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Q. If I have to make a claim, how long will it take before it is reflected in my rates?
A. Your premiums may be affected at the next renewal. You may qualify for “forgiveness” of your first accident and experience little or no increase in premium. However, it could take six years before you are back at the best driving record and “the best rates.” Contact your insurance broker to find out how a claim would affect your premium.
Q. If I am sharing a car with another driver, will my insurance rates be lower than if I was the only driver on the policy?
A. Each individual situation is different. Depending on the age and driving record of each driver, there may be no charge for a second driver, or additional charges could apply. The best advice is to contact your broker to find out what effect an additional driver would have to your policy.
Q. If I get into an accident in another province, do the same insurance rules apply?
A. The rules of the province where you have the accident will prevail. If you live in a province that allows you to sue an “at fault” driver but the accident happens in a “no fault” province, you will have to look at your own policy for any payment.
Q. I am going on vacation and plan to rent a car. Does my automobile insurance policy provide any coverage for my rental?
A. If you are renting a vehicle, make sure you talk to your insurance broker in advance. Your policy can be extended to provide coverage based on your own unique needs.
Q. My credit cards promote that I have insurance coverage for car rentals. Is this sufficient?
A. Each credit card offers different coverages and limits. You need to read the small print very carefully as there may be limitations. Depend on your insurance broker, not on your credit card.
Q. Will a comprehensive claim affect my premium?
A. While a comprehensive claim will not affect your driving record, it could affect your premium. Two or more comprehensive claims in a short span of time will likely affect your rate. Your insurer might ask you for a higher deductible, not offer this coverage, or cancel you altogether if you have a number of comprehensive claims. Examples of comprehensive claims are theft, vandalism to your vehicle, or glass damage due to a pebble coming up from the pavement.
Q. My car is five years old. Do I still need collision?
A. We would say “yes” because a five year old car has more value than the amount of your insurance premium. However, the choice to add collision is up to you.
Q. Who is allowed to drive my car?
A. Technically, anyone to whom you give permission is allowed to drive your car. This is because your insurance is attached to your car, regardless who is behind the wheel. However, if a driver you have authorized gets into an accident with your car, it is your driving record that is affected. In Nova Scotia, all licensed vehicle owners must carry liability insurance. Liability coverage is extended to any person who holds a valid license and drives your car with your consent. Insurance companies want to know if there is anyone else besides you who drive your car on a regular basis.
Q. I have a son who is licensed, but I don’t let him drive my car. Nevertheless, my insurance company wants to “charge” for him anyway. What can I do about this?
A. The reason that insurers include “all licensed individuals in the household” as part of their premium calculations is that they are not allowed to refuse to settle a claim with your car. Some insurers, however, will allow you to sign a document stating that if your son has an accident with your car, that you will reimburse the company if it pays out a claim. The best thing to do is ask your broker.
Q. Are parking lot accidents normally split 50/50?
A. Not always. With many parking lots having roadways marked by specific lines of travel, the usual road rules may apply. Thus, when assessing fault, adjusters will look at the damage of the cars and how and why the collision occurred.
Q. How are driving records determined?
A. Driving records are determined primarily by the number of vehicle accidents and traffic convictions you have had.
Q. Why should we carry higher liability limits?
A. Court awards for personal injury are climbing all the time. You do not want to be in a situation when you have an accident where the court awards a payment higher than what your insurance policy will pay. If this happens, you will be required to make up the difference from your savings and the sale of your personal assets.
Q. What can I do to reduce my insurance costs?
A. Drive safely, think about carrying a higher deductible, and keep your car and your property in good and safe repair.
Q. Why are my rates going up while my car is getting older?
A. Only about 15% of your premium relates to the age of your vehicle. The remainder of your premium is affected by the same factors pushing rates up for all vehicles regardless of age.
Q. Why won't insurance companies insure rebuilt or written off vehicles?
A. If your vehicle was written off, it must have been badly damaged. There is always a worry that the repair job was inadequate. Nevertheless, many companies will insure them, but will require certification that it has been professionally rebuilt at an accredited shop and then independently inspected at an approved inspection facility.
Q. What is no-fault insurance?
A. No-fault insurance means that when there is a motor vehicle accident, each party’s insurance policy covers their own damage. No one is deemed to be at fault and required to pick up all or the greatest portion of the costs. No-fault limits the need for lawyers.
Q. Why am I penalized for putting a claim through on my policy? I thought that is what insurance is for?
A. Insurance is about risk sharing where the losses of the few are spread among the many who contribute small and like amounts to the insurance pot. Thus, your personal contribution to the pot is based on your own loss history as well as that of the group. Your insurance will pay for your claim, but your claim might result in a reassessment of your loss history which could result in a higher premium for you in the future. Thus, the claims you submit affect your future insurance payments.
Q. Do I have to pay for my insurance all at once?
A. Some companies and brokers allow payment plans of various kinds, but if your premium is minimum and retained, it is unlikely you will get a payment plan. The best thing to do is ask your broker.
Q. Will insurance prices ever come down?
A. It is difficult to say if prices will come down. It is more certain to say they will eventually stabilize.
Q. Why are my rates going up because of other people’s claims?
A. The only way insurance can work is when the many pay for the few. If there are a lot of claims, the pot of money can become exhausted unless rates rise to ensure there is enough in it to keep paying claims.
Q. What can happen if I do not pay my insurance bills on time?
A. Your policy may be cancelled. Once cancelled for any reason, it may be difficult to get another policy without paying the premium in full at inception.