Common Accident Coverages

Your guide to understanding common accident coverages when it comes to auto insurance in Canada.

Common Accident Coverages

Canadians are required by law to have two types of car insurance coverage: third party liability and accident benefit. Collision coverage and comprehensive are optional. Insurance coverage costs vary widely based on numerous factors, but may generally average between $150 and $300 a month. Even with a slightly less valuable Canadian dollar factored in, insurance costs are often significantly higher than the average cost of car insurance just south of the border. No wonder Canadians complain so much about their car insurance premiums!

If you are looking to purchase car insurance in Canada, be aware that the cost varies based on several factors. City dwellers may pay more than country folk. Vehicle type is a factor. Some vehicles are more likely to cause severe bodily injury in a collision, while others are tank-like things that offer more protection to those inside. New cars raise the insurance bill because it costs more to replace them.

If getting comprehensive coverage, note that Ford pickups, Honda Civics and Cadillac Escalades are in the top ten most frequently stolen cars in Canada and could raise your premium. What province you live in, your age and gender, and your past driving record all come into play when insurance companies set prices. Unlike in the United States, car colour is not a consideration. Whether your car is foreign or not is also not a big factor.

Comparing Policies & Features

Common accident coverage with regards to injury will address the following: medical expenses, income replacement, funeral costs, and death benefits. The no-fault government mandated system makes insurance companies pay for injuries to their clients regardless of fault. Claims in excess of the policy can be settled in court in most provinces, but not in Quebec. Many of the benefits for bodily injury, death, etc. are set by provincial governments and vary from province to province. Ontario, for example, awards $6,000 for funeral costs, but Quebec allots $4,825. Quebec requires 90 per cent of income to be reimbursed, but Ontario requires 70 per cent.

When comparing policies, check out both premiums and deductibles. Some add-on features like roadside assistance and protection against uninsured motorists may be available, but accident benefits and damage to another driver's vehicle are usually included in all policies. Commonly included features like payments to your spouse and children should be compared as well. Some policies will go beyond the bare legal requirements, but expect to pay extra for that. Also, always ask about discounts for good driving, a claims-free record, and loyalty to your company, and insuring multiple vehicles with the same company.

Due to safer driving and other factors, Canada has seen a significant drop in auto accident fatalities. There were 3,445 in 1990, compared to 2,006 in 2011. Yet there are still over 100,000 accident benefit claims a year, and over $14 million dollars in claims for private passenger vehicles alone according to the Insurance Bureau of Canada.

Insurance companies can only estimate their costs, since accidents are not 'predictable'. Although provinces have taken action to attempt to limit claim amounts, insurance premiums still may be high. This is why comparison shopping is absolutely necessary.

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