Did you know your insurance cost can rise dramatically after a motor vehicle collision, even if you are not charged and convicted of a Highway Traffic Act offence?
Image you are following a truck by several car lengths. Without warning, the truck stops — no brakes lights appeared. You run into the back of the truck. The police charge you with careless driving. In court, the charge is withdrawn. Months later, your insurance company notifies you that your insurance will increase significantly because of the recent collision. “But,” you respond, “I was not convicted! This is not fair!!!”
The court’s interest and your insurer’s interest in your motor vehicle collision are different.
The court is interested in determining whether or not you committed a Highway Traffic Act offence. If it concludes that you have not, the charge is withdrawn and that is the end of the court matter.
Your insurance company is interested in your driving behavior.1 For instance, even though you may have been involved in a number of collisions over a period of three years, but you were never convicted of any offence, it may still consider you a significant risk.
In the case of the rear-end collision mentioned above, the insurance company will likely determine that you are 100% at fault in accordance to the Fault Determination Rules under the Insurance Act.2
(I believe that under the Traffic Act, the driver who hits another vehicle is always at fault. Circumstances may determine whether or not the driver is charged.)
Fault Determination Rules – Regulation 668 under the Insurance Act
- s 2.(1) An insurer shall determine the degree of fault of its insured for loss or damage arising directly or indirectly from the use or operation of an automobile in accordance with these rules.
s 3. The degree of fault of an insured is determined without reference to,
(a) the circumstances in which the incident occurs, including weather conditions, road conditions, visibility or the actions of pedestrians; or
(b) the location on the insured’s automobile of the point of contact with any other automobile involved in the incident.
2. Rules for Automobiles Travelling in the Same Direction and Lane
s 6.(1) This section applies when automobile “A” is struck from the rear by automobile “B”, and both automobiles are travelling in the same direction and in the same lane.
s. 6.(2) If automobile “A” is stopped or is in forward motion, the driver of automobile “A” is not at fault and the driver of automobile “B” is 100 per cent at fault for the incident.