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Here’s a sneak peak into the “Automotive Future” from Driving.ca:
Does Our Government Care?
Does the government care what you pay for your car insurance?
InsuranceHotline.com put that to the test on January 8th when I met with Premier Dalton McGuinty’s office representatives to address the “Fault Determination Rules”.
The rules can send a driver’s insurance rate sky rocketing if they’re found to be “Partially At-Fault” for an accident, or even worse your policy can be cancelled.
Use it”¦Lose it
If you have accidents and tickets, you may have more to worry about than just a higher insurance rate. Your insurance company may cancel your policy outright.
Ask your broker for the conditions under which your insurance company can cancel your policy. Every insurance company has their own set of cancellation rules. You need to know how many "partially at-fault" or "at-fault" accidents will cause your insurance company to cancel your policy.
The Ontario Government is now aware of the “faults” in the “Fault Determination Rules”, and has agreed that certain areas warrant further discussion and change!
The McGuinty government has agreed to discuss these areas with various insurance companies’ personnel, and table the areas for change in their 2008 legislation. 2007 is an election year and not much gets tabled for discussion right now.
So we agreed that the 1st step is to create awareness for you, the driver, and to let you know where you can turn to for “mediation” and “clarification” if you find yourself involved in an accident.
The General Insurance Ombudservice (GIO), is an organization set up to mediate between insurance companies and drivers with respect to the "Fault Determination Rules". If you have a dispute with your insurance company that you can’t resolve, GIO will help you out. They also mediate for home and life insurance issues, and much more. Glen Williamson is the Executive Director of GIO and was at the meeting.
To contact the GIO office you can call 1-877-225-0446, or visit their website: www.giocanada.org.
Here are the “Fault Determination Rules” used by the insurance industry to determine whether or not you’re “Partially At-Fault” or “Completely At-Fault”:
The areas discussed at the meeting at McGuinty’s office are listed below. And here are some things you need to know For Your Protection:
1) Accident Rulings
Whether you’re “Partially At-Fault” or “Completely At-Fault” your insurance company will increase your rate the same dollar amount.
Government’s Response: The Ontario government agreed that if you’re found to be only partially at-fault for an accident, your insurance rate should NOT increase as much as if you were completely at-fault for the accident.
For Your Protection: You need to know that insurance rates between companies for partially at-fault or at-fault accidents vary by 1,000′s of dollars and you need to compare what you’re paying now to the best rate available to you.
Regardless of your driving record, do your own rate comparison, by clicking on the link below:
2) To Swerve Or Not To Swerve
If you have a single vehicle accident it’s your fault. Even if you swerve to miss a dog, deer, kid or an oncoming car, and you hit the ditch, the guard rail, or whatever, and damage your vehicle, you’re completely at-fault, and your insurance rate will go up.
3) Weather & Road Conditions
You can’t blame the weather or road conditions for your accident.
Regardless of snow covered or icy roads, potholes, black ice, poor visibility, and so forth, you will still be at-fault and your insurance rate will increase if you have an accident.
Government’s Response: Both points 2 & 3 were addressed at the meeting and it was discussed that even if fault was determined, under these circumstances, InsuranceHotline.com’s suggestion was that it should NOT affect the driver’s insurance rate, or record.
4) Rule of Thumb – Ask
Always ask your insurance adjuster if you’re being considered to be “partially at-fault”, “at-fault”, or “not at fault”. As you now know, the first two will have the same effect on your insurance rate on renewal, the last one will not affect your rate.
Many drivers get their vehicle repaired and assume they are “not at-fault”. The time to discuss this is when the claim is being settled, NOT when you’re opening your renewal.
Clue: If you are asked to pay any part of your deductible by your insurance company for your car repairs, this is your clue that you’re being considered to be either “partially at-fault” or “completely at-fault” for this accident.
5)The 3 Car Pile UP
If a car hits you from behind, causing you to hit the car in front of you, you are considered to be partially at-fault or at-fault for the accident.
Government’s Response: InsuranceHotline.com asked”¦”How fair is that?” How could anyone help it if a car slams into them from behind, and the force of the crash causes them to hit the car in front of them? Why should their rates go up as much as the driver who slammed into them??? This point was not lost with the government’s representatives and is also an area for further discussion.
6) Who Is At-Fault????
This is a big one! If the insurance adjuster cannot determine who is “at-fault”, it automatically defaults to both drivers sharing fault!!!
Being Sideswiped: If the insurance adjuster cannot determine the location of each driver in a sideswipe collision, both drivers will be found 50% at-fault. And now both drivers’ rates will suffer.
All Way Stop: If the adjuster cannot determine which driver stopped first and therefore had the right-of-way at a four way stop, a collision in the intersection will find both drivers 50% at-fault.
Traffic Lights: If the adjuster cannot determine which driver failed to stop at a stop light, or which driver disobeyed traffic lights, both drivers will be 50% at-fault and both drivers will have rate increases.
Government’s Response: All these examples were discussed with McGuinty’s government review board, and InsuranceHotline.com suggested that if the adjuster cannot determine fault, that fault cannot be laid.
For Your Protection: If you are in an accident, get witnesses, copy down licence plate numbers, anything to help the adjuster determine what actually happened. Work closely with your adjuster, call GIO for help. Clear yourself.
A Few More Tips
1) Don’t Fight, Switch
Many drivers are afraid of changing insurance companies after they have a “partially at-fault” or “at-fault” accident. This is true even if you have a few tickets on your record. The rates between insurance companies for drivers with collisions and/or tickets vary greatly, and big savings can be found.
Dare to compare what you’re presently paying to the best rate out there, by clicking on the link below:
2) Lending Your Car
Don’t lend your car to this driver. If you lend your car, you lend your insurance. When you let another driver drive your car, their accident counts on your record and will affect your insurance rate for 6 long years.
3) Cost of Repair
A parking lot fender bender will increase your rate the same as if you wrote off a Bentley.
For Your Protection: You need to know that even if you pay for the cost of repair to your vehicle or the other driver’s vehicle, your insurance rate would still increase if your insurance company or the other driver’s insurance company is aware of the accident.
3) When to Report an accident
Here’s what you need to know when deciding whether to report your insurance claim, or pay it yourself:
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