If you’re involved in an accident in a parking lot or on the road and are found to be at fault, in most cases there will be repercussions regarding your car insurance. But that doesn’t mean there aren’t steps you can take to minimize the impact.
Take note as we explain what happens after an at-fault accident and what you can do to protect yourself.
At the scene of the car accident
After the car accident has occurred, it might be tempting to yell out “sorry!” and take the blame (we’re Canadian, after all). But resist the urge to do so. It’s the job of law enforcement and the car insurance companies to determine where the fault lies. It’s best to keep quiet, even if the other driver is pressuring you. It’s one of the important accident insurance claims do’s and don’ts.
Admitting fault at the scene will only make things more difficult for you. Besides, you might actually end up falsely implicating yourself. It’s important, however, to exchange information with the other driver. After checking for injuries, gather their insurance and contact information.
Next, report the car accident to the police. Do not leave the scene before officers arrive. Be honest in your account of events. If an officer determines you made a violation, you may be issued a ticket. Afterward, report the incident to your car insurance company.
How is fault determined?
In many cases, both drivers are partially at fault in a car accident. The insurance companies will assign different degrees of fault, regardless of whether or not you receive a ticket from police.
Ontario has strict rules regarding the determination of fault.
If you’re found to be more than 50% at fault, the car accident report could affect your insurance when your policy renews. A carrier might also surcharge your insurance if you received a traffic violation or if you file a claim and are found to be at fault.
Car accident forgiveness
One way to protect yourself against premium increases due to an at-fault accident is to buy accident forgiveness coverage. If you’ve got a clean record and have been driving for six years, this coverage will stop your premium from rising. It may be some time after an accident, however, in order to be granted a clean slate again.
Accident forgiveness coverage may not be purchased immediately after an accident has occurred, and may not be available for all makes and models. If you want to purchase the coverage again then you’ll need to maintain a clean driving record for 4-7 years without an at-fault claim, depending on your insurer.
Mitigate the blow of an at-fault accident
If you keep in mind the information above, you can take some of the sting out of an at-fault accident. Despite how tempting it might be to try making things right by admitting fault right away, remember it’s the job of cops and insurance agents to make that determination. Do your best to protect yourself after an accident.
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