So you’ve moved to Saskatchewan. Fantastic! From one transplant to another let me say “Welcome!” It is a great place to live, work and raise a family. But can I be honest? Sometimes our auto insurance can seem just a little confusing. When I moved here years ago I was confused . . . and I’m in insurance! Let me walk you through what auto insurance terms you will hear most often as well as what they mean.
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 things such issuing driver’s licenses and providing you plate insurance and registration. They are also the ones you will turn to if you have an insurance claim. In order to get a driver’s license or to plate your vehicle you will need to go through SGI . To do this you will normally need to go 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. Larger centres such as Regina or Saskatoon actually have quite a few. But even most smaller towns and villages have at least one. To find the office nearest you go to: https://www.sgi.sk.ca/issuer
The issuer office is where you will go to actually renew your driver’s license or to register the plate for your vehicle and to get insurance. Issuing offices are run independently, each having their own staff, hours of operations, and locations, however each one has the same strict guidelines that they need to follow. SGI clearly spells out what can and cannot be done and how it is to be done. They also provide training and ongoing support to their issuers. This protects you because it means the advice that you receive at one issuer office should be the same as what you receive at another no matter where you are in the province.
You will occasionally hear people referring to their issuing office as “SGI” as in “I’m at SGI getting my plates renewed.” That’s not strictly true, but issuers are certainly 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. The license you use to drive. It also spells out what type of vehicle you can drive. Your license will show if you are able to 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 that has both a written and a driving component. Obtaining a license for a higher class of vehicle requires higher requirements still. More specialized driving training is required in order to operate semi trucks and motorcycles. People, such as myself, who have moved to Saskatchewan from other provinces or countries may be eligible to have their driver’s license transferred. Your motor license issuer will be able to tell you exactly what documentation you need in order to do this.
When you register a vehicle in Saskatchewan you also purchase insurance, often called “plate insurance.” This 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, such as trailers, snowmobiles, and some large trucks have different limits. But for most cars, trucks, SUVs and minivans this is what the plates will provide.
A deductible is the amount that you need to pay in the event of a claim. If you are at fault in an accident, if you are the victim of a hit and run or if you have the misfortune of a hail claim or have your vehicle vandalized you would be responsible to pay your deductible. In most cases the deductible that you get with your plate insurance is $700. Your vehicle registration will show what your deductible is.
Auto Insurance: Liability
Your plate insurance also provides you, in most situations, with $200,000 of coverage. Liability insurance provides coverage if you cause damage to someone else’s property or if you injure someone else. For example, if you were driving and hit another vehicle, your $200,000 of liability would pay to cover their damages. $200,000 is the minimum required by law in Saskatchewan.
All Saskatchewan plated vehicles are insured through SGI and carry basic plate coverage. You are able to have your driver’s license or plate insurance renewed at any SGI issuing office in the province.
Some people choose to purchase additional insurance. For many people driving with $200,000 of liability insurance, while sufficient to satisfy the law, is just too low. They want to increase that to $2,000,000, or $5,000,000 or even more. Others want to lower their deductibles. For them, while paying $700 is not enough to bankrupt them, it is enough to be an inconvenience. So they purchase an additional policy to lower their deductible. Others travel distances on gravel roads and are concerned about damage to their windshield. Still others purchased a brand new vehicle and want to protect their investment with replacement cost.
These are all 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 would be 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, and is a sister company, 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 and if so, which insurance company they want to use to provide it to them. While the basic plate insurance is always through SGI and is a mandatory requirement in order to operate a motor vehicle, the additional insurance can be from one of a number of companies. While you can go to any motor license issuer to plate your vehicle or renew your driver’s license, you purchase any additional insurance through an 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. But 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 and you come to our office at Campbell & Haliburton. The first thing that you will do is speak with one of our motor license issuers to 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 who can talk with you about any additional coverages that you might need, whether lower deductibles, replacement cost or higher liability. They will provide you with a quote and if you agree you can purchase the additional insurance without ever need to leave the 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
Our Trusted Regina Insurance Agents at Campbell & Haliburton have your best interests and safety in mind and our commitment to customer service is one of the pillars of our business. We also know insurance inside and out, so please contact us for all of your insurance needs and we will be more than happy to help ensure what you value most is protected.