As a driver in Canada, you need adequate insurance coverage for your needs. But what is often overlooked is the fact that maintaining coverage takes effort, too. That begins with understanding which actions can void your insurance policy.
What happens if your car insurance is voided?
Voiding or invalidating your car insurance means that your coverage is no longer effective, and the insurance company will not pay for any claims you may make. Insurance companies typically have specific procedures they must follow when cancelling a policy, and the requirements can vary depending on local regulations and the terms outlined in your contract.
For an insurer to cancel your policy, they’ll typically need to give you notice. The amount of notice required varies by province. For example, in Quebec the notice period is either 15 or 30 days, while in Ontario it can be between five to 30 days.
Without insurance, you won’t be able to drive. However, depending on the reason for the insurer cancelling your policy, you might still be able to shop around and secure coverage from another provider. However, while you may be able to find a policy elsewhere, keep in mind that your insurance history can affect future rates. For example, if your insurance is voided because you didn't pay your premiums, resulting in a gap in your coverage, you might have to pay more for your next insurance policy.
Remember that specific terms and conditions can vary between insurance providers and policies, so always check the details of your individual policy.
What can void your car insurance?
Here are some common reasons that could lead to the voidance of your car insurance:
Driving under the influence
If you are found to be driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs at the time of an accident, your insurance company may deny your claim and cancel your coverage.
Failing to report accidents promptly
You are typically required to report any accidents or claims promptly. Failing to do so may jeopardize your coverage.
Non-payment of premiums
As mentioned above, if you fail to pay your insurance premiums on time, your coverage may lapse, and your policy could be voided.
Misrepresentation or fraud
Providing false information or intentionally withholding relevant details when applying for insurance could lead to the voiding of your policy. This includes inaccurate information about your driving history, the use of the vehicle, or your personal details.
Negligent or reckless driving
Engaging in reckless or negligent driving behaviour, such as excessive speeding, aggressive driving, or participating in illegal street racing, may void your insurance coverage.
Licence suspension or revocation
If your driver's licence is suspended or revoked and you continue to drive, any accidents that occur during this period may not be covered.
Unapproved use of the vehicle
If your policy is for personal use, using your vehicle for commercial purposes (such as driving for a rideshare company) without informing your insurer could lead to voiding your coverage.
Unapproved vehicle modifications
Making significant modifications to your vehicle without notifying your insurance company may result in your coverage being voided. Examples include engine modifications, changes to the suspension, or alterations that affect the safety and performance of the vehicle.
If someone not listed on your policy regularly drives your car and gets into an accident, your coverage may not apply.
What can you do if your insurance is voided?
So, what are your options if your insurance is voided? If the voiding was due to a specific issue, such as non-payment of premiums or failure to disclose information, address the problem promptly. Contact your insurance company, rectify the issue, and inquire about the possibility of reinstating your coverage. You might also choose to look for other insurance providers who may be willing to offer you coverage.
Additionally, some regions have high-risk insurance pools or assigned risk plans for individuals who face challenges in obtaining insurance through traditional channels known as Facility Association auto insurance. These plans are typically more expensive, but they can provide coverage to those who might otherwise be denied.
Each situation is unique, and the availability of options may vary based on factors such as location, driving history, and the reason for the voided insurance. Act promptly, be transparent with potential insurers about your history, and drive responsibly to avoid further complications.
Additionally, carefully review your insurance policy documents and communicate any changes in circumstances or modifications to your vehicle to your insurance provider promptly in order to avoid potential issues.
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