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Readers’ insurance questions and answers

October 14, 2009

At InsuranceHotline.com, we receive many great questions from our readers. This month, we’d like to share our top 10 Q & As with you.

Q) My husband was recently involved in a fender-bender. The accident was reported to our insurance company, and they deemed the other party 100 per cent at fault.  Our insurance company stated they would cut us a cheque for the cost of repairs. So why is our insurance paying for our repairs when the accident was not my husband’s fault? 

A) In 1994, Ontario legislation introduced the “no-fault” system. Under the no-fault system, everyone involved in an accident submits a claim to his or her own insurance company. This means that if another person is at fault for an accident, you would still submit your claim to your own insurance company. The no-fault system was introduced to help control court costs when claims are disputed, provide immediate financial assistance for accident victims and stabilize insurance premiums.

Q) My 23-year-old son will no longer be an occasional driver on my car since I’ve recently bought a new vehicle. We now have two vehicles in our household. I want my son to purchase his own insurance policy on the second vehicle. Do we have to change ownership in order for my son to purchase his own insurance policy, or can he just apply for his own insurance as a principal driver, where I’m still the owner?

A) If you maintain ownership of the second vehicle and your son becomes the principal driver, any accident or claim your son is involved in will follow your driving record. This is because you are the policyholder and the registered owner of the vehicle. The only way your son could obtain his own insurance policy would be to register the vehicle under his own name.  By doing so, any accident or claim on the vehicle will follow your son instead of you.

Q) I gave my friend permission to borrow my car while I was out of town. Unfortunately, she was involved in a collision while driving my car.  She’s not currently listed on my insurance policy. Will my insurance policy still cover the damage?

A) As long as your friend held a valid driver’s license and did not break the law while driving, then the accident will be covered just as if you were the one driving the vehicle.  However, this accident will be reflected on your driving record and your insurance rates may increase as a result. The lesson: when you lend your car, you effectively lend your car insurance.

Q) I am 82 years old and have been driving since I was 16.  Over 60 years of driving, I’ve never run a red light, never had a speeding ticket and have only been in one car accident (which happened 30 years ago). In my opinion, I consider myself a good driver, so why do I have to consistently take specific tests to continue to hold a driver’s license?

A) According to the Aging Driver Mobility Forum (which includes policy makers, occupational therapists, doctors and insurance industry members), drivers between 55 and 70 have the lowest rate of collisions of any age group. However, once people are over the age of 75, the collision rate is similar to that of young, beginning drivers. Ontario is considered to have one of the strictest policies in Canada when it comes to drivers who are 80 years or older. In order to renew your driver’s license at the age of 80, the Ministry of Transportation in Ontario requires you to successfully complete a vision and knowledge test, as well as participate in a group education session on driving once every two years.     

Q) I just renewed both my car and home insurance policies. Is it best to wait until my renewal comes up next year to shop around, or should I do it now? Also, I’m insured with two different companies for my home and car insurance. Does it make sense to insure my home and car with one company?

A) Notes can vary significantly across insurance companies for the same car and driver, so it’s always a good idea to shop around to see if you are overpaying on insurance or not. You have the right to cancel your current policy at any time; however, your insurance company may levy a cancellation fee for breaking a contract mid-term, so be sure to weigh this against any potential savings before making a decision.  And, yes, if you insure all of your vehicles and homes with the same company, you will get further discounts, so there are advantages to insuring everything with one company.

Q) How do insurance companies determine the premium I should pay each year?

A) Because each person’s insurance situation is different, there’s no single answer to this question. However, using statistics and complex formulas, each insurance company usually calculates your premium by using its own claims experience (how much money that company paid out in claims in a given timeframe) and by considering a variety of factors, such as where you live, your age, your driving and claims record, the type of vehicle you drive, how often you drive the vehicle and the amount of coverage you want to purchase.

Q) If I have car insurance can I still be sued if an accident occurs?

A) Yes, you can still be sued whether or not you have car insurance. Your auto insurance policy will cover the damages up to the limits outlined in your policy.  Usually the minimum is $1 million dollars’ worth of liability. (Although many policyholders opt for up to $2 million dollars’ worth of liability.) If there are any costs that go above your policy limits due to a lawsuit, you will be held personally responsible for covering those costs that resulted in damages you caused in the accident.

Q) Back in November 2007, I was involved in an accident where a vehicle rear-ended my car while I had my car stopped at a traffic intersection. My insurance company determined that I was not at fault for the accident, and I did not pay a deductible to repair my vehicle. Recently, I bought a new vehicle and decided to insure this vehicle with a new insurance company. When the new insurance company pulled my insurance background check, it showed that I was found 100 per cent at fault for the November 2007 accident! How can I prove to my new insurance company that I was not at fault for this accident?

A) If you were indeed found not at fault for the November 2007 accident, the onus falls on you to prove to your new insurance company that it was not your fault. To resolve this discrepancy, contact the insurance company you were last insured with at the time of the accident and request a Letter of Experience (LOE). An LOE will identify how long you were insured with the company, identify any accidents or claims you filed with this company, state the fault in each accident and outline your driving record. This letter should be enough to clarify the accident dispute.

Q) How do insurance companies determine who is at fault in car accidents?

A) In Ontario, insurance companies refer to the Fault Determination Rules chart. The Fault Determination Rules contains over 40 different accident situations and explanations on how to assign fault for insurance purposes. These rules can be applied to virtually every possible collision scenario regardless of weather or road conditions, visibility, point of impact or the actions of pedestrians.  If there is ever a dispute of who was responsible for the accident, it may be necessary to go to court to resolve the situation.

Q) I obtained a considerably lower insurance rate by using InsuranceHotline.com. I am considering cancelling my current car insurance policy, but don’t know if I can or how much the cancellation fee will be. Help please.

A) We’re glad to see that we were able to save you some money. You have the right to cancel your current policy at any given time; however, your insurance company may levy a cancellation fee for breaking the contract mid-term. The best idea is to contact your present insurance company to determine the amount of the cancellation fee. From there, you can make an informed decision if it makes financial sense to either cancel or stay with your present insurance company.

If you have a question about your insurance, please send us an email at [email protected] and we may feature it in an upcoming article.

  • Denis

    Can you have more than one occasional driver in a household? Parents and two sons two cars .

  • http://www.insurancehotline.com/ InsuranceHotline.com

    Hello Denis,

    Yes, you can have more than one occasional driver in the household :)

  • Denis

    Thanks but does the insurance company charge for two occasional drivers.

  • http://www.insurancehotline.com/ InsuranceHotline.com

    Hello Denis,

    If there is more than one vehicle it is entirely possible.

  • http://www.insurancehotline.com/ InsuranceHotline.com

    Hello Virginia,

    You must list/name ALL drivers in the household to your insurance professional. If you were to exclude a member, you will need a signed form on your policy that will act as an affidavit that states that person will never driver/operate any vehicles… you can ask your broker/agent to send this to you.

  • http://www.insurancehotline.com/ InsuranceHotline.com

    Sorry, I forgot to mention – it is an Exclusion letter that endorses this from your policy and your broker/agent can provide the details.

  • http://www.insurancehotline.com/ InsuranceHotline.com

    hello

    If she was at fault for both accidents it is likely that the 2nd accident cause a more significant increase in her rate than the first accident.
    if she is in Ontario, she can obtain her history which will include the amounts paid by here insurance company.
    We have an article on how she can obtain it here
    http://www.insurancehotline.com/auto-insurance-claims/

  • http://www.insurancehotline.com/ InsuranceHotline.com

    You would have to start your own policy and pay your own premiums.

  • http://www.insurancehotline.com/ InsuranceHotline.com

    Hello

    It depends upon how long you will be without insurance. You should not be rated as a brand new driver but you may not get the same premium as if you had expiring insurance.

  • jonas

    Quick question, I am insured under my wife as an occasional driver, just wondering if i purchase a new car can i go to a different company as a primary driver there, while being insured as an occasional driver under my wifes company for her car

  • http://www.insurancehotline.com/ InsuranceHotline.com

    Hello

    Yes you can. But you will not receive any multi vehicle discounts if you are with another company.
    You should compare the rates between your wife’s company and another.

  • http://www.insurancehotline.com/ InsuranceHotline.com

    hello

    Yes it’s possible that hey may be liable due to ownership of the vehicle. If the ownership was never changed to the ex-girlfriend, then he is still legally responsible.

  • http://www.insurancehotline.com/ InsuranceHotline.com

    Hello

    In order for the vehicle to be legally insured in your name, you have to be the registered owner of the vehicle too.

    If the vehicle is registered and insured in your name then if he has an accident, it will be likely that your insurance rate will increase.

  • http://www.insurancehotline.com/ InsuranceHotline.com

    Hello

    Since the construction company is liable you should not have to pay your deductible.

  • http://www.insurancehotline.com/ InsuranceHotline.com

    Hello

    You should check with the governing body where you life. They might have an idea for you.

  • http://www.insurancehotline.com/ InsuranceHotline.com

    Hello

    As long as the insurance policy is in your name with and the insurance company has the driving history of the primary driver that is fine.

  • http://www.insurancehotline.com/ InsuranceHotline.com

    Hello

    Yes it might. In Ontario most collisions as associated with your drivers licence. When an insurance company runs your record the accident will likely appear.

  • http://www.insurancehotline.com/ InsuranceHotline.com

    Yes. If someone is a regular and frequent operator on your vehicle, they should be listed on your policy. They do not have to reside in your home.

  • alice

    my boyfriend moved to bc from alberta 3 months ago, he still has alberta insurance on his car and was rear ended in bc …. his alberta insurance company is giving him the run around will he be covered by anyone for the repairs?

  • Groovingroomer

    Backed into a parked car and left my info. The lady wants me to pay before she gets it fixed $1000 is the quote. I want to pay after proof of repair. She says forget it I’ll just go thru my insurance? How will this affect me?

  • Hossein

    - I have paid my insurance as one time payment for this year ($4000).

    - My broker stated that my insurance rate would go down once I get my full G license from G2, and once I become 25.

    - After 3 months into the policy, I have received my full G license and turned 25.

    - Will I get a refund cheque from my insurance company to reflect the discounts?

  • http://www.insurancehotline.com/ InsuranceHotline.com

    You may have to ask your broker to follow up with the company.
    you can always check for a better rate and if you find one see if you will save money even if you cancel your existing policy mid term

  • jj

    my 85 year old mother had her licence cancelled for medical reasons. she is still keeping the insurance policy on her car. if we drive it to shop…with her is insurance valid?

  • Debbie McLean

    i am stuck with my ex on my insurance because I was stupid enough to put his name on my car so he could use it for collateral when applying for a house…. relationship ended badly, he is I have no clue where, the house was surrendered back to the bank I claimed bankruptcy for all the debt he hiked up in my name we were never married we were only ever common law, now three years later I finally take a good look at the insurance I am being reamed for. I am still paying for his insurance I don’t know where he is I cannot take him off the ownership he fully admitted to my Mother he knows the car is mine and will get his name off, that was three years ago, well it turns out two years ago he married. They still have me as common law and I told them I was single and he was god knows where and begged for them to tell me so I could track him down and get him to sign off so I could stop paying his part of the insurance. Now to find out he’s been married for two years, well he’s gotta be paying someone car insurance has to be…. is this legal can the insurance company keep fucking me up the ass until my car dies. I have no clue where he is seriously and they refuse to tell me. I am seriously paying his car insurance and if I am in an accident I can’t even cash the check I would need his signature and then he would be entitled to half the money for something he has never paid on … I am so tired of getting ass raped …. is there nothing I can do to stop paying my ex’s who is now married car insurance and get him the hell off my car… for me to track him down to go to small claims is going to be very big bucks I would have to hire someone to track him down… omg this is nuts … I can tell you this much I share my story with all I can tell the name of the insurance company and the ones I have spoken with who did nothing to help so all I know will never go to these people when this is all said and done I am posting it on facebook, doing a video on youtube and sharing with the world this insurance company will get a taste of two years of anger in the end .. so not fair they could just give me the married mans address so I can get him off my car so I can get a chance to stop paying his insurance without having to by a whole new car

  • AJ

    my wife is the owner and primary driver on our civic (am the secondary).. if we buy a new car under her name would she be the primary driver or would it be mandatory for me to become primary? Reason being her being the owner keeps all loans and plate renewals simple…am not too sure of insurance!

  • BR

    If my 19 year old gets her own car and insurance (she will be primary) does she still need to pay for secondary on my vans? Or will she be automatically covered on my cars as well? And do I need to be listed as a secondary on her car in order to drive it? She will still be living in our home.

  • Will

    If the car is under my girl friend’s and my name, and we previously lived together so we were qualified for common-law insurance rate. Now we live at different addresses but both of us still drive the car frequently, can we still claim as common law for our car insurance?

  • Ken Johnston

    My 85yo father may not have his license renewed in July. His insurance lists me as a secondary driver. What, if anything, will we need to change?

  • Diana

    I want to put insurance on my mothers car. Can I have insurance in my name for this car that is owned by my mother

  • Matthew

    Will a personal insurance company cover my car if i take it onto a construction site im working on? Please help

  • paul devlin

    I want to get a second car insured on a driffence policy with me and my brother will effect my own policy on my car in anyway

  • Rick Glauser

    Can a person remove another person’s name from a car insurance policy without her permission (or knowledge)?

  • Rick Glauser

    Can a person take a third-party off at current policy without their permission or knowledge

  • bev

    My son and his girlfriend bought a car together . ownership in both their names, as well as insurance. The car was impounded as we’ve come to find she wasn’t paying the insurance. There was a miscommunication at his bank where car payments were coming out of the wrong account. They said it was his fault, of course because he wasnt paying attention to the account. My question is this. We have to get the car out of impound. Am I able to, as his mom, put the xar with my insurance? At least to get inhome in the driveway?

  • http://www.insurancehotline.com/ InsuranceHotline.com

    In order for the vehicle to be under your insurance policy it must be in your name. You can’t insure something you don’t own.

  • Susan

    My mother is 85 and no longer able to drive and so we did not renew her licence (a year ago) She maintains ownership and insurance on the car, but I have been driving it with her permission. Does her not having a licence anymore affect her insurance/me driving the car.

  • Dan

    I had two accidents while driving my mothers car and i was at fault for both!!. Can she cancel her policy and renew it at a later date?

  • InsuranceHotline

    The accidents will still remain on her record. You might be able to have them taken off if you can prove that you are being charged for the accidents on your own policy.

  • Rich

    I was involed in a head on crash with a dui charge car was impound and not able to get it out because I have no money to get it out and leasing and insurance company says it’s a right off what steps should I take

  • InsuranceHotline

    Impaired driving is a violation of the auto insurance policy. If you are convicted of Impaired driving your insurance company may deny your claim and not pay for any of the damage to your vehicle.

  • Roman Alves

    I’m 17 Years old, and I’m the primary driver for one of the 3 vehicles in the household. I currently have a G2 License and have been driving as a primary driver for 5 months, and have my own insurance policy for my car, My Dads the owner of my vehicle, but I’m under my own insurance policy, He recently wanted to change ownership of the vehicle from His name to mine. Is it legal for me to become the owner of the vehicle with my current age? and, Will my insurance rate increase, because I’m the owner of my vehicle?

  • InsuranceHotline

    If you are currently being rated as the primary driver of the vehicle your rate should be the same whether you are the registered owner of the vehicle or not.
    you might lose any mulit line or mulit vehicle discounts you are currently getting under your Dad’s policy.

  • Lidia

    I was driving an uninsured vehicle a short distance because I sold it. I was side swiped totally not my fault. Does my current car insurance cover me as insured even though not my fault?

  • InsuranceHotline

    If the vehicle had no insurance then you won’t have coverage.

  • elizabeth

    This morning we woke up to find our insurance had tripled in price. When calling to figure out what had happened we find out that two random people who were uninsured drivers that lived at our residence previously (and who we didn’t know) had been put on our insurance. All state says it is a policy in tx for uninsured drivers that have the same address on their drivers licence to be put on the current insurance for that address without permission from the insurance policy holder. I can’t find any law or policy stating this to be true. The landlord claims he has no idea who these people are and has never heard of them. Where can I find this law?

  • Lisa Pederson

    Is a vehicle still covered by driving insurance if the principal driver has recently been deceased? Will other people driving the deceased owners vehicle be covered if an accident occurs by his insurance?

  • JB

    I am trying to purchase a car, however; I currently only hold a G1, I want the car, but do not want ownership to be in my mother’s name, as I am the one who will pay for it. However, insurance will be quite expensive if I do not have the ownership out in her name. Is it possible to have joint ownership? Will insurance companies be okay with that? It’s important that I know right away.

  • InsuranceHotline

    Since you only have a G1 licence, you can have the car in your name but the insurance company will probably base the premium on the driving record of the person who will be supervising you most of the time.

    Regardless, of whether or not the vehicle is in your name, you will be added as a driver and will be charged the premium that goes with your record.

  • GurPreet BhUllar

    Last year i borrow my uncle car i was not having any insurance and it got hit with other car while backing in private property ( plaza) .. And my uncle insurance increased.. And yesterday i bought car and when i went to insurance agent i came to know that accident showing on my record and my insurance rate am getting is too high .. While my uncle insurance is already pating for that accident. What should i do know .. Thanks

  • Jackie Vero

    My 90yr old mother just stopped driving, did not renew her license so we r canceling her car insurance.
    Questio we r selling her car, so if a potential buyer wants to try the car and does and hits another car, will his/her insurance be liable?

  • Millie Laven

    In 2012 my husband and I were sharing a driving insurance policy. We each had a car. I was in two minor at-fault accidents in 2012 in my car. Therefore our insurance premiums, we were told at renewal time, would greatly increase. I didn’t have my damaged car repaired — instead, I sold it to a place that buys damaged cars — received $500.00 from the insurer — and opted to sign a form with the insurer undertaking that I would not drive my husband’s car. Thus, the policy became only in his name and remained at the original low premium. Now, almost four years later, I would like to buy a car for myself and resume being insured. Is it likely the insurer will treat the matter as if I’ve “never really paid for the accident” and insist on high premiums for a number of years?

  • InsuranceHotline

    you should have your uncle show your insurance documents to his insurance company to prove that you are being charged with the claim.

  • InsuranceHotline

    The owner of the vehicle would likely be at fault too. better to keep the policy in force until it is sold as you might have to move it sometimes too.

  • InsuranceHotline

    It is likely that you will have the accident on your record and coupled with that you haven’t been insured for a few years you may have a high premium.

  • Gennadiy

    If two cars are registered to different drivers at different addresses whether it is possible to register them in one insurance Together

  • InsuranceHotline

    The policy is to be listed at the address where the person lives and where the vehicle is parked.

  • Muntake Lali

    So recently i was added to my parents insurance as a secondary driver, however it will still be a week till we get the new slips to keep in the vehicles.but do i need these slips to actually drive or can i drive with the slips that are aleady in the car (they are not expired)

  • InsuranceHotline

    As long as you have a valid licence and the vehicle owners permission you can drive the vehicle. The pink slips do not list the drivers of the vehicle.

  • AnneMarie

    I am working as a nanny over the summer. I have my own vehicle and have insurance for it. My job requires me to take 3 kids in my car. In the case of an accident (with the kids in the car), am I liable for them? Is there anything legal I can get the parents to sign to protect myself.

  • Mael

    I need to add my boyfriend to my insurance policy because he will be living at home soon. He has been out of town on work, but we have the same adress….these are all things i did not tell my insurance company. What can I say to avoid cancelation?

  • InsuranceHotline

    Which province are you in?

  • MW

    hi my vihicle was involved in an accident and ive lent my suv outto a driver who i hought had a valid licence and she was rearended and cause little damage to my vehiclebut the other car had a lot more damage, but it was the other drivers fault. Now ive just found out that the driver didnt even have a valid licence who was driving mine. So doesthat make me at at fault now what, and i know the other vehicle is going to lie to their insurance to say that it was all my fault now. So what will happen kno?

  • Paul

    I was driving my company truck and trailer and got into an accident. I was at fault. The truck was total loss, now my employer wants me to pay for the deductible ($5000) because I was at fault. Is this legal? Am I reponsible for the deductible?

  • LH

    My boyfriend just lent his 18 year old daughter, with a 2 day old class G2 license, his truck. She does not reside or is covered under his policy. She claims to have her own insurance. Is she allowed to drive this vehicle? If something were to happen who pays?

  • Felicia

    Me and my husband rent my parents mother in law suite downstairs. Do we have to be on their policy to drive their car occasionally? Like we usually drive it only a few times a month but I just heard that since we live in the same house we have to be on their insurance policy or if anything happens it will not be covered. Me and my husband do have our own insurance policy with a different company.

  • alex

    I’f the secondary driver gets in an accident does the insurance of the primary driver increase

  • InsuranceHotline

    it is likely that the primary driver’s insurance rate will increase if there is no separate premium for the secondary driver. If there is a separate premium listed for the secondary driver on the policy, that separate premium may increase.

  • InsuranceHotline

    In Canada you can only insure a vehicle if it is registered in your name. The legal term is that you must have a “material interest” in the vehicle in order to insure it.

  • InsuranceHotline

    If the documents suggest that they are the registered owner of the vehicle then on paper the vehicle looks as though it is theirs. You may have to take them to court to resolve it.

  • Sue

    My daughter recently bumped into a car ahead of her and nicked the paint of her bumper. I offered to pay for the damage out of pocket but she insists on going through insurance. She refuses to get more than one quote for damages and wants the repairs done at ‘her preferred garage’. Can I insist that she get more than one quote?

  • InsuranceHotline

    You can try but the other driver is in control of where they get their vehicle repaired. If you choose not to pay her estimate then she may go through insurance and you will have an at fault accident on your record.

  • Brayden

    If my parents have two cars would the be allowed to buy a third and have me as a casual/occasionally driver

  • InsuranceHotline

    most insurance companies will insist that you are made to be a full time or principal operator of the vehicle.

  • Dara mcaloney

    Hi Was wondering if someone can answer this.
    My gf was a passenger in an accident and unfortunately suffered some long term injuries, so she sued for wages and medical. She had to go through her parents insurance. For the claim due to not having any.
    My question is: if her parents decided to take her off for any reason. Does she lose her claim. And how will she handle this if they did perhaps take her off.
    Thanks

  • InsuranceHotline

    The claim occurred when the policy was in force and she was listed on the policy. If she is removed from the policy, the claim is not closed. It remains open and payments will continue until it is completely settled.

  • InsuranceHotline

    usually an insurance company will base your insurance premium on the address that generates the higher premium. Since insurance premiums as based on the potential for a claim, the area that generates the higher premium is likely where they will have the most exposure for a claim and therefore rate your policy based on that.

  • Drew

    Always go through insurance. Here in BC ICBC will give you an opportunity to reimburse them for the costs so it won’t count against you. The most important reason why you go through insurance is because when you offer to pay the other party’s damages you then prejudiced your insurance company. Also, what if the other party complains of a neck injury 2 months later? Well, you never reported the claim and denied your insurance company the opportunity to investigate. So, you would have committed two breaches and your insurance company could abandon you. You’d then potentially lose your home and life savings.