Only half the drivers in Saskatchewan are insured beyond the bare minimum required by the province, and experts are warning that this could leave many of them paying for damages out of pocket.
Half of Saskatchewan’s drivers only have $200,000 in third-party liability insurance, according to a report released last week by the Insurance Brokers Association of Saskatchewan (IBAS). Third-party liability provides payments to settle claims made by other drivers or individuals if there’s an accident.
The IBAS report said that $200,000 is part of the standard coverage given to new drivers when they receive their license plates in the province. Drivers also receive coverage for damages made to their vehicle, which is subject to a deductible of $700, as well as personal injury insurance, which covers lost wages and medical expenses if they’re injured in a collision.
The IBAS argued that this coverage is not enough to protect drivers — especially in cases where the damage is caused by themselves and their vehicles. For instance, if you hit someone with your car and they decide to sue you in court for $1 million, you would be forced to pay $800,000 out of pocket.
“That could leave them liable for out-of-pocket expenses to cover damage to property, physical injury or death to another person, or a victim's loss or lost potential of income,” the report said.
Still, only half of Saskatchewan’s drivers have extended coverage like additional liability insurance or family protection. In contrast, more than nine out of 10 drivers in British Columbia and Manitoba hold at least $1 million in auto insurance coverage.
Like Saskatchewan, B.C. and Manitoba both follow public auto insurance models.
“The percentage of Saskatchewan drivers compared to other Canadian provinces with only $200,000 liability coverage is inadequate, represents a significant consumer and public risk, and must be addressed,” the IBAS said in a statement.
In their report, the association outlined a number of recommendations to improve insurance literacy across the province. This included requiring all motor license issuers to be licensed insured brokers, allowing drivers to compare quotes from multiple carriers through the licensing system, creating an educational website and folding auto insurance information into driver education.