement cost, it may be worth it to opt for liability coverage only, since collision coverage is optional. If you only paid $1,000 for a used motorcycle, the combined cost of collision insurance and the deductible (should you damage your bike) may not be a worthwhile expense.
  • Don’t cancel your policy for the winter: Some companies will offer you continuous insurance discounts, so avoid cancelling your policy after the riding season.
  • Speak with a broker: Always have a broker shop the market for you, as available discounts and rates change regularly.

Mitch is fast becoming known as Ontario’s leading motorcycle insurance broker, with the widest variety of insurers and coverage discounts.

Looking for motorcycle insurance?

Speak with a Mitch Insurance broker today to get a quote on Ontario motorcycle insurance.

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    These reasons for Ontarihole motorcycle rates are pathetic. Its 7 to 22 times more expensive here than anywhere else in the entire continent. What’s so different about Metro Toronthole than other cities and states and provinces to substantiate this insurance rip-off? Nothing. Ontario is just the armpit of this earth. The biggest scam on everything.

    Hey Jesse,

    Although I don’t know the actual cost of motorcycle insurance in all the other states and provinces, I’ll have a crack at your question of “What’s so different about Metro Toronhole than other cities states and provinces?”.

    There are two answers:

    Is there anything statistically different in the crash statistics of motorcycles in Ontario regarding frequency or severity? No. Motorcycles crash at the same frequencies as other cities.

    The answer is actually in the generosity of the mandatory product; the insurance policy that everyone must buy. Medical benefits and income replacement, along with other features in the Ontario policy, make it more expensive than other provinces and states. The target loss ratio is actually the same in other provinces. It’s more about target loss ratios here.

    The information above is total nonsense. I can fully insure my motorcycle in California for 1/4 of what I pay in Ontario and ride the whole year in an environment of far heavier traffic. This is a perfect scam for underwriters in Canada. Traffic in Canada is far more tame than in the US so likelihood of a collision is significantly lower.

    The statistics quoted apply to anywhere in the world. There is nothing there that is Ontario-specific that one could say “yeah that makes sense”. Nothing. It’s all smoke and mirrors as usually from insurance companies.

    Additionally the risk is for less than half a year, so more than half the year is risk-free. And cancelling the policy for the time i don’t ride should not be a punishable offence. Blaming Ontario is like blaming the farmer for a bad meal at a restaurant. Nothing to do one with the other. A rip-off is a rip-off no matter how disguised.

    Hi Francisco,

    Think of it like a life insurance policy. You can get a $10,000 life insurance policy in California for ¼ of the price of what you might pay in Ontario, like you state, but the only policy available for purchase in Ontario is a $1,000,000 life insurance policy.

    In this example you can see the products and benefits are quite different. Agreed it’s not that Ontario drivers crash more than elsewhere.

    As far as the risk of driving your motorcycle being a factor for only half the year, the insurance companies are fully aware of the riding season. They do expect little to no km in February. To make it more affordable they allow you to finance the premium over 12 months in a level way but the premium is being earned during the four main riding months. You can read more about this in our post on cancelling motorcycle insurance in the winter if you’d like.


    By the way, there is really no “comparison shopping” for motorcycle insurance, since there are only two motorcycle insurance underwriters in all of Canada, so there is no room to negotiate with a near-monopoly.

    Please stop misleading consumers. Insurance in Canada is high because companies have little competition.

    You’re right, there is no open market competition, which most in the industry would quite like to see. The upside or downside of not being able to negotiate car or motorcycle rates, which is accurate, is you can’t change the rates per the individual as that is illegal.

    This means it is consistent pricing for each consumer no matter how skilled or knowledgeable you are or aren’t.

    Amen for all that, socialism countries are all the same. Open up insurance North American wide and see our expenses go down. No, can’t do that, no government control then… Only difference between Canada and Communist countries is govt can’t tell us where to live and work …YET

    Fair, competition would drive pricing on insurance products down. But as the average amount of insurance on the road would go down, they would strip out products, meaning less coverage for your buck.

    This would impact OHIP and the court systems as well, as there would be an increase in the number of people having to resort to covering their own medical expenses, and possibly suing others involved in the accident to recover losses.

    Less coverage for your buck? not true again. With Geico I had road side assistance, a great app for the phone!! etc and the price was far less. You guys have all been drinking the coolaid so long you believe it. I wonder if you think the cell phone prices for what you get are a great deal as well since it’s what Rogers, Bell etc tell you. It’s not, just accept it and acknowledge it. It would be far more productive if the insurance companies just told the truth and not tried to make people believe some other story.

    Okay, that’s enough venting for now, I mean I am on hold with TD insurance.

    I have lived in Brooklyn NY!! a pretty busy place to live. My insurance premiums on the same bike I brought back to Toronto were less than half of what I’m now paying in Canada (Ontario-Toronto) Not only that. I could reduce my coverage for the non-riding season to only fire and theft. Why in the world am I being forced to pay for liability during the winter. ZERO accountability in this country. Companies charge what they want and if the customer doesn’t like it they are told “Sorry, there is nothing I can do, you can try another place”

    I could not agree with Francisco Toro more!

    there was a time you could cancel your coverage during the non riding season , i use to do this with my snowmobiles in the spring time back in the 70s but the insurance companys put a stop to all that . i lived in northern california for 5 years and had insurance on my honda cb750 with full coverage by geigo insurance for 300 dollars when i moved back to ontario i brought my bike with me, the same insurance coverage was 700 dollars , that was 20years ago i still have the bike today and now only ride the bike around the block a few times a season with only liebility on it and the insurance company still charges me 500.00 dollars a year for the old girl

    The root of the problem is the complete lack of competition. I agree with all the comments made prior to mine. It’s all smoke and mirrors. As others have stated, Ontario traffic is very tame compared to the US. As such, it’s just natural to assume that accident rates are much lower here that in the US; therefore health care costs should be lower. Simple equation, less bikes on our roads than the US, less traffic, shorter riding season, therefore less accidents = less health care costs. I live in Ottawa, I ride a 2009 HD Heritage Softail and I’m paying over $1000/year, with no fire and theft, just $1M liability. I’m 51, never made 1 claim in my entire life (knock on wood), been riding since before I walked, bike is always garaged, at home and at work. I’ve been with the same insurance company for a decade. I ride no more than 3-4000 km per year. I consider this legalized robbery allowed by the Government. There is absolutely no reason for my premium to be so high. Same goes for cable, cell phone plans, internet and air travel within Canada. Lack of competition thanks to all the lobbyists requesting/demanding that the Gov’t keep things the way they are. Does not sound very democratic…

    I have decided to get into riding. At 38. After looking for Insurance, I’ve now decided to sell the bike I bought. I’ve been driving for over 25 years. With the same company for over 15. No claims no infractions. Yes just got my m1 licence. Regardless this was a move to cut costs with gas etc etc. I now see why legendary companies like Harley Davidson are closing their doors. I’m just gonna drive without being raped by insurance companies if I get caught chances are the fines will be less than the insurance anyways. That’s what drives up rates. I feel like smashing 1 of my 4 cars into all the others in my own driveway. Making a claim on all 4 then start taking the bus after all 4 cars get paid out. I’m sick of being raped by these companies. Oh yeah I forgot might include the house maybe it will catch fire by the accident in my driveway. With all the insurance money I’ll be paid I’m moving to the US.

    I’m surprised that nobody mentioned that you are forced to hire a lawyer to go after the party at fault when you get taken out and they pocket 1/3 of the claim . It’s all a big scam . Totally corrupt

    I have lived in Canada my whole life and IN Ontario as well BUT our insurance is unfairly high for some things.

    My 2004 1600b Kawasaki Mean Streak ran me $414 a year while my 1999 Harley Davidson 1340 cc is $979 a year??

    The Harley costs as much as my pickup apartment and Kawasaki did and then some ..

    There are the brokers that say it is the age of my Harley but if this is the case why do we EVER need to safety them?

    Another it was the type of Motorcycle but all Harleys are significantly over priced for insurance as if the brand of bike is way more important than the 28 years of safe riding I have and 32 years of safe driving (20 years spent as a tractor trailer driver).

    I am NOW living on disability due to a back injury which means lost wages and health care = zero for the insurance company on my end so there is something VERY wrong with Ontario insurance and maybe my MPP will actually look into my complaint I filed

    There is no multi-motorcycle discount because if there was then this would be a way for people to get around high insurance rates. E.g. I own two motorcycles and are insuring them both, but I happen to loan my brother a bike. The bike is insured under my name, but in reality he s riding it 100% of the time under my insurance. This would be effectively committing fraud, but they find it easier to just shut it down by not giving a discount rather than trying to identify and prosecute the fraudsters.

    I pay accident benefits on 3 policies, I can only claim one lol . I can only drive one at at time . In Europe you insure your self once and it follows you, hmmm theirs a thought . My wife wrote of a car yrs ago, all the things they say they pay for are full of qualifying clauses and loop holes we didn’t get a cent for medical -home care hospital travel – ambulance ride. I’ve payed over 30000 in bike insurance over the yrs , I think the no insurance fine is cheaper and with no fault it’s must not be my fault lol.I
    parked my Triumph 2300cc this summer 1200.00 for 200-300 kms over the summer turns my stomach and they didn’t even buy me dinner after I pay the policy. Ever wonder why lawyers advertise specializing in insurance claims if it’s all legit . Talk to a high level insurance insider , your head will explode after hearing the real story on the industry. Canadians are such sheep , France would riot in the streets, just screw us over more please . It’s funny that they bitch about hospital costs in a country with Socialist health care system. Income replace is a joke , no mention of you have to claim EI first , and then you have to apply for government disability so they can deduct that from what they have to pay. Lol they make it sound like they pay the shot at 100% BullKaka

    Covid 19 is here.
    I suggest that no one rides their motorcycle or buys insurance this spring for same.
    See how not getting any premiums or profits affect these companies.

    The motorcycle industry needs to wake up and establish their own Insurance Company
    much like professional associations have done to combat insurance greed.

    Hey David.

    Thanks for your comment. We know it’s frustrating to pay more for motorcycle insurance than just about anywhere else in the world. We hear it a lot, so we did a side-by-side comparison of Ontario’s basic coverage and California’s, to find out why. It turns out that California requires almost zero coverage, meaning that riders who get in an accident there are often stuck with doctors and lawyers bills in the tens of thousands or much more. Ontario’s level of coverage is meant to save riders from financial ruin if they should get in a bad accident. Nobody thinks it will be them, but it happens all the time. As for your idea of riders getting off the road en masse, that would bring premiums down, because insurers tend to aim for a particular ratio of premiums to claim costs. Less bikes on the road, less claims, lower premiums. This is already starting to happen, not just with bikes, because COVID-19 is keeping people home.

    Whether you ride or not this season, please be safe.

    No disrespect to the author of the blog, but I’m not buying the insurance industries claims. Insurance companies are essentially pigeon-holing people into buying and paying insurance on bikes they deem “safe and less risky”, what kind of communist ideology is that? Nobody I know wants to make a claim in Ontario unless they can be 100% sure they weren’t at fault (Go-Pro footage, getting hit be red light runner etc) even then these insurance companies will screw over the rest of the riders due to paying out more in claims than they received in premiums.

    What the heck? Let me get this straight for a hypothetical scenario, so I have to pay $4000 a year for a sportbike, I have 100% proof i was not at fault. I get paid by insurance with the plethora of bonuses that the Ontario government graciously bestowed upon me :eye roll:, but yearly renewals premiums keep rising because the company as a whole lost more than they made in premiums?

    I totally get the comparison from California rates and Ontario rates, you can get a $100,000 liability coverage there and end up paying pennies compared to here but the author says “oh they don’t get medical coverage and get put in financial ruin”, except the riders over there for the most part have private health insurance too. Why am i forced to take out a $1M dollar liability coverage with over 7 years of riding history? Does the insurance company think I’m launching my motorcycle into gas stations or crowds of people or something? Canadian insurance can put people in financial ruin too, there’s multiple scenarios where you could be deemed no fault but because you may have not had proof (gopro) of the incident the insurance company can deem you 50% at fault. Now not only are you forced to make a claim because you might be injured, your premiums are definitely going up, and other riders in the province also have their premiums increased. If you EVER even get into one claim and you are deemed 50% at fault or more say good bye to riding a motorcycle in Ontario for 6 years at least legally.

    Population density is a joke. Food for thought, population of Canada is is ~37.59 million people (2019), while the population of JUST the state of California is ~39.51 million people (2019). The state of California has more people living than all of Canada. Let assume 50% of the population lives in Ontario which is ~18.8 million people, you got to be kidding me if insurance companies really expect us to believe population density and more people buying bikes and claiming them is increasing premiums.

    The government doesn’t want to offer Canadians anything less than $1M liability because they’ve all been paid out by insurance company lobbyists. Nothing will change in this province. I feel sorry for the younger generation then again maybe not because with the ever increasing cost of living and price of bikes + insurance you either have to be a rich fool to ride in Ontario or be married, 35+ years old, bundle home, car, and bike to a company and have had 6+ years of m2 driving history OH and have had no claims then, just maybe the insurance companies will allow you to get a decent rate. What an absolute joke…

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