The topics in the Dial-A-Law series provide general information on legal issues within the Province of Alberta. The purpose of this topic is to inform you of your legal rights and responsibilities. This is not legal advice. If you require legal advice, you should contact a lawyer.
This topic will discuss the consequences of driving your vehicle without insurance.
Driving in Alberta
In Alberta, every car owner must have a minimum amount of insurance on their vehicle. It is the car owner’s duty to make sure any vehicle they own is insured. When a person purchases a vehicle, they must insure it before they drive it off the car lot. Make sure that the insurance is in effect before driving the new vehicle. There is no grace period for obtaining insurance. Insurance cannot be transferred from an old vehicle to the new vehicle by simply transferring the license plate. The owner of the new vehicle must make the proper arrangement for new insurance with their insurance company.
Driving without Insurance
If a vehicle is uninsured and it is driven or parked on any public road, private road, alley or parking lot, the owner of the vehicle may be issued a ticket for “Driving without Insurance”.
If a person is ticketed for “Driving without Insurance” for the first time, they will receive a minimum fine of $2,500.00, up to $10,000.00. If a person receives another ticket within five years from the date they were issued the previous ticket, they will receive a minimum fine of $5,000.00, up to $20,000.00, and if payment is not made in time they will receive a term of imprisonment of at least 60 days, up to 6 months.
Note: If a person receives a notice of administrative penalty under the new Provincial Administrative Penalties Act, they will receive the fine specified in the Act.
If you received a ticket for “Driving without Insurance” and you believe you had valid insurance at the time, you must provide the Court with a letter from your insurance company stating that the vehicle you were driving was in fact insured on the date you were issued the ticket. If this letter is provided, the Crown will most likely withdraw the charges.
Driving without Insurance and Motor Vehicle Accidents
If a person is driving without insurance on their vehicle and they cause a motor vehicle accident, they will be held personally responsible for damages suffered by the other party.
If the injured party serves you with a Statement of Claim, hire a civil lawyer to assist you in a defence if you believe that the accident was not your fault. If the Court finds that the accident was a person’s fault, they must pay the injured party the damages resulting from the motor vehicle accident.
Alberta Motor Vehicle Accident Claims Fund
A person injured in a motor vehicle accident may also try to collect from the Alberta Motor Vehicle Accident Claims Fund. To access this Fund, a person must consult a lawyer and ensure they have the correct documentation. This Fund is for injured parties to recover damages up to $200,000 if;
- they are in an accident with a driver who has no insurance on their vehicle; or
- they are in a ‘hit and run’ situation and the party does not know who to sue.
If the Court has assigned blame for an accident to the uninsured party, the injured party may assign that judgment to the Fund. The Fund then pays that amount to the injured party and will then collect the judgment from the uninsured party.
The Fund may collect the amount of money in several ways, including negotiating reasonable monthly payments. If the person fails to make payments, their drivers licence could be suspended until payments are made.
Dial-A-Law is a Calgary Legal Guidance public service project funded in part by the Alberta Law Foundation.