THE BLOG

Turns Out Canadians Don't Always Play By The Rules

08/30/2013 12:16 EDT | Updated 10/30/2013 05:12 EDT

Canadians are typically known for being polite, apologetic and careful. But when it comes to insurance, a new Leger research study commissioned for PC Insurance, suggests we're not always following the rules -- or playing it safe.

While no Canadians would ever admit to driving without car insurance, a quarter of us say we've been involved in accidents that we have not reported to our insurance providers. Why? According to the survey, 13 per cent said it was because the damage was so minor they didn't feel the need to make a claim, 10 per cent reported it was because they didn't want their rates to increase, and 8 per cent said it was because the other driver didn't want to report it to their insurance provider.

But what about when the other driver isn't there? Seven out of 10 Canadians think that if a driver dings another car in parking lot, they should leave a note with their information. Only one per cent say it would be OK to do nothing, and simply drive away. That's what Canadians say another person driving should do -- but when it comes to our own actual experience it's an altogether different story. While 16 per cent of survey respondents reported they have indeed dinged another car, fully 20 per cent of those who have admitted they actually drove away without doing anything. Another 49 per cent left a note with their information, and 31 per cent actually waited to speak to the other driver. It's a little bit of listen to what I say, not watch what I do.

The same is true when it comes to home insurance. Overall, 89 per cent of Canadians surveyed have home insurance, and for the ones who don't, the key reason cited is the expense. Interestingly, though, there is no relationship between household income and the decision not to purchase insurance. And while many of us make sure our homes and their contents are covered by our policies, ironically we're not always following some basic safeguards to ensure our belongings are protected from being stolen rather than merely damaged.

In the new age of social media, it is extremely tempting to share details of sun holidays and family vacations online. Trouble is, social media is just that: social. Of Canadians surveyed, 57 per cent said they share their vacation details on their public social media channels, such as Facebook, Twitter and Pinterest), leaving them open to possible break-and-enters. Older Canadians are less likely to share than younger, but that finding is probably driven more by the incidence of social media use in these age groups rather than attitude.

While social media is a new risk some Canadians are taking, surprisingly only 61 per cent of us take traditional security precautions, such as always having friends, family or neighbours check on our homes while we're away. Those with home insurance are more likely to do so.

With 78 per cent of us worrying about our insurance rates increasing but only 73 per cent of us trusting our insurance provider to be giving us the best coverage, there's some homework we can do.

While most Canadians hold insurance for their homes, and by law, their vehicles, there is also room for taking extra precautions to avoid having to make an insurance claim, or understanding when we really need to make one.

Canadians are known for saying "sorry," but there is no need to be sorry. It only takes a few minutes to find out about the types and associated costs of insurance to protect ourselves and our families by talking to an insurance broker.

About the PC® Insurance survey

The survey of 1500 Canadians was conducted for President's Choice Services between June 24 and June 26 using Leger's online panel. A probability sample of the same size would yield a margin of error of +/- 2.5 per cent, 19 times out of 20.

Kathy Buckworth is Chief Family Advisor for President's Choice Financial.

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