As if an auto accident isn’t perilous and stressful enough, Statistics Brain in the US is telling us that accidents caused by uninsured motorists make up about 14% of all collisions. In the southern US, it’s even worse, with an astounding one quarter of all accidents caused by the uninsured.
Does your current policy cover everything you need for years, if you were seriously injured by an uninsured motorist?
A Toronto Star report said that uninsured motorists cost Ontario car owners about $127 million each year. In 2002, it was believed that 2% of drivers on the road were uninsured and there are 2100 collisions involving uninsured drivers every year in this province.
There are those who will continue to drive after being told they’re uninsurable, or their insurance policy has expired, and for whatever reason, they are likely to get into a collision. One instance reported on a legal site, talked of one uninsured driver who was driving his girlfriend’s car. He was not covered under her policy. CAA Insurance apparently denied the claim on his girlfriend’s insurance policy.
In a precedent setting case, the Ontario court of appeals determined that “the statutory conditions in the auto policy do not apply to uninsured coverage, except as otherwise provided in the contract” and that there was nothing in the contract that extended the reach of the conditions to that coverage.”
When this type of incident happens, a claim has to be made on your insurance policy. Let’s assume the uninsured driver stays at the scene, and it’s not a hit and run. You are covered for damages under your auto insurance policy. Uninsured driver coverage is mandatory in all policies sold in Ontario. You’ll still need to inquire with your broker about whether you’re covered for your trips into the United States however.
What is the government doing about this? Back in 2010, the Ontario government launched the insurance validation program. MTO can match the VIN numbers of vehicles to a database of insured drivers provided by the Insurance Bureau of Canada.
Ontario’s Insurance Validation Program can help to prevent uninsured drivers from getting vehicle plates and stickers and perhaps discourage them from driving. IVP does not cover commercial vehicle, motorcycles, motorhomes, and corporate owned vehicles.
Police routinely operate Ride Checks throughout the province. Their goal is to find drunk drivers, however they can check for other violations too. They stop millions of drivers every year and lay thousands of charges.
You just saw the stats, so the odds are high enough. The danger is when the damages are very high, let’s say over $200,000. Your own insurance may not cover it. You can purchase an additional type of insurance called the Family Protection Coverage. That might give you $1 Million in coverage.
If you’ve been in a number of collisions, you’ve likely been asked or begged by the other driver not to call the police or report it to your insurance company. That would be unwise. If they’re uninsured, it’s highly likely they don’t have enough funds so the cheque they offer to write would bounce.
If you have been hit, stay calm, and survey the damage. Get a piece of paper and write down their license plate number and then ask for their license and registration. Don’t say anything about your intentions. If the estimated damage is above $400, you’re obligated by law to call police right away. So you have no choice but to call them and as well, report the incident to your insurance company when you’re able to.
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