Not Reporting Accident Could Lead To More Peril: Auto Insurance Tips
Traffic accidents cause stress, fear and worries about costs. Many of us are not aware however, of the risks and consequences in store if we don’t report an auto accident to our insurance company. Not reporting an auto accident could be a breach of your insurance contract leading to many unexpected consequences. Insurance companies become aware of unreported accidents in many ways, such as from police reports, collision reporting centres, claims databases, driving records and other insurance companies. When you buy your car insurance policy, you have agreed by contract to inform the insurance company within seven days, or as soon as possible, of all accidents that must be reported to the police. Your contract also obligates you to inform the insurance company if you intend to make a claim, or if there is any significant change to your status as a driver, such as a suspended licence.
According to the provincial insurance regulator, the Financial Services Commission of Ontario (FSCO), the consequences of breaching the contract with your insurer could include:
- A rejection of future claims on the unreported accident.
- A refusal to defend you if a lawsuit is filed against you.
- An increase in your insurance rates.
- The cancellation of your insurance policy.
- A refusal to renew your insurance policy.
When to involve the police
According to FSCO, the police must be called if:
- someone is injured;
- the total damage to the vehicles appears to be more than $1,000; or
- there is damage to the roadway or to property on or bordering the roadway.
In addition to these requirements, you must remain at the scene of an auto accident. Failure to do so may subject you to criminal prosecution.
You should also call the police if you suspect the involvement of alcohol or drugs, or criminal activity.
For more information on auto insurance, visit FSCO’s website at www.fsco.gov.on.ca.
-- News Canada