Understanding your auto insurance policy can be daunting, but take comfort in the fact that you are not the only one with questions. Ontario law requires that all motorists have car insurance, but do you have enough of the right coverage? Here are the answers to your FAQs about car insurance in Ontario:
CAN YOU GET TEMPORARY CAR INSURANCE IN ONTARIO?
Ontario is prominently known as the most expensive province for car insurance in Canada. If you are a driver seeking temporary coverage, options are quite limited. You may drive on the roads only if you have the mandatory minimum level of insurance for the vehicle. This mandatory insurance covers many areas, with third-party liability insurance taking center stage. This is to protect from any damages caused to other people’s health and property due to your driving fault.
Currently, you cannot purchase short-term policies in this province. Standard one-year policies are the most common type being offered, though the shortest term is six months, offered by very few companies.
DOES AUTO INSURANCE COVER PRE-EXISTING DAMAGE?
Insurance policies do not usually cover pre-existing damages. Pre-existing damage refers to any damages that your vehicle already had before you bought your insurance policy. This may include previous damages that you didn’t repair or normal wear-and-tear to your vehicle.
Your insurance company may deny you coverage for pre-existing damages because:
- They are not required to cover damages to your vehicle that occurred before you had a policy with them
- They do not have the facts they would need to make a determination on your claim
Costs would rise if insurance companies covered pre-existing damages. In turn, the average policy rates would increase as well, which would affect any future claims that you make. While it may be possible to buy insurance with pre-existing damage, you will have to notify your insurance company of these damages.
DO UNLICENSED DRIVERS HAVE COVERAGE?
Unlicensed drivers are not covered by auto insurance. If you let an unlicensed driver use your car and they get into a car accident, it is very likely that your claim will be denied. In the event of an accident with an unlicensed driver behind the wheel, the insurance company of the vehicle being driven by that unlicensed driver will refuse to pay their liability or property damage. Your comprehensive coverage will usually pay you out and claim the damages from the other driver.
DOES MY AUTO INSURANCE COVER A BLOWN ENGINE?
The short answer is: No. A typical car insurance policy only covers accident-related repairs to your vehicle, not issues related to wear-and-tear. Whether it’s routine maintenance, a mechanical failure or a blown engine, car insurance in Ontario will most likely not cover the costs of repairing or replacing your vehicle. The car engine is one of the most expensive parts in your car and any damage or breakdown may be covered by an extended warranty.
WHICH TYPE OF AUTO INSURANCE COVERS WINDSHIELD REPLACEMENT?
Are you covered for windshield cracks and damage? We don’t give it much thought until a stone or other road debris flies up and hits the windshield. Driving with a cracked windshield can compromise your safety. In most cases, auto glass repair and damaged windshields are not included with basic plans, but are included with additional policies. Windshield repair insurance is an add-on that is commonly included in comprehensive coverage. It includes the cost to repair or replace your windshield should it be damaged from stones and other debris coming into contact with it. If you do not have this additional protection, repairs may only be covered if it is caused by another vehicle or a falling object.
Avoid delaying the repair. Cracked windshields can reduce your visibility and can be a safety hazard. Check your agreement or speak with your insurance broker to verify what is covered.
WILL AUTO INSURANCE COVER ROAD DAMAGE?
Nothing can derail your daily commute more than a sudden jolt to your car and the realization that you have driven through a pothole. Understanding your insurance policy and any additional coverages purchased is important at times like these.
If your wheel and tire are damaged as a result of road bumps, your car insurance in Ontario will likely cover the damage under the collision or all-perils provision of your policy. These are optional add-ons to your policy. Should you decide to submit a claim for the damage, bear in mind that you are responsible for paying the deductible first. So if you have a $500 or $1000 deductible and the pothole damage is less than this amount, it would not make sense to file a claim.
You should also be aware that if you strike an object on the road, it will be deemed an at-fault claim by your insurance company. At-fault accidents stay on your record for a minimum of six years and could cause your rates to rise at renewal time.
DOES MY AUTO INSURANCE POLICY COVER HAIL OR WATER DAMAGE?
While car insurance is mandatory in Ontario, the minimum insurance requirement doesn’t provide for any vehicle damage coverage. Basic car insurance in Ontario does not cover hail or water damage to your vehicle, despite living in a country that sees several months of winter. In this case, additional comprehensive coverage is required for both.
Most comprehensive coverage will cover hail damage on your vehicle, but double check with your isure broker regarding the fine print. Some insurance providers also require a declaration for storm damage on your vehicle.
If you drive through water and it causes damage to your vehicle, you can also claim this under your comprehensive coverage. However, water damage caused by leaving your windows open would not be covered because it is seen as preventable. In summary, you cannot know how much water will cause severe damage to your car. Even a small puddle could splash water up beneath your car and cause damage to your electronics. If at all possible, aim to avoid water obstacles whenever it is safe to do so.
IS MY ATV COVERED UNDER MY AUTO POLICY?
No, you need separate off-road vehicle insurance in Ontario to drive all-terrain vehicles on public property or to access public roadways. If you have an ATV in Ontario, chances are that you will use it in public areas. Therefore, you require insurance for these recreational vehicles, just as you would for a car. You can get coverage for when you’re out on the trails or for storage during off-season.
It is not mandatory to be insured if you ride on private property. However, all it takes is one accident or crash to make your policy worthwhile. It is important to remember that if you get into an accident or have your off-road vehicle stolen without insurance, you’ll be financially responsible to pay for damages or replacement. The upside, however, is that you may be able to get a discount on coverage for your vehicles if you bundle your policies with the same ATV insurance company. Ask your isure broker for details!
I’VE ACCIDENTALLY HIT AN ANIMAL WITH MY CAR. DOES THIS AFFECT MY CAR INSURANCE?
One of the most confusing questions about car insurance in Ontario involves wildlife damage. A collision with an animal can cause serious damage to your vehicle. Comprehensive coverage is an optional addition to your car insurance that helps repair or replace your car from damage outside of your control, such as hitting an animal.
In Ontario, hitting a live animal is considered a not at-fault accident, and should not impact your premium. However, if you hit a wild animal that was dead from a previous collision, the accident will most likely fall under your collision insurance, and you may see your premium increase as it may be deemed “avoidable.”
We hope that we’ve answered all of your common questions around car insurance. As always, if you have any further questions, please feel free to contact your isure broker today.