No-fault insurance is meant to make your claims process easier in the event of an accident. It's important to understand how it works and what your rights are if you disagree with a decision. It's also important to understand how fault can affect your insurance rates. Insurance claims can affect your rates and must be disclosed to potential providers when you search for insurance quotes.
The first thing to know about fault assessment is that there are two different groups that assess who was at fault in a collision: the police and your insurance provider.
Police will investigate the accident at the time it occurs and record their observations. This may include laying blame on the driver they deem to be responsible, but they can also find that no driver was at fault. The insurance companies representing the affected drivers will also investigate the incident and assess fault based on their own set of rules and guidelines.
At-fault guidelines are typically issued by the provincial government. If you currently have auto insurance in Ontario these guidelines help ensure that you receive equal treatment in the case of an accident resulting in a claim. They also help insurers make faster decisions about accident fault to expedite the claims process.
Sharing the Blame
Often, there will be more than one person at blame in an accident. Fault is determined on a sliding scale between 0% and 100%. Generally, a car accident involving more than one driver will have a degree of fault assigned.
Even if you were only 10% at fault and the other driver was at 90% you may still be considered partially at fault.
Being at fault in a car accident can have a pretty large impact on your driving insurance, so you should look into how it would affect your rates and policy when you're shopping around for auto insurance.
How Your Rates Will Be Affected
Some insurance companies have forgiveness coverage for your first accident. This coverage generally allows you to have an at-fault accident once without it affecting your insurance rates. Since an at-fault accident can cause a significant increase to your rates, it's a worthwhile add-on to look into. However, remember that if you switch insurance providers down the road, they'll still take the accident into account when giving you a quote about your rate.
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But It Wasn't My Fault!
If you disagree with your insurer's decision over fault in a collision, there is a system in place for you to dispute their ruling.
Your first course of action is to contact your claims adjuster assigned by your insurance company. However, it's worth noting that they likely won't reassess your accident unless you have some sort of new information to provide. For example, that could include a witness that hadn't been consulted with before.
If you still disagree, you can lodge a complaint with your insurance provider. After that, if you still believe that the fault assessment was wrong, you can take the matter to court.