Getting into an accident is a very scary and confusing situation. If you do find yourself involved in a collision, you may be curious about your coverage afterwards. Do you need your insurance policy still? Does the rental company provide it with their vehicle? If your car is a total loss, does it get removed from my policy? If this happens to you, don’t worry, we’ve got the resources to help get you through it. In this article, we address some of the common misconceptions around your insurance coverage after an accident.
What should I do after a car accident?
If you are involved in a car accident in Ontario, it’s important to gather as much information about the accident if you intend to submit a claim. Speaking with witnesses, taking photos and collecting the other driver’s details is extremely important. It will be difficult to gather this information in the weeks that follow the collision. For a rundown of the proper steps at the scene after an accident, please see our article: “So you’ve gotten into an accident…now what?”
Remember, in the province of Ontario, you can face criminal prosecution charges if you do not stop the car after an accident.
Who do I call after an accident?
Work with your claims adjuster
Once you decide to file a claim and submit the necessary paperwork, you will receive a call from one of your insurer’s claims adjusters. Your adjuster will review your policy with you so you understand what you are covered for and which items the company will compensate you for. The adjuster can answer any questions you might have about the process.
Contact your isure broker
When you are involved in an accident, you will need to deal with your broker directly. If you have questions that you want answered at any time during the claims process, you can reach out to your isure broker for help. Problems with your insurance adjuster? Give us a call for support – it’s what we’re here for! It’s important to have an independent insurance broker like isure at your side to help navigate the world of Ontario car insurance.
FYI: You must submit an accident report within 7 days, ideally 24 hours.
Rental vehicles – Your insurance policy
Canadian drivers are not required to purchase additional insurance from the rental car company when renting a car. However, you do need to have ample coverage that will cover you in case of an accident. If you have Loss of Use coverage (OPCF 20), your rental car will be covered by your policy. You can keep it until your car repairs are complete or until your coverage limit is reached—whichever comes first. OPCF 20 is an endorsement you can add to your current policy, meaning it does not come as standard.
FSCO defines it as coverage that “provides you with a replacement vehicle or reimburses you for your transportation costs, while your vehicle is being repaired or replaced after being damaged by an insured peril.” In other words, a Loss of Use policy covers your cost of transportation while you wait, which is why your insurance after an accident is so important. It applies whether you choose to rent a car, take public transit or call a cab. Therefore, if you have OPCF 20, you can get a rental. A quick call to your insurer or isure broker can confirm this.
The OPCF 20 will provide a rental car if yours is in the shop for repairs as a result of collision or vandalism.
Rental company insurance coverage
In all parts of Canada, third-party liability coverage is required to operate a vehicle. Because of this, the legal minimum is often included with your rental car, but always double check to be sure. Without it, you will have to pay out-of-pocket for any damages. Even a minor accident can cost thousands of dollars in damage.
Repairing your car after an accident
In the event of a total loss, meaning your vehicle is not repairable, you’ll need to notify your insurance adjuster and your broker right away. You will need to notify your isure broker to remove that car from your policy. If you decide to go to your own shop if it can be repaired (and not one recommended to you), there are some things to keep in mind. You also need to alert isure if you take money from your claim to repair your vehicle and provide your broker with the repair receipt.
Do you need to have insurance if you’re not driving currently?
Even if you are not currently driving your car, it’s important to keep your insurance after an accident. If you cancel your insurance, it can affect your premiums. Your vehicle also won’t be covered against damage that happens while the car is parked. To avoid paying full premiums while you are not driving, you have other options besides cancelling your insurance, such as:
Pause/Suspension and Reinstatement of Coverage
- OPCF 16 is for “Suspension of Coverage.” It cancels your car insurance until it is reinstated. For that, you need the following
- OPCF 17 is for “Reinstatement of Coverage.”
By suspending insurance coverage, you are giving up the four main components of car insurance protection:
- Third-Party Liability – For when you hit someone’s property.
- Direct Compensation for Property Damage (DCPD) – Compensation for ‘not-at-fault’ accidents.
- Accident Benefits – Coverage for injuries sustained in an accident.
- Uninsured Motorist – Hit by someone that is uninsured.
Depending on your insurer, fees may also apply. Typically, there usually are no fees charged to add the OPCF 17 and remove the OPCF 16 from your policy. To learn more about these suspended coverages, click here. However, you will be paying less premiums while your car is not being used and you won’t have a lapse if you pause and keep basic coverage. Depending on your insurer, fees may also apply.
Remember: Basic insurance coverage is better than having none or cancelling!
Consequences of getting into an accident without insurance coverage
Driving without insurance is not a risk worth taking. If you get into an accident without insurance, you’ll be held responsible for paying for the repairs to your car, and the cost of any medical bills. If you’re found at-fault, you’ll also be liable for any resulting charges. The charges can be the person’s vehicle, their medical expenses, or replacing income if they’re unable to return to work. Finally, if you attempt to get auto insurance afterwards, you’ll likely be paying much steeper premiums than if you had kept your policy active.
The Liability for Damage to Non-Owned Automobile(s) endorsement, or OPCF 27, provides physical damage coverage to vehicles that you may operate, but do not personally own. This endorsement financially protects drivers after getting into a car accident in a rented or borrowed vehicle. This type of separate add-on coverage protects you under select circumstances. By law, an OPCF 27 isn’t an insurance requirement. In fact, drivers should be aware that they can legally borrow a family member’s vehicle for a short period of time without obtaining additional coverage. But, if you plan on borrowing or renting a car for several days or weeks, driving without the OPCF 27 endorsement is not recommended.
What does a lapse in your insurance mean?
A lapse in your insurance means you went without insurance for a time. Common reasons for a lapsed car insurance policy include when you sell your car, your car breaking down, or after an accident. Insurers don’t like to see gaps in auto insurance coverage because it can imply you may be driving without insurance. This will cause you to be labeled as a high-risk driver, which can double your premiums.
Replacing your vehicle
If, as a result of the accident, you decide to replace your previous vehicle, most insurance brokers and insurers will update your policy to cover the new vehicle. This means you don’t have to cancel and take out a new policy. Changing the policy may include an additional premium to reflect any additional risk or cost associated with your new car. However, this is likely cheaper than cancelling and taking out a new policy.
At isure, our brokers have your best interests at heart and work hard to provide a 24/7 stress-free claims service. From initial response to getting it fixed, we’re here to provide you fast, friendly service. For more information, contact your isure broker today.