There are many reasons why a driver may choose to stop using one (or more) of their vehicles. Maybe it needs expensive repairs that require some saving to address. Or, perhaps the main driver is off to university. Or, maybe it is just not needed at the moment, but could be useful in the future.
Choosing whether to keep your parked vehicle insured depends on the situation. In municipalities, parked vehicles do not require insurance if they are in a garage or enclosure. In Calgary, uninsured and/or unregistered vehicles must be kept off the street. Parked vehicles on streets must be insured and operable and cannot sit in the same location for more than 72 hours or they could be considered abandoned and removed.
Should you insure your parked vehicle?
Even if you have a garage or safe space to park your vehicle for a long period of time, if it is leased or financed you more than likely have to maintain its insurance coverage. Lenders often stipulate that the vehicle be insured at all times, regardless of its use. Be sure to read the terms of your loan closely.
Those who own their vehicles outright and have a garage or safe space to park it can safely cancel their vehicle insurance policy at any time. Cancellation fees often apply, however, and you may lose discounts earned through few or no insurance claims and a good driving record. Before you cancel, be sure to shop around a bit. Most vehicle insurance companies allow their policy-holders to suspend their coverage rather than completely cancel it. Calling a certified insurance broker such as us at Lane’s can help you gain a big-picture view of all your options.
If you are unable to park your unused vehicle in a garage or private storage, then you have no choice but to keep it insured. A parked vehicle on the street must be operable, moved regularly, and insured. For insurance purposes, you could consider removing collision coverage from your policy, depending on the value of the vehicle. Again, insurance brokers such as us at Lane’s can help you understand all that is available. Removing collision coverage does come with risks, as hit-and-runs are not covered without it. And we all know how slippery our side roads become during the winter in Alberta. If your parked vehicle is of higher value, continuing your collision coverage often makes sense, but there may be other ways to access savings on your policy, such as through the reduced number of kilometres being driven.
Motorcycles are parked for long periods, too
Motorcycles are also parked for several months of the year, but only because Alberta weather doesn’t allow them to be ridden. Motorcycle insurance works to cover your bike year-round, but does take into consideration that motorcycle usage is much lower than that of a regular vehicle. Companies generally offer annual policies, but payments will not be charged off-season (often from November through February). They are convenient policies, as you don’t have to remember to “re-up” every spring, and your coverage remains valid all year. You are free to take advantage of unusually warm conditions if a Chinook wind hits between November and February.
Steep penalties for driving without insurance in Alberta
Driving without insurance carries a very serious penalty in Alberta. Even a first offense will earn an uninsured driver a minimum fine of $2,875. Depending upon the details of the offense, that fine can go all the way up to $10,000. Those who are unable to afford the fine will face from 45 days to six months in jail.
Continuing to drive without insurance will result in even harsher penalties. A second offense within a five-year period of the first earns a minimum fine of $5,000 and a maximum fine of $20,000, or from 60 days to six months in jail.
In addition to financial and criminal penalties, if you are caught driving without insurance it will be much harder to find a company to cover you. You will likely be considered a high-risk driver and your insurance rates will skyrocket.
It’s a great time to sell
As a reminder, if you have a vehicle sitting around that is not being used, due to a continued shortage of new and used vehicles now is a great time to consider selling. There remains a supply-chain shortage caused by the pandemic of items (particularly semiconductor microchips) needed for new vehicles, and used vehicles are selling very quickly. Many are finding that they are getting much more for their used vehicle than they would have pre-COVID. If you happen to have an “extra” vehicle that is not needed, now is a great time to clean it up, take some pics, and post it to the Internet.
Lane’s Insurance covers Alberta
At Lane’s Insurance, we are committed to helping drivers enjoy the lowest possible rates on motorcycle and auto insurance in Calgary and throughout Alberta. As a service-oriented company with multiple industry partnerships, we are able to provide highly competitive rates and value-added customer service. Contact us at our Calgary, Banff, Edmonton, or greater Alberta offices.