The Ontario Automobile Policy (OAP 1) states:
“If you own an automobile that is operated on a highway in Ontario, certain insurance coverages are required by law.”
If certain insurance coverages are required by law, then what isn’t required and what could you be liable for if you injure or kill someone, or damage property, in a car accident?
The Ontario Automobile Policy does generally summarize in a chart the type of coverage that is required by law and optional insurance which is available. But who really reads this over 60-pages Policy, which accompanies your Certificate of Automobile Insurance after you’ve bought the insurance?
Lawyers do pore over the Policy when assisting their clients with their insurance claims. This includes when insurance companies ask for the return of their payout.
Customers Go In Blind When Buying Car Insurance
Customers know they need to buy auto insurance, but they may not know what auto coverages would fit their needs.
One area drivers and owner of motor vehicles who have gotten into car accidents have often wished they paid more attention to when buying auto insurance is their coverage limits. It doesn’t really cost much more to get an additional million dollar coverage. Although it is time-consuming to shop for and buy auto insurance, it is worthwhile to spend a few more minutes with insurance brokers to discuss the additional cost to increase coverage limits. Otherwise you may end up in a situation where a lawyer will inform you that you’ll be personally paying an injured party for damages.
Interestingly the Ontario government has launched a consultation to make “auto insurance more accessible and affordable in Ontario”. In asking you how you feel about your current auto insurance plan, the Ontario government wants to know your level of agreement with statements like:
- “My insurance policy is easy to understand”, and
- “I can easily find an auto insurance policy that meets my needs.”
Another question the consultation seeks information on is how you feel about shopping for insurance. For example, what is your level of agreement with the statement “Shopping for and buying auto insurance is easy”?
Auto Insurance Checklist
It’s challenging to really know what one’s needs are when it comes to auto insurance, especially as a first-time buyer.
Two areas you should at least speak with insurance brokers about when shopping around for auto insurance are:
- Third party liability coverage, and
- Enhanced accident benefit coverage.
These concepts are explained in my Auto Insurance Checklist blog post.
The bottom line is that you should not opt for the cheapest auto insurance. If you do and you end up in a car accident where the victim is, for example, a young person earning a good income and can no longer work, damages can very easily be over a million dollars. The victim may look to you personally for the portion not covered by your third party liability coverage. You may want to consider increasing your limits.
Ontario Auto Insurance Consultation Deadline
If you want to have your say on car insurance in Ontario, here’s the link to the consultation: https://www.ontario.ca/form/survey-making-auto-insurance-more-accessible-and-affordable-ontario. The consultation ends February 15, 2019.
If you have questions regarding your car insurance policy, contact Douglas Strelshik. For over 30 years, Douglas has been representing drivers and owners of vehicles in auto insurance claims. He can also assist if you’ve been hurt, as he has over 30 years of experience representing injured parties.