Natural disasters and the frequency of severe weather have led more people in Alberta to carry comprehensive auto insurance than in any other province in Canada.
“I think a lot of Albertans think about the damage that can be caused by hail and so do purchase that comprehensive,” said Heather Mack of the Insurance Bureau of Canada.
They needed it in August, when damage caused by hailstorms in the Calgary area added up to more than $100 million.
“Calgary is definitely the hail capital of Canada,” said Robbie Derrick, operations director at Know-How Systems in northeast Calgary.
“It sees more action because of the mountain range,” he said.
His business alone has seen more than 1,000 hail-damaged cars in the past three weeks, and Derrick expects the lineups to continue well into October.
Because so many Albertans have coverage, many of those vehicle owners will likely get some money back on the cost of repairs.
Ninety-one per cent of Albertans have comprehensive auto insurance, a figure that’s 10- to 15-per cent higher than in other provinces, according to Mack.
“That’s probably due to the fact that we get most of the severe weather in the province,” she said.
“So last year about 62 per cent of the natural disasters were here in Alberta, which is continuing a pretty longstanding trend.”
The relative affordability of comprehensive insurance compared to buying only liability insurance is another factor, she says, although Albertans are less likely to buy windshield coverage.
“It’s very common for Albertans to not buy windshield insurance — largely because of the price of it and how often those windshields are dinged on highways and chipped on the roads.”