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Q

I know someone who is a Saskatchewan resident and is driving his car in Saskatchewan with expired plates and no additional insurance. What exactly are the consequences if he is in an accident? I have warned him to renew the plates but he isn't worried. What can I tell him about the consequences?


A

As you know Saskatchewan, Canada operates a mandatory vehicle registration and insurance program. When a vehicle owner purchases license plates, they also purchase a basic package of insurance which includes coverage for damage to their own vehicle subject to a deductible; coverage for personal injury as a result of a vehicle crash; and, Liability insurance for damage their vehicle may cause to the property of others or injuries it may cause to other people. So without current registration / license plates on the car than it would also not have the required car insurance on it either.

Each vehicle and driver licensed in Saskatchewan is insured by the Auto Fund. Auto Fund coverage provides only the minimum protection required by law. For private passenger vehicles, that includes:

  • $200,000 liability protection
  • $700 deductible for vehicle damage
  • personal injury coverage
  • can buy additional insurance for your vehicle, also known as a package policy or SGI Canada Auto Pak.

A conviction for driving without insurance in Saskatchewan carries a maximum fine of $1,000 for a first or subsequent offense. According to the Saskatchewan Driver's Handbook you can be arrested if you are caught operating an unregistered vehicle. We have also read that the fine for an unregistered/uninsured car typically is around $550 and that the car may be towed and impounded and thus pushing the cost of fines and fees to the owner above $600.

In this Canadian province your driver's license can be suspended, if you are caught driving without adequate insurance, with too many fines, or driving while under the influence of alcohol.

Your insurance agent has access to your driving record to check for fines, suspensions, and accidents that can cause your policy to increase or be cancelled. If you are in an accident, and do not have the minimum insurance, you are financially responsible for all injury and damage settlements awarded by the courts.

So advise your friend that his license plate insurance provides Liability insurance of up to $200,000 per collision. Liability insurance covers the cost of damages he could cause in a motor vehicle collision, including:

  • damage to the other driver's vehicle
  • damage to any property
  • cost of medical expenses resulting from injuries to others

Without proper insurance on the vehicle he can not only be fined, have his license suspended but also if he is in an accident he would be personally responsible to pay for the damages he caused since he would have no insurance to have claims placed against.

When he gets insurance he should know that one can purchase additional insurance for their vehicle, for coverage above that provided with your license plate(s). There are packages available from SGI CANADA, or many other insurance companies. SGI CANADA is the trade name of the property and casualty insurance division of Saskatchewan Government Insurance (SGI) which offers products in more than half of Canada's provinces. It operates as SGI CANADA in Saskatchewan.

You can contact the Saskatchewan Government Insurance (SGI) to find out exactly what consequences your friend may face if found without current plates (registration) and thus insurance or additional insurance. Their information may be more specific and thus may help you to talk your friend into doing the right thing and registering his vehicle in Saskatchewan so that he is legal with his license plates and auto insurance.


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