Tuesday, May 17, 2011

MPI - no, not a post about the cheques

Okay, a wee shout out about the cheques to get the ball rolling... yes, get over it, we were overcharged on our insurance. However, unlike if we were all using private insurance, we got a refund. If a private insurer took in too much in premiums I'm pretty sure it would just go to the shareholders as profit. I also put the details for one of my cars into an online multi-carrier insurance calculator for Alberta and the rates had a range of about $300 between the companies, and my MPI rate fell in there (to the lower end if they also have something similar to the registration charge that gets tacked on to ours - more to the middle if they don't).  Plus, for all the people that say they would rather have had the money in 2009/10 and just not paid too much in premiums, blah blah blah, would any of those people actually noticed the difference? Especially if you pay monthly? I would not have appreciated the paying $35.50 less every month, probably never would have noticed; I totally appreciate a nice big cheque for $426. Most people can't save money worth a damn, just thank MPI for helping you learn to save.

But like I said, this post isn't about the cheques. I don't know if what I'm going to talk about is a North End issue or a city-wide one, but I notice it one heck of a lot here on my side of the tracks, probably about twice a day.  Temporary insurance permits. Have you ever been out and about and seen a car with no plates and wondered what the heck was going on? Well, hopefully they had their temporary insurance papers taped in the front window on the passenger side, and hopefully they were still in date.

Now, there is a very legitimate use for the temporary insurance, I needed to use it myself last year. I purchased a car out of Province and I needed to be able to take it to get safetied, and obviously couldn't put regular insurance on it until I had received my safety certificate. So I got temporary insurance for a couple of days and was able to take it to the inspection station.

My beef is this: there are any number of cars running around the city, and it seems in particular in my neck of the woods, that are able to speed through red-light cameras (no back plate) and in general are missing the most vital piece of identification. It seems as though temporary insurance permits are like the Money Mart of insuring your car - it generally costs way more than it would if you renewed your regular policy, but if you don't have the cash to pay for the whole month/year the usual way, you can at least get your car on the road for a few days. Now, you are probably thinking I'm just being cynical, but I have actually heard numerous discussions by people that that is exactly why they get their insurance that way. You also get out of needing that pesky safety inspection on your car.

Now I called MPI to get a little more information on this whole concept and see where the loopholes might be. Apparently they claim that a person cannot get this maximum 30 day permit "more than a couple times" on a certain car per year, but there doesn't seem to be a finite amount, just that they would start questioning further should a person try it more than that. The car cannot have failed a safety inspection previously, however methinks that since these folks are not using it to go and get a safety on the car anyway, there is no risk of that. It seems as though it would be quite easy to just keep passing a car around between friends and family members and therefore being able to drive a potentially unsafe car around town.

As for the Money Mart comparison, it is $36 for a 5 day permit and a whopping $174 for the full 30 days, and that's with a $500 deductible! If you want the more reasonable $200 deductible you're looking at $48 to $236! Now I don't know what you pay for insurance, but I can insure almost my whole "fleet" (Winnipeg Girl has an addiction to cars) for that much! But hey, if all you have is fifty bucks it'll get you a few days, and many of the cars I see on this system are barely worth the $500 deductible.

Ok, so what's my point? Well, first of all, I'd like to see these cars be required to have a rear plate within 24 hours of entering Manitoba (people can get this insurance via fax, which is useful for purchasing a car out of Province - a legitimate use). People should also have to pay at least a $100 deposit to get that plate - this should keep people from using it instead of regular insurance and would provide a means of identifying the car.

Okay, now off to spend my MPI windfall!


  1. Oh boy, you struck a nerve.
    I see these cars all the time in my neck of the woods, and around town as well. I am always seeing cars with no license plates (front or back). Sometimes I am able to see a piece of paper in the front window.
    But what I am not able to see, as the car drives by, is the date on the paper on that windshield. How do I know if that vehicle is still insured? Or do they get the paper for a day, and run the vehicle all year?
    If I am looking for the license number on a vehicle doing an illegal dump, or stopping off at a boarded house to do some work, all I see is a vehicle with no plate.
    If I think the vehicle is engaged in illegal activities, I am not about to approach it to read the paper on the windshield.
    And I am seeing far more of these vehicles now than I have ever seen before.
    The police have a license plate reader, criminals run without plates.

  2. or if you're like me and you can't afford repairs right away but still want to drive a car around that's just as safe as it would have been, saftied.... i'd be one choked cat that you're putting me in that same pool of people. you gotta give some the benefit of the doubt now, because that's just ignorant. it's like saying all asians eat dogs, and will keep doing it, because they're not getting caught...

    can't just rant on the bad, i'll tell you now.

  3. If your car is "just as safe as it would have been, saftied" then wouldn't logic dictate you would get the safety done so that you could insure it normally, which would be much cheaper?

    As well, a big part of my rant is that the cars with temporary permits don't have plates on them to make them identifiable.

  4. no, because as far as your logic understands, it's a lot more complicated than that. little things like small amounts of rust on rockers, won't pass safety. it's a safety issue when it's only being held together by a thin piece of metal, but when there's only a small hole that requires a small plate welded in and grinded... well.. you know. or maybe you don't.

    i recently had to get my windshield replaced as well[and had alternator rebuilt], but it wasn't like it was in my way. it ran along the bottom, where i could see my car's hood. i changed it not because it's a safety issue, but because it looks like i do not maintain my vehicle like i should. and what's this about cars not being worth a certain deductable? import cars? they're most definitely worth it as parts are very VERY hard to come by.fact: the windshield i currently have on my vehicle came from ohio; there's only one more left of it in north america, and someone's already got it on hold.

    i'm only 20, but for being very, VERY mechanically inclined with my vehicle [as i've owned two others[same sister models] in the past, and my father is a mechanic] there's nothing mechanically wrong with it. it's just electrical, such as audio wiring [which is currently in the process of being deleted when i have time to do it anyway].

    my airbags work, my car drives straight. my lights all work, except in the cabin, but i can still see my dash just fine with only two lights in there working[once again, electrical]. nothing falls off the car, and i only have one seized bolt, and it's just a bolt that holds my rad cover in place. last but not least, my car alarm works just splendid. the majority of other cars don't even have working airbags, and they're insured. so wtf... what do you know?

  5. Winnipeg Girl.. I'm sorry.. you've missed the mark on the temporary insurance....

    Consider this...
    I have a sports car, and small kids. So when can I drive my sports car? No car seats.. Sheesh... maybe 3 or 4 weekends of a summer ..... Maybe

    So should I pay 900 a year for insurance? or how about the 500 for the summer months? Or.... if I know I'm gonna be able to drive it tomorrow..... Why not put 7 day temp on it today.... Yeah, I don't need a plate, so why put it on? Does it mean I'm gonna run lights, no.

    If I'm driving recklessly I'm sure I'll get a ticket. I've called in enough reckless drivers in my day giving the cops plate numbers, and I doubt anything ever happens. in fact, I called in a dangerous driver to the RCMP, and happened to follow this driver for an hour. we passed a couple cruisers, and none pulled around to check this guy out (Obviously drunk, high, or falling asleep at the wheel)

    As for the safety argument... How long have you owned your car? and of those years, how often have you been pulled in for a mandatory safety inspection? Once again the safety of the vehicles on the road isn't dependent on the way we insure the cars, but how we administer the vehicle safety inspection system.

    Temporary insurance has a several legitimate uses, and just because they aren't clear to you, doesn't mean they don't exist. Sorry, but I have to disagree with you.

    1. I am well aware there are legitimate uses for the temporary permits, I think you have missed the point of my post.

      The problem that I have observed previously (more on the previously part in a minute) was that there were many cars of questionable integrity driving around (not ALL of questionable integrity, but certainly quite a few) and that because the temporary permit system doesn't require folks to have a rear plate that many of these cars could get up to no good; running red lights being one example. Our temporary permit system should also have a real plate on the back, just like the Dealer and Repair plates require.

      Now, since I wrote this post I've noticed a sign at my local insurance agency stating that a maximum of 3 temporary permits will be issued to the same car/person (to by 100% honest, I don't remember which it was) in a year. Obviously I don't have any hard proof, but my observations tell me that this has cut down the problem that prompted me to write the post in the first place. I was seeing about 2 a day, now I see maybe a few a MONTH.

      As for your particular situation, to me it just seems like a hassle to keep getting temporary permits if you end up doing it like 3-4 times a year - I would rather just insure it for the 3 main months of summer and be able to be spontaneous, even if it cost a few extra $$.