Congratulations, you are the proud owner of a vehicle in Ontario!! Maybe it’s your very first car, or maybe you’ve picked up new wheels to match a change in lifestyle. One thing is certain: regardless of the vehicle type, style, or cost, you will need car insurance before getting behind the wheel and hitting the road. Consider options, but know what coverage is required. As a driver, you’ll want to make sure you’re fully protected.
Some of the insurance coverages available to you are optional, while others are required under Ontario law. You also have the option to buy increased limits under some coverage to better protect you and your family. We recommend you give this some serious consideration. The auto insurance coverage you are required to carry includes Liability, Accident Benefits, Uninsured Automobile, and Direct Compensation Property Damage. Let’s take a quick look at each to better understand the purpose of the coverage.
Liability auto insurance protects you in case you were to cause bodily injury or property damage to others, it pays for claims against you up to your coverage limit, plus certain costs of the judgement. Key thing to remember is this coverage does not cover you the driver, it’s intended to provide protection for others. If you’re sued, your liability will only cover you up to this limit and you’re personally responsible for the difference in a court decision. Make sure you consider carry a higher limit than required, we feel it’s in your best interest.
Accident Benefits auto insurance is meant to provide you with benefits if you are injured in an auto accident, regardless of who caused the accident. These benefits include Supplementary Medical Care, Rehabilitation and Attendant Care, Income Replacement, Caregiver and both Funeral and Death Benefits when there is a resulting death from an automobile accident. A detailed explanation of all benefits should be part of your insurance review, both before you buy, and when your auto insurance policy renews. This is a complex element of your coverage, take the time to have a professional insurance advisor explain in detail what each section covers and what your options are for limits. Ask lots of questions! We understand it may be overwhelming, but it an important aspect of the policy coverage. If someone in your family were injured in an auto accident, wouldn’t you want to know you purchased the proper protection to take care of them?
Uninsured Automobile insurance protects you if you are injured (or even killed) by an uninsured driver or by a hit-and-run driver. It also covers damage to your vehicle that is caused by an identified uninsured driver. Good to know, but no options to consider.
Direct Compensation Property Damage auto insurance covers you in Ontario for damage to your vehicle and the property it’s carrying when another driver is responsible for an accident, in other words it wasn’t your fault. It’s called Direct Compensation because you collect directly from your insurance company, even though you, or someone using the car with your permission, were not totally at fault for the accident. Claiming against your own policy saves time and helps to get your vehicle repaired and back on the road quickly.
The Extra Value
Your coverages should be discussed thoroughly with a professional insurance advisor. In some circumstances, there will be conditions and limits that apply. You will also have the option to increase some of the limits on your coverage; this is especially important with your liability and accident benefits, so think seriously about taking advantage of this option. Take the time to review all your coverage, discuss the non-mandatory options available, and ask questions of your insurer until you understand both what your car insurance includes and what it excludes. This is where the true value of your insurance purchase comes in, you can purchase an auto insurance product online but you won’t get the professional advice and proper recommendations you really need.
Car insurance is an important part of your financial plan. Educate yourself at every opportunity, especially when buying or renewing your insurance so you can make the best informed decision possible. Beyond that, drive safely and enjoy the road!
Article Written by Darcy Johnson
Erie Mutual Insurance Manager – Sales, Marketing & Business Development
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