Ask Anne Marie: How Do I Challenge an Insurer's Fault Determination Decision?

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We regularly feature car insurance queries sent to everyone’s favourite insurance guru, Anne Marie Thomas. From questions about a G2 licensed driver borrowing someone's car to excluding particular drivers on a car insurance policy, Anne Marie answers all the tough questions asked.

This week’s question is about challenging an insurer’s fault determination decision as it relates to an old auto collision:

“Three years ago, I was driving for a company, and someone rear-ended my truck. There was no damage to the vehicle I was driving. I completed a police report, took pictures, and I left knowing that I was not at fault for the collision. Now, when calling my broker to switch insurance, I’m surprised to learn that fault for the collision was split 50/50. How is this possible?! I don't know where to start. How do I go about fighting this decision?”

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It’s always a good idea to periodically check your driving record and insurance history to make sure the information paints an accurate picture, especially if you’ve ever been in a collision. When it comes to an auto collision, someone will always be found responsible for causing it. If you disagree with the determination, there is a process you can follow to have the decision revisited, explains Anne Marie.

“The first step in resolving this situation is to contact your insurance company and request they change the fault determination for the collision. You’ll likely have to provide them with the pictures you took and the police report to counter the original decision. If they agree, they’ll let you know what your next steps are, if any, to ensure the designation is removed from your insurance history.

“If for some reason they disagree with your assessment, you still have options available to you. In this situation, you’ll want to have them explain to you the reason they disagree; ask them which fault determination rule they relied upon in making their decision. If you still don’t have success, escalate your concerns to the company’s complaint officer. All insurers have a person whose role is to provide another perspective than the original person working on your case.

“If you're still unsatisfied, you can take it a step further with the General Insurance OmbudService (GIO). The GIO is an independent dispute resolution service whose ‘mission is to provide consumers of car, home and business insurance in Canada with a cost-free, independent and impartial process to resolve their complaints.’ Legal action is also an option.”