Don’t give your Car Insurance Company a Reason to deny your Accident Claim

Posted by Injury Lawyers of Ontario on March 04, 2022

Your vehicle insurance policy is an integral part of a legal contract between you, or the owner of your vehicle, and the insurance company.  A policyholder needs to fully disclose all relevant personal and driving-related details to their vehicle insurer, and in exchange, the insurer agrees to pay benefits for any claims made against the policy.  Further, if there is a change in pertinent information on the vehicle insurance policy which may affect the coverage or insurance rate, the onus is on the policyholder to inform their vehicle insurer of these changes.  Failure to do so, could result in a denied claim.

Examples of changes of which your insurer must be notified include:
  • Change of address  
  • Distance regularly driven (notably, if you are listed as an infrequent driver qualifying you for a reduced rate, but your driving distance has changed)
  • A change in the principal driver or when additional drivers are using the vehicle
  • If your vehicle use has changed from personal to commercial (such as for Uber).
  • If you are adding or removing vehicles from the policy, including transfer of ownership
  • An insured driver under the policy has their licence suspended
  • Any change in circumstance which would increase your insurance rate (for example, if you received a discount for snow tires, but are no longer switching to snow tires for winter driving.
  • The vehicle is modified in a way that affects the value or driving safety.

The OAP (Ontario Automobile Policy) section 1.4 states, if the policyholder fails to meet their responsibilities, claims for accident compensation may be denied, excluding certain Accident Benefits.  Specifically, the owner of the policy agrees to the following conditions when accepting the vehicle insurance contract:

  • The vehicle owner agrees to promptly notify the insurer in writing of any significant change in their status of a driver, owner or lessee of the insured vehicle(s).
  • The owner agrees to notify the insurer of any changes which may increase the risk of an accident or potentially impact their current insurance rates.
  • The owner must inform the insurer in a timely manner of any changes in relevant information on their existing policy, such as an additional driver.

Since your vehicle insurance policy requires that you reveal all drivers in the household who are using the insured vehicle, if someone is living in your household and using the insured vehicle, even only occasionally, you must inform your insurer of the situation. 

The bottom line is that it’s important to be honest and forthcoming with your vehicle insurer and on your insurance policy.  If you, or another person who you gave permission to drive your car, is involved in an accident and your insurance details don’t reflect your current situation, you risk not only having to pay your own damages, but also having your policy cancelled and insurance rates skyrocket. 

However, in any circumstance when your vehicle insurer is unfairly denying your claim, talk to a knowledgeable car accident lawyer in your community to learn about your legal rights in the matter. 

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