All About Auto Insurance - Option Consommateurs

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All aboutautoinsurance

Legal Deposit – Bibliothèque et Archives nationales du Québec, 2011Legal Deposit – Library and Archives Canada, 2011

Table of contentsBuying auto insurance4446679121415Who is insured?Who can sell you insurance?CoverageCivil liabilityCoverage for damage to the insured vehicleEndorsementsYour premiumFichier central des sinistres automobiles (FCSA)Things you can do to reduce your premiumRenewing your policy161617Cancelling the policyHaving trouble finding insurance?Settling a claim18Useful information20All about auto insurance3

Buying autoinsuranceIn Quebec, everyone who owns a vehicle is required to purchaseauto insurance. Here are some things to consider.Who is insured?Auto insurance covers the vehicle and the drivers.Generally, the main user of the vehicle is called theprincipal driver and the other users are calledoccasional drivers. When setting the premium,the insurer factors in the claims experience of theprincipal driver and that of the occasional drivers.Does your son drive your car? You need to tell yourinsurer to avoid any complications should therebe a claim.Who can sell you insurance?Insurance brokers: brokers offer the productsof insurance companies with which theyhave agreements.Insurance agents: agents work for a specificinsurance company.Before you decide to do business with either a brokeror an agent, check out prices, the products beingproposed and the quality of the service.4All about auto insurance

TwoplanspublicprivateThe private plan, managed byinsurers, covers civil liabilityand property damage.Whether they’re driving athome or abroad, all Quebecersare covered under the publicplan, which covers bodilyinjury sustained in anautomobile accident. The planis administered by the Sociétéde l’assurance automobiledu Québec (SAAQ).All about auto insurance5

A standardcontractIn Quebec, the automobile insurance policy isa standard contract authorized by the Autoritédes marchés financiers (AMF). The wordingof your insurance policy and that of yourneighbour are the same; the only differencelies in the choice of coverage andinsurance amounts.CoverageCivil liability(Section A of the insurance policy)All vehicle owners in Quebec are required to hold civil liability coverage for at least 50,000. Once referred to as “partial insurance”, it covers:Damage resulting from a collision where the insured is not at fault.Material damage and bodily injury when the accident occurs outside Quebec.Damage caused to a third party for which the insured is responsible.Most often, consumers choose 1 million of civil liability coverage.6All about auto insurance

Coverage for damage to the insured vehicle(Section B of the insurance policy)Coverage can take different forms:“Collision or Upset”: covers damage to the vehicle caused by collision or upset.It’s this coverage that covers damage for an at-fault accident.“Comprehensive – Excluding Collision or Upset”: specifically covers your vehicle ifit’s stolen, if the windshield breaks or if damage is the result of fire, vandalism, wind,hail and water. This coverage also covers damage caused by a collision with personsor animals.“All Perils”: covers all damage mentioned in both previous types of coverage.“Specified Perils”: covers specific risks and is of relatively limited scope.What’s thedeductible?The deductible is the amount you agreeto pay in case of a loss.Most common deductiblesCollision or Upset: 250 to 1,000Comprehensive (fire, theft, vandalism,broken windshield): 100 to 250All Perils (includes the above coverages): 250 or 500.Choose your deductible based on your financialability to assume this amount in the eventof a loss.All about auto insurance7

Takinga vacationDriving to your vacationdestination? Let your insurerknow, especially if you’replanning to travel outsideQuebec. In some cases, it maybe advisable to increase yourliability coverage by one ortwo million dollars, to makesure you’re protected in caseof a law suit.You should also know that yourinsurance policy only coversyou in Canada and the U.S.Consequently, if you’re planningto travel anywhere else inthe world, contact your brokeror your insurer.8All about auto insurance

43EndorsementsYou can also purchase additional insurance coverage in the form of endorsements.Here are the most popular.Change to loss payment (Endorsement 43)Commonly referred to as “replacement cost”, this endorsement allows you to beindemnified without depreciation being calculated. In case of a total or partial loss,the insurer establishes the cost of repairing the damaged portions of your vehicleor replacing it, without taking into account its depreciation.Short-term rental of a vehicle (Endorsement 20)This endorsement covers the cost of renting a vehicle for a specific period whileyour vehicle is being repaired or until it is replaced.Damage to vehicles not owned by the insured (Endorsement 27)This endorsement provides coverage should you damage a vehicle that you’veborrowed or rented. It’s often more advantageous than the insurance offeredby the rental company.2720All about auto insurance9

Since October 1, 2010, the replacement guarantee sold by dealers is replaced by replacementinsurance. Endorsement 43 – Change to losspayment remains in force. If you’re thinkingof getting replacement cost coverage for yourvehicle, there are two products you canchoose from.Replacementinsurance orEndorsement 43?Both products share similarities .They top up the automobile insurance policy.Without this policy, you cannot getreplacement insurance or Endorsement 43.They are offered for new and used vehicles.They are insurance products, sold byinsurance companies.They pay out an indemnity withoutdepreciation in the event of a loss(total loss or partial loss).10All about auto insurance

. and differences.Endorsement 43Replacement insuranceAlthough there is a defined period(three to five years), it is renewedeach year or every two years, at thesame time as the policy.Specified duration of up to eightyears without renewal.Offered by insurers or brokers.Offered by insurers, brokers orcar dealers.Partial lossPartial lossReplacement of damaged partsby new original parts only if thesecannot be repaired.Replacement of damaged partsby new original parts, even if theoriginal parts can be repaired (up toan amount determined in the policy).Total loss (or theft) – new vehicleTotal loss (or theft) – new vehicleChoice to be made at the timethe claim is made:Obligation to replace the vehicle asper the option chosen at the timethe policy is purchased:a) Replace the vehicle by a newor used vehicle of equal, loweror greater value (from the dealerof your choice);orb) Not replace the vehicle(cash indemnity).Note : If you replace your vehiclewith a vehicle of a greater value,you pay the difference.Following a claimThe policy does not automaticallyend. The new vehicle can be insuredby the same policy.a) Replace the vehicle by a newvehicle of equal or greater valuefrom the designated dealer inthe policy;orb) Receive payment of the indemnityand replace the vehicle from thedealer of your choice.Note : If you replace your vehiclewith a vehicle of a greater value,you pay the difference.Following a claimThe policy ends. The insurerreimburses you the unused portionof the premium. The policy cannotbe transferred to another vehicle.All about auto insurance11

Your premiumYour auto insurance premium is based on a number of factors:What car you drive (make, model, year, value, repair costs, etc.).What you use your car for (pleasure, going to and from work, for your work).Where you live and where you use your car.Driver profile (age, sex, etc.).Coverage (or endorsements) chosen.The number of accidents you’ve had and the number of claims you’ve made,whether or not you were at fault, as tracked by the claims database Fichier centraldes sinistres automobiles (FCSA).Your driving record at the Société de l’assurance automobile du Québec (SAAQ).It contains information on your driving experience and your demerit points.N.B.Your credit information is also one of the factors used by the majority of insurersto propose a more equitable premium. The insurer will ask you for your consent toaccess this information. You have the right to refuse. However, you should know thatthis information may allow the insurer to offer you a lower premium.12All about auto insurance

To save money, you omit to providecertain information or to tell yourinsurer about an accident. Bad idea!Should you make a claim, youromission will affect the amountyou’ll receive for damages. Andin some cases, it may even resultin your receiving no payment at all.Self-employed?What youshould know!Tell the truth,the whole truthAre you self-employed? Tell yourinsurer. This will enable you tobe adequately covered. If youneglect to tell your insurer andhave a work-related accident,you run the risk of only beingcompensated partially ornot at all.All about auto insurance13

Fichier central des sinistres automobiles (FCSA)The FCSA is a database which tracks all automobile claims filed in the past six years(accident, theft, vandalism, etc.). Insurers refer to it to check your automobile claimsexperience.Custodian of the vehicleSince April 1, 2009, claims are attributed to the custodian of the vehicle, namely theperson at the wheel or the person who had charge of the vehicle when the accidenthappened. For example, if you lend your car to your son and were he to have anaccident, the incident will be entered in your son’s file, not in yours.Consulting your claims record or correcting errorsYou may consult your FCSA file at any time. And if you believe that it contains an error,you can have it checked. To do so, go to, print the form for thispurpose and follow the instructions.14All about auto insurance

Things you can do to reduce your premiumShop around and ask for quotes from at least three insurers. The premiumscharged for auto insurance can vary by as much as three times from one insurerto the other.Buy your auto insurance and your home insurance from the same insurer.Raise your deductible.Have an anti-theft device installed (immobilizer, alarm system, GPS, etc.).Choose your vehicle with care. Some models, such as four-door sedans,are less popular with thieves.Drive carefully and respect the Highway Safety Code.All about auto insurance15

Renewingyour policyYour auto insurance is renewed automatically. The insurer isrequired to send the insured or the insured’s broker a notice ofrenewal 30 days prior to the policy maturity date. Renewal isautomatic unless either you or your insurer gives notice to thecontrary.You should know that your insurer can decide not to renew yourpolicy at maturity. Some of the reasons most often given includemisrepresenting facts, high number of claims and non-paymentof the premium.Cancelling the policyYou can cancel your policy at any time and for any reason by giving notice in writing toyour insurer. Are you cancelling your policy because you’ve received a more attractiveproposal from another insurer? Check to see whether it’s really worth it, as your insurermay charge you a penalty, as set out in the cancellation table appended to your policy;the longer the remaining policy term, the higher the penalty.Your insurer has the right to cancel your auto insurance policy within 60 days of itscoming into force regardless of the reason. After this period, your insurer can onlycancel your policy if the risk has increased or if you haven’t paid your premium.16All about auto insurance

Having trouble finding insurance?Contact the Insurance Information Centre. Specialists will study your file and can helpyou find a solution. This service is free.Insurance Information CentreMontreal: 514 288-4321Elsewhere in Quebec: 1 877 288-4321All about auto insurance17

Settling a claimWe all hope never to have an accident. But if one occurs,there are certain steps you have to take.12Get in touchwith thecompetentauthoritieswhere neededComplete aJoint Report inthe case of anaccident withno injuryIf someone’s beeninjured, call 911immediately for anambulance andthe police.This practical documentallows the driversinvolved to identifythemselves andquickly report theaccident to theirrespective insurers.If your vehicle hasbeen stolen ordamaged in a hit andrun, file a report at thenearest police station.If you don’t have acopy of the JointReport handy, havethe other driverprovide you with thefollowing information:name, address,telephone number,driver’s licence number and registrationcertificate, certificateof insurance.Fenderbender18All about auto insurance34Call yourinsurer or yourbroker as soonas possibleAssessing yourresponsibilityin the case ofa collisionHave your insurancepolicy handy anddescribe the circumstances of the accidentas best you can.To assess your degreeof responsibility, yourinsurer will use theDirect CompensationAgreement whichillustrates virtuallyevery possibleaccident scenario.Then send yoursupporting documents:Joint Report, photos,police report number,towing bills, etc.You no longer need to have the policecome for a simple fender bender.Even if the police do come, they’re notthe ones that establish the responsibilityof each driver involved in the accident:it’s your insurer who does that whenthe claim is settled.Your insurer will thenlet you know what thenext steps are to havethe damage evaluatedand repaired, or thevehicle replaced.

DirectCompensationAgreement(DCA)Under the Direct Compensation Agreement, insurersare responsible for paying for property damagesustained by their insured, whether or not the insuredis responsible for the accident.If the insured is at fault, he or she will be compensatedprovided the insurance policy covers collisions(section B of the policy), and will have to pay a deductible.If the insured is not at-fault, he or she will be compensatedeven if the policy does not cover the collision, and will nothave to pay the deductible. The Agreement applies onlyto collisions that occur in Quebec. You can download a copy ofthe Agreement at your car isstolenSettlementofferRepairingthe vehicleYou will becompensated onlyif you purchasedComprehensive orAll Perils coverageunder Section Bof your policy.Before you haverepairs made, yourinsurer must haveexamined the damageto the vehicle and youmust have come toagreement aboutthe amount of theindemnity.Prefer to deal with agarage of your choice?You can do so.However, make sureyour repairer iscompetent so thatthe repairs respect thespecifications andthe price agreed onwith your insurer.Your insurer willgenerally wait 30 daysbefore compensatingyou, in case yourvehicle is recoveredwithin that period.Your insurer will alsodetermine the repairor replacement termsand conditions for thevehicle dependingon the coverage youchose when youpurchased the policy.Your insurer mustindemnify you within60 days followingreceipt of yourdeclaration of loss or,if requested by yourinsurer, of theinformation orsupportingdocuments.7If you’ve chosen yourown garage, yourinsurer will issue acheque in your nameand that of the garage,which you canendorse and remit tothe latter, once you’resatisfied the repairshave been made.If you choose to havethe vehicle repairedby the garagerecommended byyour insurer, thelatter will pay thegarage directly.All about auto insurance19

Useful informationFor more information, check out the following Web sites:www.infoinsurance.caA comprehensive Web site on insurancewww.option-consommateurs.orgWeb site of Option consommateurs, a non-profit organization that informs and assiststhousands of consumers.www.bac-quebec.qc.caWeb site of Insurance Bureau of Canada for Quebecwww.gaa.qc.caWeb site of Groupement des assureurs automobilesWWWQuestions?If you’re not satisfied with your insurer’s response to a claim, you can contact theInsurance Information Centre. An expert will inform you of your rights and recourse,assist you, intercede on your behalf with your insurer and, if needed, offer youthe services of a mediator.Agents from the Insurance Information Centre are also available to answer yourauto and home insurance questions.Insurance Information CentreMontreal: 514 288-4321Elsewhere in Quebec: 1 877 288-432120All about auto insurance

About the Insurance Bureau of Canada (IBC)Founded in 1964, the IBC is the national trade associationof the private property and casualty insurance industry.Its members supply more than 90% of the non-government home, car and business insurance in Canada.Together with its members, IBC strives to constantly helpconsumers gain a better understanding of their insuranceand prides itself on being an unparalleled source ofinformation about insurance coverage, sums insured,loss prevention and claims settlement.About the Groupement des assureursautomobiles (GAA)Established in 1978, the GAA includes all insurancecompanies that are authorized to sell automobile insurancein Quebec. Its main mandates are to guarantee automobileinsurance availability, set up a Direct CompensationAgreement and manage automobile damage appraisal.It also manages the Quebec Automobile Statistical Plan andthe Fichier central des sinistres automobiles (AutomobileClaims Database) on behalf of the Autorité des marchésfinanciers.About Option consommateursOption consommateurs is a non-profit association foundedin 1983 whose mission is to promote and defend the rightsand interests of consumers and ensure they are respected.Our staff have expertise in matters relating to commercialpractices, financial services, energy and agrifood. It alsodoes not shy away from involvement in numerous classaction lawsuits when it considers it useful to do so.All about auto insurance21

of insurance companies with which they have agreements. Insurance agents: agents work for a specific insurance company. Before you decide to do business with either a broker or an agent, check out prices, the products being proposed and the quality of the service. Buying auto insurance 4 All about auto insurance

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