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Saskatchewan drivers underinsured: report

Only half of Saskatchewan drivers have more than basic level coverage, compared with 90 per cent of Manitobans.
Only half of Saskatchewan drivers have more than basic level coverage, compared with 90 per cent of Manitobans. (AP Photo/Dan Huff)

A high percentage of Saskatchewan drivers are not adequately insured, according to a recent report.

The report, released by the Insurance Brokers Association of Saskatchewan (IBAS) on May 15, found that only half of Saskatchewan’s drivers have more than the minimum $200,000 in third-party liability coverage that comes standard with basic licence plates.

In Manitoba, roughly nine in 10 drivers have coverage of at least $1 million, according to IBAS.

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“Saskatchewan’s public auto insurance system is unlike any in the country, and it is one of the most stable and affordable,” said IBAS CEO Derek Lothian in a statement. “But the fact remains many drivers in the province don’t understand basic insurance is not enough to properly protect themselves from all accidents — especially those caused by them and their vehicles.”

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Basic coverage includes third-party liability insurance of up to $200,000 for damage caused by the driver to another property or person, coverage for damage to the driver’s vehicle subject to a deductible of $700 and personal injury insurance should the driver become injured due to a collision.

If a driver is involved in a crash with basic coverage, they may not be compensated for property damage, injury or death to another person or a victim’s loss or potential income loss, according to the report.

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“The percentage of Saskatchewan drivers with only $200,000 in liability coverage is inadequate, represents a significant consumer and public safety risk and must be addressed,” said Lothian.

The report has six recommendations for drivers and licence issuers, including requiring all motor licence issuers to be licensed insurance brokers and including insurance information in driver education.

Lothian said drivers, industry and government must be involved in making sure Saskatchewan drivers are properly insured.

“We all have a role to play in bridging the gap while promoting competition and affordability in the marketplace, enhanced choice and education for consumers and the independent advice that is available only through the broker channel,” he added.

According to lowestrates.ca, Saskatchewan was the third cheapest province in which to purchase vehicle insurance in Canada in 2017. The average cost per year was $936, while Ontario was the most expensive at $1,445 per year.

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