There are plenty of misconceptions around the rules of the road, the requirements of the law, and insurance company policies. Getting into a car accident, even a minor fender bender, puts you in a tough position where you have to remember a lot of things at once. Here are four of the most common misconceptions that drivers overlook:
Myth #1 – It’s up to me if I want to report the collision to police. By law, all collisions must be reported to police if there is a death, injury or damage that exceeds $1000. It’s important to keep this in mind for minor collisions where the damage might seem relatively minor and no police were required on the scene. For example, if your car gets hit from behind, the bumper damage may appear to just be a small scratch, but there could be more significant damage underneath. It’s always better to be on the safe side and head over to the collision reporting centre. If you, or the other party, plans on making an insurance claim, your insurance company needs to know about the collision within 7 days.
Myth #2 – I won’t be required to pay my deductible if I’m not at fault. Unfortunately, you are always responsible for paying your own deductible when you make an insurance claim, regardless of who was at fault. Often insurance companies will offer a reduced premium if you agree to a hire deductible. This is a great way to save on your car insurance, but it is a real disadvantage if something happens. If your case escalates to a law suit, or the other party was driving an uninsured vehicle, you may be able to reclaim some of all of your deductible from the other party once the case is settled.
Myth #3 – My insurance company is obligated to repair my car with brand new parts. If you take the time to read the small print on your insurance contact, you will probably find that this is not the case. Insurance companies are required to repair your car with parts of “similar kind and quality”. Particularly if you drive a late model vehicle, new parts may be impossible to find. Most insurance companies will insist on new parts if the components being replaced directly affect the safety of the vehicle. For example, if your car had old tires that were damaged in an accent, they will be replaced with brand new tires, but you might be expected to pay a little extra out of your pocket.
Myth #4 – If the police didn’t determine that I was at fault, my insurance company won’t either. In insurance terms, fault is determined as a percentage. In other words, you could be considered 25% at fault or 100% at fault. Keep in mind, just because you walk away from an accident without being charged with any offences, doesn’t mean your insurance company will automatically assume you aren’t at fault. For example, if you are involved in a collision during a snowstorm where there are multiple vehicles that hit each other, the police generally won’t assign any blame. However, your insurance company may assume you are responsible for the accident because under normal circumstances, the vehicle in the rear is always at fault. If you are unsatisfied with your insurance provider’s conclusion, you can always fight it and present new evidence that would give them good reason to reconsider.