By Elisabeth Axiak
Auto insurance is mandatory in Ontario – it’s the law. And since every motorist in Ontario should hold an insurance policy (that’s almost 11 million, according to IBC), it’s surprising how many people know so little about it!
That’s where we come in. We want you to know all about auto insurance – what information you need to have ready when getting auto insurance, government rules, standard inclusions in auto policies, how to be a great policyholder, and more.
Call Your Broker
As we’ve mentioned before, going through a broker to buy insurance is the best way to go. When you call them, you’ll have to have certain information ready:
- Basic details about yourself (name, date of birth, location),
- Basic details about your car (make, model, year),
- Your driving record (the date you got each of your licenses, as well as any accidents or tickets), and
- Any other drivers who might be driving your car.
Your broker will take all of that information, and shop around for the best coverage for the price.
The Golden Standard
There are five types of coverage in a standard auto insurance policy, that are the same for every insurance company across Ontario. Here’s the low-down.
1. Third-Party Liability Coverage
This protects you if someone else is injured or killed, or if their property is damaged.
2. Statutory Accident Benefits Coverage
This has to do with the benefits you are eligible to receive if you are injured in a car accident, no matter who is at fault. This can include medicine, caregivers, rehabilitation, and income replacement benefits.
3. Direct Compensation – Property Damage (DC-PD) Coverage
This covers any damage to your car when someone else is at fault for the accident.
4. Uninsured Automobile Coverage
This means that you are protected if you are in an accident with an uninsured driver.
5. OPCF 44R Family Protection Coverage
This will protect you if you have a claim against another driver for injuries and they either do not have any insurance or insufficient insurance.
There are many other optional coverages, that protect you in different ways, but the above are mandatory in Ontario. Things like collision and comprehensive coverage that are usually recommended but are not mandatory – if you’re interested in learning about these and more additional coverages click here or talk to your broker.
Here’s Where the Government Comes In
Auto insurance differs from other types of insurance in that it is both mandatory and highly regulated by the government.
First, the government dictates those standard & optional coverages that you read about above. They are the same all across Ontario.
Second, insurance companies must file all the ‘underwriting rules’ they wish to use with FSCO (Financial Services Commission of Ontario), and FSCO has to review and approve these rules (let’s just say, it’s not a quick process).
Once they are filed and approved, an insurance company can’t use any other rule to refuse you auto insurance. And while they differ from company to company, there are some that are common across the board.
Some companies use point systems to determine if they are able to sell you auto insurance, and others simply use number of infractions. If you have multiple at-fault accidents, tickets, or don’t pay your bills, you could be refused by an insurance company according to FSCO rules.
How to be an Awesome Auto Policyholder
With that being said, it’s easy to be an awesome policyholder! If you have no at-fault accidents, no tickets, and pay your bill on time, you’ll be an insurance company’s best friend. Also, many insurance companies offer discounts for having winter tires, multiple policies, and for having a policy with the company for a certain number of years.
Check out our infographic below for more info about auto insurance in Ontario!
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