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!