The price of automobile insurance in Alberta has increased over the last few years. Combine that with the increase in cost of living and gas, and you may be tempted to simply save costs by not insuring your vehicle. Other drivers across Canada have considered this course of action, as, in Ontario alone, it is estimated that around 2% of all drivers are uninsured and that over 2,000 accidents involve uninsured drivers.
However, will skipping out on car insurance really save you money at the end of the day, or could it end up costing you even more?
Let’s consider what you are missing out on simply by neglecting to get your vehicle insured.
Automobile insurance in Alberta comes with many benefits, including, but not limited to:
There is also liability coverage for your personal injury or property damage if a claim is put in against you. Not only does the driver have access to these benefits, but other passengers in the vehicle do as well.
When you choose to drive uninsured, you give up the right to access these benefits and protections, as do any passengers involved in the accident. Even seemingly minor accidents can quickly result in thousands of dollars of out-of-pocket costs. Even if you were not at fault, you would have to pay for all of the resulting expenses and medical treatments yourself.
Things escalate even more if you were at fault for the accident, are uninsured, and can’t afford to pay what you owe. You can be sued, your wages can be garnished, you could lose your savings, your house, etc. Passengers are, again, also potentially affected in the same manner. If you think you won’t have any problems if you are not the owner of the vehicle, think again – if the vehicle is uninsured, the driver can be charged, as can the owner if the owner was not the driver.
Beyond the lost benefits and potential financial risks, there is the fact that driving uninsured is illegal in Alberta. If you are caught driving uninsured the first time, you risk a minimum fine of $2,500 and $5,000 if you are caught a second time. The maximum fines for first and second offences are $10,000 and $20,000, respectively.
If you do not pay the fine, you could face at least 45 days in prison for your first offence and at least 60 days for your second offence. The maximum time in jail for your first and second offences is 6 months. Your license could also be suspended, and, of course, premiums are likely to be significantly more expensive for you when you do choose to insure.
Many uninsured drivers flee the scene of the accident, realizing that there are significant risks to being caught uninsured. However, fleeing an accident can result in hefty fines, jail time, and demerit points. While driving uninsured is not a criminal offence; a hit and run is. This was the result in the tragic accident caused by uninsured driver Drak Paul.
In July of 2020, Drak Paul was on his way to work speeding at 125km per hour on a 60km per hour road. A police clocked him going double over the speed limit and began a pursuit with emergency lights activated. Drak Paul, knowing he did not have any insurance, increased his speeds upwards towards 140km per hour and the police decided to call off the chase.
As Drak Paul continued to drive away at dangerous speeds, he lost control and struck a 54 year old cyclist. Unfortunately, Daniel Bertini, the cyclist, died at the scene. Drak Paul’s vehicle hadn’t been insured since 2018, however, if he would have stopped when the police signaled to pull him over, the end result would have resulted in fines, not jail time and an innocent human losing their life.
The Bottom Line
Driving uninsured turns out to be incredibly expensive and very risky. The risks greatly outweigh any perceived benefits, not only for yourself as the driver, but also for any passengers if involved in an accident.
Whether you find yourself in an accident with an uninsured or insured driver, McGuiness Law is here to help you through your circumstances. You want to work with a lawyer who is experienced, as well as one who will support and hear you.
Choosing the right lawyer to help you with your motor vehicle accident is no small decision, and you’ll want to ensure that you’ve found the right fit. To see if McGuiness Law would be that right fit for you, make use of our free consultations, and be assured that we will only take on your case if we know that it will benefit you.