So you’ve moved to Saskatchewan. Fantastic! It is a great place to live, work, and raise a family. But, can I be honest? Sometimes our auto insurance can seem confusing. When I moved here years ago, I was confused… and I’m in insurance! Therefore, let’s walk you through some auto insurance terms and what they mean. These are ones you will hear most often.
Auto Insurance Terms
One of the most common terms you will hear in the world of Saskatchewan auto insurance is “SGI.” SGI stands for Saskatchewan Government Insurance. This is our provincial auto insurance company. They started back in 1945 and are still going strong! Through the SGI Auto Fund, they are responsible for many things. For example, issuing driver’s licenses and providing you plate insurance and registration. SGI is also the one you will turn to if you have an insurance claim. Further, you will need to go through SGI to get a driver’s license or to plate your vehicle. To do either of these things, you will have to speak to a motor license issuer. Okay, so what is an issuer?
Motor License Issuer
There are motor license issuing offices in virtually every city, town, and village in Saskatchewan. Cities such as Regina or Saskatoon have quite a few, but even most smaller towns and villages have one. To find the office nearest one to you check out SGI’s site.
The issuer’s office is where you will go to renew your driver’s license, register the plate for your vehicle, and to get insurance! Issuing offices are run independently, each having its own staff, hours of operations, and locations. However, each one has the same strict guidelines they need to follow. SGI clearly spells out what can and cannot be done. They also provide training and ongoing support to their issuers. Therefore, this will protects you! This is because the advice that you receive at one issuer’s office will be the same as what you receive at another.
You might hear people refer to their issuing office as “SGI.” Such as, “I’m at SGI getting my plates renewed.” While that’s not strictly true, issuers are agents of SGI and acting on SGI’s behalf.
In order to operate a motor vehicle in Saskatchewan, you need to have a valid driver’s license. This is the license you use to drive. It also spells out what type of vehicle you can drive. It shows if you can drive a car or light vehicle, a motorcycle, school bus, or large transport truck. In order to obtain a driver’s license, you will need to pass a test. This test will have both a written and a driving component. If you want to obtain a license for a higher class of vehicles, there are higher requirements. For example, to operate semi-trucks or motorcycles, specialized driving training is required. If you have moved to Saskatchewan from other provinces or countries, you may be eligible to have a driver’s license transferred. Moreover, your motor license issuer will be able to tell you what documentation you need in order to do this.
When you register a vehicle in Saskatchewan, you also purchase insurance. This is often called “plate insurance,” which is different from other provinces. In most cases, Saskatchewan’s plate insurance provides you with $200,000 of third-party liability and with $700 deductibles. There are exceptions to this. For example, trailers, snowmobiles, and some large trucks will have different limits. However, for most cars, trucks, and SUVS, this is what the plates will provide.
A deductible is an amount that you need to pay in the event of a claim. There are many scenarios when you may need to pay a deductible, such as:
- If you are at fault in an accident.
- If you are a victim of a hit and run.
- If you have the misfortune of a hail claim.
- If your vehicle is vandalized.
In most cases, the deductible that you get with your plate insurance is $700. Further, your vehicle registration will show what your deductible is.
Auto Insurance: Liability
Your plate insurance provides you, in most situations, with $200,000 of coverage. However, there is liability insurance. This will provide coverage if you cause damage to someone else’s property or if you injure someone. For example, let’s say you were driving and hit another vehicle. In this case, $200,000 of liability would pay to cover their damages. This amount is the minimum required by law in Saskatchewan.
All Saskatchewan plated vehicles are insured through SGI and carry basic plate coverage. Further, you are able to have your driver’s license or plate insurance renewed at any SGI issuing office in the province.
Many people choose to purchase additional insurance. While $200,000 of liability insurance is sufficient to satisfy the law, it’s just too low. Some want to increase that to $2,000,000, or $5,000,000 or even more. Others want to lower their deductibles. Further, while paying $700 may not bankrupt someone, it is enough to be an inconvenience. Therefore, people like to purchase an additional policy to lower this deductible.
There are many additional coverages that are available. However, lower deductibles, higher liability, or replacement cost coverage are not part of your basic plate insurance coverage. For these, you need a separate policy. While you are able to renew your plates or driver’s license at any SGI issuing office, your extra insurance is renewed only through the location it was originally purchased from.
Terms, Terms, Terms
Here is where you will hear a number of terms thrown around. Auto Pak, Package Policy or Auto Extension Policy are among the most common. Some of them are specific names that specific insurance companies use. Auto Pak, for example, is a term that is specific to SGI CANADA.
Wait? What? SGI CANADA? I thought you said SGI?
SGI through their Auto Fund is responsible for basic plate insurance. SGI CANADA is an entirely separate company from SGI Auto Fund. SGI CANADA is a private insurance company that provides home insurance, commercial insurance, and additional auto insurance. While it shares part of the name, it is nonetheless, a separate company from SGI.
Auto Insurance, So Many Choices
Consumers have a choice of if they want additional insurance or not. They also have the choice of which insurance company provides it to them. Therefore, basic plate insurance is through SGI and is a mandatory requirement in order to operate a motor vehicle. However, additional insurance can be from one of a number of companies. For example, you can plate your vehicle at any motor license issuer. Well, you can also purchase additional insurance through any insurance agent or broker!
Broker or Motor License Issuer?
Insurance offices often have two separate functions. Many of them have a motor license issuer designation. This means that you can do the majority of your SGI transactions there. However, they also have an independent broker component. While that might sound confusing, it can actually make your life easy with one-stop shopping!
How Does Auto Insurance Work?
Say you purchased a vehicle and need to insure it. Well, first step is to come to our office at Campbell & Haliburton. You will speak with one of our motor license issuers, who can assist you in plating the vehicle. Once that is done, you have purchased the basic insurance required to drive! There is no need to go any further if that is all you are wanting. However, you may want to head down the hall to one of our brokers. These brokers can talk with you about any additional coverages that you might need. Further, they will provide you with a quote. If you choose to purchase, you got all your auto insurance needs completed all in one building!
Now as you walk out the door, you do so with the assurance that you are covered for what auto insurance you need. If you don’t have an insurance broker and want to talk to someone who is truly passionate about your insurance, contact us at Campbell & Haliburton Insurance. We would love to talk to you.
Office Manager & Licensed Insurance Broker