Accidents happen. It can be overwhelming, but remember that you’re not alone. If you’re in the process of filing an auto claim and aren’t sure of where to begin, we’ve compiled answers to some of the most common questions to help set you up for success.
Opening and closing a claim
Do I have to file an auto claim?
By law, you must report any ‘incidents’ involving the drivers or vehicles listed on your policy to your insurance company. The Statutory/General conditions set out in the Standard Automobile Policy in each province outline when an ‘incident’ should be reported. Whether or not you decide to file a claim depends on a number of factors. Your isure representative can help you discuss the accident and make recommendations best suited to your individual set of circumstances.
To understand how the claims process works, please click here.
Should you make an insurance claim?
One of the more important factors when considering filing a claim is your auto policy deductible amount. If your claim is more than the deductible (the part you pay to your insurer before they release any money), it’s likely worth it to make a claim. However, your isure broker is here to help you weigh up your choices when you’re unsure.
What happens after filing an auto claim?
Once your claim is reported, you will be contacted by the claims adjuster assigned to your file. In some cases, the adjuster will want to meet with you in person; in other cases, the entire claim will be handled over the telephone. To support your claim, you may also be required to complete a claim form, also known as a Proof of Loss form (a sworn statement in support of your claim). Your claims adjuster will determine the extent to which the claim is covered by your insurance policy, explain the coverages provided by your policy, and help guide you through the entire claims process.
Can I cancel an open auto claim?
Yes. Insurers will generally allow you to cancel an open claim. However, your ability to cancel will depend on how far you are along in the process. As long as you haven’t already been compensated, you should be able to cancel.
If you’ve already started a claim, it will stay on your driving record, even if you withdraw.
At-fault / Not at-fault determination
If I make a claim, will my premium increase?
Several factors determine your premium, such as your location, your vehicle, your driving record, and yes, filing a claim. If you are found at-fault, generally speaking, you can expect your premiums to go up. There are exceptions, however, including if you have accident forgiveness on your policy, which means they essentially ignore a first-time accident.
To learn more about other add-on endorsements to help protect you better and save you money on your car insurance, please click here.
What does being “at-fault” mean?
Whenever there is a collision, someone is always considered to be ‘at-fault’ – fully or partially. Insurance companies use At-Fault Accident Determination Rules to determine who bears fault and how much, so that all accidents are assessed fairly. It’s important to call your broker or agent about filing a claim, even if you are at-fault. Fault is measured in percentages. so you may be found only partially at-fault.
What is “no-fault” insurance?
In Ontario, no-fault insurance means you’ll deal with your own car insurance company for claims. Your report, along with the police report, are critical components to assigning fault. However, your insurance company will have the final say. Know that you can be found partially at-fault, which in other words, means anywhere from 0% to 100% at-fault in a collision.
Any driver who is more than zero percent at-fault will have an at-fault accident on his or her insurance record. If you are found more than 25 percent at-fault for the accident, it is more than likely that your premium will go up at renewal.
Can fault in an auto accident be shared?
Yes. The circumstances of an accident may show that more than one driver was partially at-fault for insurance purposes. To learn more about Fault Accident Determination Rules, please click here.
If the police charge me with a driving offence, will I automatically be at-fault for the accident?
No. Being charged by the police with a driving offence does not automatically mean that you are at-fault for the accident. Conversely, the police not charging you with a driving offence doesn’t mean you’re off the hook, either. If the brakes on your car fail and you rear-end another vehicle, you will be at-fault based upon the Fault Determination Rules. But, you will probably not be charged with any driving offence.
What can you do if you disagree with your insurance company’s assessment of fault?
If you are dissatisfied with your insurance company’s decision on fault, and believe that the decision does not accurately reflect the circumstances of the accident, speak to the claims adjuster handling your file. Ask them what rule in the Fault Determination Rules has been applied in your case.
Do I need to file an Accident Benefits (AB) claim?
Yes, if you want to seek treatment for your injuries. Your claims adjuster can provide you with the forms you need to submit. The Accident Benefits Application Package includes five forms. In order to have your medical expenses paid for or receive financial reimbursement as a result of lost wages or damages, you must complete the forms and send them back to your isure broker so they can submit them to your insurer.
How long after a car accident can you make an AB claim?
Your insurer will only pay out on claims that are made within their defined timeframe on your policy. Depending on the insurer, it can be anything from a day to a few weeks. So, it’s best for you to report accidents to your insurer within 24 hours, especially if you want your claim settlement as soon as possible.
How long do Accident Benefits last?
Income replacement benefits are payable to you for up to 104 weeks (or two years) following your accident. To determine your level of injury and your possible recovery time, you will first receive an assessment. To learn more about benefits, please click here.
Who can repair my vehicle after filing an auto claim?
As long as your insurance company approves the estimate, you may have your vehicle repaired at the repair shop of your choice. Your insurance company may suggest you bring your vehicle to one of their preferred body shops. You may find using one of those locations easier because it puts the onus on your insurance company to make sure that the work is done satisfactorily. Your insurer won’t guarantee the repairs if it’s not on the “preferred” list.
What replacement parts are covered by my insurance?
It depends on your particular policy. If you purchased insurance that specifically covers Original Equipment Manufacturer (OEM) parts, your repair will be done using replacement OEM parts. Otherwise, you’ll likely get a repair using aftermarket parts, because they’re more affordable for insurers and often just as good as OEM parts.
If you’re involved in a car accident, you should go to the collision reporting centre as soon as practically possible.
Will a hit-and-run accident claim raise my insurance?
If you’re not at-fault in the hit-and-run, filing an auto claim will not raise your insurance rates.
Do insurance companies investigate hit-and-run accidents?
Yes. Your insurance company will look into the hit and run just as it would with other car accidents. They’ll do a separate investigation to determine liability, which isn’t part of the police report.
Will it cover one that happens in a parking lot?
Hit and run accidents do happen quite often in parking lots. Many believe the likelihood of getting caught is small. However, most residential and commercial parking lots have security cameras. If you are a victim, your insurer needs to be informed and you must have evidence to prove that you were not at-fault. Then, your insurer can approve your claim.
How do I file a hit-and-run claim?
Filing a hit and run claim is the same process as any other car insurance claim. Once you file a report with the police, contact your insurer to open a claim. Most insurers require you to file a police report for the hit-and-run within 24 hours of the incident. Provide them with the details of the collision. Work with your insurer to come up with a hit-and-run settlement for the repairs to your vehicle.
How is a single-car accident handled when filing an auto claim?
Single-car accidents are almost always considered at-fault accidents. If you file a claim, you’ll likely get hit with an at-fault accident surcharge on your car insurance renewal.
When filing an auto claim is needed, remember you’re not alone. Our experienced isure staff can help guide you through the claims process. We’ll ensure that the process goes smoothly to help you achieve the best outcome. Filing a claim may seem complicated, but we’ll help make it simple!