Auto insurance across Canada is mandatory, so in the unfortunate event of a collision, you can rest assured that you’ll be covered for personal and property damages.
But how much are you covered for, who pays your claim, and what if the at-fault party is underinsured — or worse, isn’t insured at all?
What is Family Protection Coverage, and when do you need it?
The Family Protection Coverage is an optional endorsement that protects you and your family members if there’s a collision and the other party is underinsured or doesn’t have insurance.
Let’s look at a few scenarios.
Say your spouse was driving through a major intersection in Toronto before getting hit by a speeding driver. This distressing incident has set your household back by $3,000,000 in medical and car repair costs, loss of income, and after-accident physiotherapy. Let’s say you hold third-party liability coverage of $1 million, but the at-fault driver holds the minimum third-party coverage mandated by Ontario (which is $200,000).
As this amount is insufficient to cover the damage incurred by your family, does this mean you’re on the hook for the remaining $800,000? Not if you have the Family Protection endorsement, which covers you for the remaining amount.
This coverage applies not only to you or your spouse, but also to common law partners and children under the age of 18 who are listed on your auto insurance policy.
It also extends to damage and injury when your car is not in use, like if a driver jams into your car when it's parked or even if you or a member of your household is hit by a car whilst crossing a pedestrian walkway.
If it was a case of hit-and-run, and the at-fault driver has not been identified, the claim amount will be paid up to the limit on your third-party coverage and the additional Family Protection Coverage endorsement.
Driver without insurance
Driving without auto insurance in Canada is a serious offense and can have severe consequences. Uninsured drivers can be hit with fines, get their license suspended, and have their vehicle impounded. Additionally, insurance companies may charge the offender a higher premium or even decline to insure them when they try to purchase a new auto insurance policy.
Of course, that’s the consequence for them if they’re caught. If you find yourself a victim of a crash involving an at-fault driver who does not have auto insurance coverage, what happens? Well, your claim will be covered by your third-party coverage and the Family Protection Coverage endorsement.
This endorsement is available in Ontario and Alberta and can be added to your auto insurance policy by filling out a simple form, called OPC4 44R and SEF 44. In British Columbia, the endorsement is called the Underinsured Motorist Protection (UMP).
Ontario: OPCF 44R
Additional riders to your auto insurance policy can be added to include or exclude certain coverages. In Ontario, change forms are called Ontario Policy Change Forms (OPCF), and OPCF 44R is specifically for Family Protection Coverage.
To make a claim against the endorsement, your-third party coverage should be greater than that of the at-fault driver’s coverage. If both parties have a minimum of $200,000, you cannot claim damages exceeding $200,000.
There is also a time limit of two years from the date of your collision to raise a claim with your insurance company.
Alberta: SEF 44
In Alberta, endorsement change forms are called Standard Endorsement Forms (SEF).SEF 44 makes up for any coverage gaps in the event of a collision, up to the limits of your policy. Like Ontario, you can only make a claim against this endorsement if your policy limit is higher than that of the at-fault driver.
Your household will be covered for claims irrespective of the number of family members eligible for the claim or the number of people (under the policy) who were injured.
It’s important to note that what may be covered differs from province to province. Under British Columbia’s UMP, bodily injury is covered, while property damage claims coverage might be limited or not covered at all. In this case, you might have to claim through comprehensive or collision coverage on your auto insurance policy.
Be sure to speak with your insurance company to understand all the terms of the Family Protection Coverage in your province.
How much would you pay for the Family Protection Coverage endorsement?
While the amount varies – depending on your profile, coverage requirements, and your insurance provider – you can expect to pay a yearly amount of $11 to $36 on this endorsement. For additional protection and peace of mind, that’s a pretty small price to pay.
It also doesn’t hurt to make sure you’re getting adequate coverage for your insurance requirements. Be sure to compare auto insurance policies across multiple providers.
Read our other endorsement guides:
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