Steep hikes proposed for motorcycle insurance

Motorcycle insurance rates could be going up by an average of 73 per cent — and bike lovers are up in arms.

Motorcycle insurance rates could be going up by an average of 73 per cent — and bike lovers are up in arms. 

Saskatchewan Government Insurance is asking for the province's rate review panel to approve the change as part of a package of rate adjustments scheduled to go into effect in April.

On average, rates will go up about 2 per cent, with part of the increase in effect for three years to replenish SGI's rainy day fund.

Some rates will go up and others will go down, but the most dramatic change will be sport bikes and bikes with engines over 400 cubic centimetres.

Saskatoon's Colby Guldie just bought a new motorcycle and found out his rate could go from $180 a month to $368 month. He says that's not fair.

"You know, if I'm at fault for an incident I think, yeah, I should be paying more, that makes sense to me," he said. "But I'm five years running now with a clean motorcycle record. I don't think I should be having my rates doubled, bam, just like that."

Guldie says it's unfair that SGI is lumping smaller bikes with much faster ones. He's already written to politicians and to SGI and says he'll attend public hearings to fight the proposed increase.

While almost all motorcycle users will pay double-digit increases, some will pay even more.

To look at an extreme case, someone with an old sport bike (1982 and older) with a 1200-cc engine who used to pay $1,001 a year might have to pay $4,309 in future — a 331 per cent increase. 

Explaining the proposed hikes, SGI president Andrew Cartmell said motorcycle users have relatively high injury claim costs. The proposed increase is "significant", but with the rates as they currently are, motorcycle users are essentially being subsidized by all the other drivers, he said.

"We're basically collecting, in some cases, not even half the premium we should be depending on the type of motorcycle," he said.

The rate review panel will hold public hearings on the proposed increases.

If the panel gives the green light and cabinet approves, the higher rates will take effect Aug. 31.