Can a Pikachu Lead to an Increase in My Car Insurance Rate?

In just a few weeks since its initial release on July 6, 2016, Pokémon Go has become an international cultural phenomenon; causing many to bury their heads in their cellphones while hunting the digital creatures, and posing a whole new threat to pedestrians and motorists alike.

Pokemon Pikachu Car Insurance 1It’s the latest craze that’s causing people all over the world to get outside, cross busy highways, crash vehicles and even walk off the edge of a cliff. It may be an unorthodox statement to make, but for some people, catching Pokémon may soon be a reason for auto insurance rate increases.

Once Pokémon Go was released to the Canadian public on Sunday afternoon, many iPhone and Android smartphone users took to downloading the augmented-reality mobile game with hopes of being the best like no one ever was. So many, that the app’s servers crashed within an hour of the game being released. But as more and more users try to “catch 'em all”, there have also been reports of injuries, collisions and distracted driving due to the game.

Pokemon Pikachu Car Insurance 2The Nintendo game is evidently posing as a distraction for pedestrians and motorists alike, as it requires players to hold up their smartphones and physically travel to real-life locations in order to find Pokémon as they appear on the screen.

Among the many stories of trespassing Pokémon-seekers and misconduct, also comes many reports of Pokémon-related traffic incidents. In Pennsylvania, a 15-year-old girl was playing the game while crossing a busy road when she was hit by a car. In Seattle, a 28-year-old driver told officials he was distracted by the game when he rear-ended a Chevy. And just last week, a driver in Québec City reversed into a police cruiser in a parking lot while playing the game.

Travelling distracted can end more than just the game…

With the rise of the cellphone, distracted driving has become a leading cause for accidents as well as car-related injuries and fatalities in Canada. Not paying attention on the road puts pedestrians, motorists and cyclists at risk. Laws and penalties have increased to emphasize the seriousness of the matter, but now police forces are worried the game may lure people into potentially dangerous situations and are cautioning players to use their common sense. Not only are Pokémon-catching pedestrians less attentive to oncoming traffic, drivers are also tempted to check for Pokémon in the area while behind the wheel. The best way to play it safe is to put the phone away, pay attention to your surroundings while on the road, and save your PokéBalls for open areas away from traffic (a true trainer knows how easy it is to run out of those!).

Gotta catch 'em all… but at what cost?

You could be answering a phone call or tracking down a Meowth – no matter your excuse, you should not drive, walk or ride distracted. Paying attention to what is happening around you and not what is on your phone, not only makes the roads safer for you but also for everyone else around you.