Every day, thousands, if not millions, of Albertans get into their cars to go to work, run errands, or simply tour the city. Nobody gets into their car expecting to be in an accident. However, accidents do occur.
Besides damage to your vehicle, property damage, or potential bodily injuries, car accidents can have significant financial implications. You might face increased insurance premiums, lasting several years.
The precise increase depends on several factors, including the accident severity, your insurance provider and whether you’re responsible for the previous accident.
Safe driving habits are an excellent way to safeguard yourself and others on the road. As a registered car owner or driver, you should know how the at fault accident impacts your auto insurance and what you may do to mitigate the effects. Visit the pros at Surex to discover the best auto insurance companies in Alberta.
What is an at fault accident Alberta?
An at fault accident refers to a vehicle collision/accident caused due to a driver’s negligence. In legal terms, negligence is described as a failure to take reasonable care or failure to follow responsible driving practices to prevent bodily harm or property damage to another person.
This indicates you failed to follow traffic or safety rules while driving, including not hitting the brakes at a red signal or driving under the influence of alcohol.
Generally, the auto insurance company manages your claim payout. In a conventional at fault system, the auto insurance company of the driver found to be at fault will be responsible for both the driver’s damages (one causing the accident, another the victim of the accident).
Depending on the intricacy of each case, resolving settlement claims takes substantial time, ranging from weeks to months.
Process of determining at fault accidents by insurance companies
When an accident occurs, every auto insurance company investigates by following certain norms and guidelines to determine which party involved in the collision is at fault.
These sets of guidelines are known as Fault Determination Rules and are followed province-wide. The Insurance Act of each province defines the Fault Determination Rules. In case you get into a road traffic accident involving your vehicle, you can be ruled from zero faults to 100% at fault.
Fault categories include:
- Vehicles travelling in a common direction and lane
- Automobiles travelling in a common direction but adjacent/different lanes
- Cars travelling in opposite directions in adjacent/different lanes/divided-lanes
- Vehicles meeting and driving through at an intersection
- Parking lot events
- Other driving circumstances not enlisted in the above categories
The Fault Determination Rules also include the repercussions if a driver is found guilty/charged by police with driving, including Driving Under Influence (DUI) or high-risk driving.
Using the guidelines enlisted in this document, an auto insurance company determines and evaluates who’s responsible (at fault) for the accident/collision. As the driver, if you’re responsible for even 25% of the accident, your auto insurance prices are likely to rise upon renewal or the next new insurance policy from another insurance company.
At fault accident insurance increase Alberta — How much will my insurance go up with an at fault accident Alberta?
When you renew or purchase an auto insurance policy, a history of vehicular accidents may lead to increased insurance rates. However, whether your insurance rates will increase or not depends on various factors, including:
- Who is responsible for causing the accident?
- Your past driving history and incident records
- If an accident occurred in the past, what was the claim amount?
If you’re ruled not at fault for causing the accident, your auto insurance rates might not get affected.
However, even when you’re responsible for the collision, the insurance rates might not rise significantly under two circumstances:
- If you haven’t filed any insurance claims in the recent past
- The claim amount is minimal.
Additionally, according to the terms and conditions, if you’re covered under the Accident Forgiveness Program, you might not experience increased premiums even for an at fault accident.
Even after an accident, when your premiums increase, you don’t need to pay the increased premiums unless your policy renews or you modify/upgrade policies.
When you’re involved and responsible for causing more than one collision within three years, your premium increases add up, leading to significantly expensive auto insurance.
To sum up, you might not face increased insurance if:
- You’re covered under the accident forgiveness program
- You’re not responsible for causing the collision
- You have a clean driving record without charges of traffic violations
- Responsible for a minor accident with minimal claims.
How do insurance companies react to at fault accidents in various phases?
Any increase in insurance premiums will be effective from the policy renewal. This increment may last from six to nine years, and this period varies from company to company.
First-time at fault accident
- Your premium might remain unaffected if you have a claim- and conviction-free driving record for six or more years.
- Even if an increment is imposed, it will likely be minimal.
- After the first time of an at fault incident, you’ll require six years of claim-free and conviction-free driving for complete clearance and a fresh record.
Second at fault accident
- If you get into a second-time at fault collision within five years, your auto insurance premiums generally likely go up unless you have any special forms of coverage.
- Depending on the collision and severity of the collision, you can be labelled as a high-risk driver.
- Again for the next six years, you’ll need to maintain a collision-free and claims-free record to clear this label.
Three or more at fault accidents
- With a record of three or more at fault accidents, your insurance premium will surely increase, and you will be labelled a high-risk driver.
- Finding cheap insurance can become a challenging task.
Careful and responsible driving is the first step to preventing accidents. However, even with exceptional care, accidents may happen. Having an auto-insurance and understanding how it works can be incredibly helpful in such situations.
Additionally, damages or injuries are not always felt immediately. If you’ve not filed for the accident and claimed for insurance, you might need to pay these charges from your pocket immediately.
Connect with an insurance broker to understand the premium rates and compare policies to find the suitable one for your vehicle.