Prince Edward Island has had a curious relationship with cars throughout its history. In 1908, all cars were banned from the island’s roads, though that law had some loopholes literally big enough to drive through. In 1917, communities were given the power to decide if the car ban would be lifted locally and by 1919, all bans were gone. Also in 1917, the first ice-breaking car ferry began service, with that vessel staying in service until 1968. It was 1924 before PEI adopted right-hand side driving to come in line with the rest of North America. Finally, in 1997, the Confederation Bridge opened, permanently connecting the island province with the rest of Canada.
Required Car Insurance in PEI
In common with all other provinces in Canada, PEI has mandatory car insurance levels that must be in place before you can legally drive in the province. The provincial system is private insurance based and three sections of insurance comprise minimum mandatory coverage.
Third-party liability coverage is common to all mandatory provincial standards. PEI has a $200,000 per accident minimum to cover third parties against at-fault injury or property damage. Where the minimum coverage is in place and met, payments for property damage are capped at $10,000 if adjacent claims for injury are involved.
Accident benefits are also mandatory and provided on a no-fault basis, meaning that the driver’s own insurance pays for medical treatment, rehabilitation and income replacement among other benefits. This makes PEI’s system a modified no-fault insurance program since third-parties retain the right to sue if damages exceed amounts covered by no-fault provisions.
Uninsured automobile coverage is the third mandatory requirement of the provincial plan, protecting the insured if their vehicle is in a collision with an uninsured vehicle.
Non-mandatory collision and comprehensive coverage is available, as well as a range of optional endorsements to customize policies for insurance buyers.
Roadway Safety in PEI
With less than 150,000 residents in the province, traffic is not the concern that it can be in urban centers such as Toronto and Montreal. Nonetheless, the province places importance on car safety, and has made significant reductions in the number of traffic incidents. While 2015 saw a spike in traffic fatalities with 18, compared to just 5 in 2014, overall injuries were down to 379, nearly half the level of 2000.
Impaired driving convictions are even more impressive. Total convictions in 2015 were 238. Considering there were 1,570 in 1980, the province has come a long way. The 2015 number was the lowest ever in the province since 1980.
Average Car Insurance Costs
A 2011 study of average car insurance premiums across Canada showed PEI behind only Quebec on the list of lowest car insurance costs. The average PEI motorist paid $695 to insure his car, compared with $1,113 paid by a British Columbia driver, the second-highest insurance cost in the country.