Feb 28, 2018
Driving without insurance in Alberta, and all other Canadian provinces, is against the law. If you are caught driving without proper coverage, you will face steep fines and other penalties.
However, with high cost of car insurance in Alberta, many drivers take the risk and drive without a valid policy. This puts other drivers and themselves at risk.
This blog explains the repercussions for driving without a policy, fines, penalties, and answers common questions drivers have about requirements in Alberta.
The Driving Without Insurance Law In Alberta
In Alberta, you are required to have a valid policy to drive. The Alberta Traffic Safety Act defines the law for insurance requirements :
54(1) Except as otherwise permitted under this Act, a person shall not do any of the following :
- (a) drive a motor vehicle on a highway unless the motor vehicle is an insured motor vehicle;
- (b) have a motor vehicle on a highway unless the motor vehicle is an insured motor vehicle;
- (c) where a person is the registered owner of a motor vehicle, permit another person
- (i) to drive the motor vehicle on a highway, or
- (ii) to have the motor vehicle on a highway, unless the motor vehicle is an insured motor vehicle
What Is The Penalty For Driving Without Insurance In Alberta?
Drivers can face a number of penalties. You can face fines, a license suspension, and see your premiums increase.
You will not be arrested or face criminal charges. However, you could face jail time for failure to pay fines for driving without a policy. You could be arrested if you are caught in a criminal act while driving with no insurance.
What Is The Fine For Driving Without Insurance In Alberta?
Getting caught driving without valid insurance coverage will cost you :
- First offense fine : A minimum of $2,875 up to $10,000. Failure to pay the fine can result in 45 days to 6 months in jail.
- Second offense fine : If you are caught again within 5 years of the first offense, you face a minimum fine of $5,000 up to $20,000. Failure to pay will result in 60 days to 6 months in jail.
What Is The Maximum Specified Fine For Driving Without Insurance?
The maximum fine for your first offense is $10,000. The maximum fine for a second offense is $20,000.
Driving Without Insurance Is Not Worth The Risk
Many people take the risk because of premium costs. Yes, fees are higher than we want, but the cost of fines for outweighs insurance costs :
- The $2,875 fine is likely higher than your annual premium.
- Getting caught driving with no insurance will increase your premium.
- Vehicle towing and holding fees.
- If you were to get into an accident, you would have to pay for repairs out of pocket – potentially costing you thousands of dollars.
Driving Without Insurance in Alberta And Demerits
Many people assume you’ll have demerit points added to your driving record if you are caught with no policy. You will not receive demerit points in Alberta for driving without insurance. But you will face a hefty fine.
Can I Be Charged For Driving Without Insurance If The Vehicle Isn’t Mine?
Yes. A licensed driver operating an uninsured vehicle can be charged, even if the vehicle is not theirs. If you borrow a vehicle, you need to confirm it has valid insurance. Failure to check could result in a fine.
The owner of the uninsured vehicle could also be charged. You are not allowed to knowingly allow others to drive your vehicle if it does not have valid insurance.
Is Driving Without Insurance A Criminal Offense in Alberta?
No. It is not a criminal offense. But you could be charged with a criminal offense related to a motor vehicle accident as an uninsured driver.
Can I Get Jail Time For Driving A Policy?
Yes. You can get jail time for failure to pay your fine. You can receive a minimum of 45 days up to 6 months in jail.
Can My Licence Be Suspended For Driving Without Insurance?
Yes. A driver’s licence suspension can be ordered by a judge if they deem it necessary. The combination of having your licence suspended and getting charged for driving without insurance can have a significant impact on your premium and ability to find an insurer to cover you.
The Cost Of Getting Into An Accident Without Insurance In Alberta
There is a significant financial risk. If you are found to be responsible for a collision, you are personally responsible for bodily injury costs. You could be sued and found liable.
The average cost per bodily injury claim is more than $15,000 and costs are on the rise. These costs will come out of your pocket. If you had insurance, these costs would have been covered as part of your policy.
Uninsured Drivers And Getting Into An Accident Without Insurance In Alberta
One of the overlooked risks of driving without insurance is how you will react if you get into an accident. Many uninsured drivers are tempted to flee the scene of an accident to avoid fines and penalties. This will only make things worse.
If you get into an accident and leave the scene, you could also face hit and run charges - $2,000 fine, the potential of six months in jail, and 7 demerit points. You can also be charged under the criminal code of Canada and get a criminal record.
What If I Was Just Driving Without Proof Of Insurance In Alberta?
You are required to have proof with you at all times. The burden of proof is on the driver. Failure to produce evidence, such as an insurance card, can result in a fine. There are no demerits associated with the ticket. Some police officers may give you the opportunity to prove you have a policy before they submit the ticket.
You also face a fine for driving without registration.
Are You Allowed To Drive A Car Without Insurance?
You are not legally allowed to drive a car that does not have valid insurance. However, a licensed driver does not need to personally have it to drive another vehicle as long as that vehicle has valid insurance. It follows the vehicle, not the driver.
Can You Drive Someone Else’s Car Without Insurance?
You can drive someone else’s vehicle if it has valid insurance. Never drive a vehicle that is not insured.
Driving Without Insurance And Its Impact On Insurance
Getting caught can significantly impact your ability to get insured. It can result in :
- Much higher rates
- Being labelled a high risk driver
- Difficulty getting insured
Tips To Avoid Driving With Expired Insurance In Alberta
- Don’t do it : If you forget to renew your insurance, avoid driving until you update it.
- Ask others before driving : If you plan to borrow a friend’s or family member’s vehicle, verify they are covered. Check to make sure proof is in the vehicle.
- Set a reminder : Set a reminder in your smartphone or write down your expiry date in your calendar.
Driving without insurance is not worth the risk. Even with higher than desirable rates, driving with valid insurance protects you from financial risks, fines, and penalties.
Here Are Some Other Articles You May Be Interested In
Alberta Driver's License System Guide
Demerit Points In Alberta
Car Insurance In Alberta
A Guide to the Ontario Graduated Driver's Licensing System
What Are The Cheapest Cars To Insure?
Commuting In Canada : Stats, Facts, Tips On Commuting In Canada
A Simple To Follow Guide For How To Buy A Used Car
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