Driving without auto insurance is illegal in Canada. The potential damage and liability costs of a collision exceed the amount that many people can afford, which may leave the victim of an accident without a fair level of compensation. By making insurance requisite for all drivers, this situation is entirely avoidable. At least in theory.
According to a recent report by CBC, police in Newfoundland and Labrador catch hundreds of uninsured drivers operating vehicles every year. That number is concerning, but fails to take into account the number of uninsured drivers the police do not catch.
Those found driving without insurance face penalties, such as license suspension, fines and even jail time. But if they are involved in an accident, it is other drivers that pay the price.
The CBC report relates an anecdote of a driver named Doris Butt, who experienced a collision with an uninsured counterpart. Butt was found to have not been at fault, but she was unable to coax the uninsured driver into paying for the damages she suffered. Eventually, Butt was forced to file a claim, which included a $300 deductible.
“They do not have a right to be on the road unprotected when the rest of us are doing our utmost to drive carefully and pay our premiums,” says Butt. “And yet some people go out and they’re so careless about those matters. It’s just totally unfair to the rest of us.”
Not only is it unfair to drivers like Butt, who are forced to shell out deductibles and file claims; it’s unfair to all drivers who pay for insurance. Beyond the deductible, it is the insurance providers that have to pay for the damages caused by uninsured drivers. And as a consequence of the loss created by these incidents, insurance companies raise premiums on the drivers that actually abide by the law.
If you don’t have auto insurance, get it. And if you know someone who drives without insurance, encourage them to get it, or report them. Because as Amanda Dean of the Insurance Bureau of Canada states, “They are breaking the law and they are putting people’s lives at risk.”