One of the primary factors affecting auto insurance rates in Calgary is the driver’s perceived risk. Insurance companies are in the business of predicting potential perils; if you’re deemed to pose a higher likelihood of filing a claim, your premiums will be higher than those offered to a driver who is viewed as a lower risk. Your driving record is the key criterion used to determine risk, though this does beg a common question: what happens when a driver with a spotless driving record is involved in his or her first accident?
Fortunately, many insurers offer what is known as “accident forgiveness.” In essence, accident forgiveness clauses mean that your auto insurance in Calgary won’t go up after your first at-fault or partially at-fault accident.
How Accident Forgiveness Works
If you’re involved in a car accident, your insurance company will assign fault to one or both drivers, based on police reports, witness recounts and, in some cases, their own internal investigations. You are considered “at fault” if your insurance company deems that you are 100 percent responsible for the crash, and “partially at fault” if you are any more than 0 percent responsible. Typically, your auto insurance premiums will rise as soon as you’re involved in an at-fault or partially at-fault accident.
Drivers who carry policies with accident forgiveness clauses get a one-time exemption from these premium increases. In other words, you’ll be excused or “forgiven” the first time you’re found to be partially or fully at fault in a car accident, and your auto insurance rates will not go up.
Factors Affecting Accident Forgiveness Provisions
It’s important to keep in mind that not all drivers will be eligible for accident forgiveness. While policies vary from provider to provider, most insurance companies will not offer accident forgiveness benefits to drivers who have been involved in an at-fault or partially at-fault crash in the past five or six years. You may also be disqualified from accident forgiveness on your auto insurance in Calgary if you have other incidents on your permanent driving record. Examples of such incidents include, but are not necessarily limited to:
- License suspensions
- Impaired driving or dangerous driving convictions
- The accrual of demerit points on your Alberta driver’s license
- Extensive driving or traffic violations (such as speeding tickets or running traffic lights or stop signs)
Some insurance companies also limit offers of accident forgiveness to drivers who have been licensed for an extended period of time. If you’re a new driver, chances are you will have to go five to six years without an accident to qualify.
What to Do if You’re in an Accident
In some cases, you may not agree with the fault assessment as determined by the police and/or your insurance company. That’s why it’s very important that you carefully document the facts and circumstances of any accident you are involved in.
If you disagree, it will be incumbent upon you to prove that the officially accepted account of what happened is erroneous. To give yourself the best chance of succeeding, follow these important steps if you are involved in a collision, even a minor one. Your premiums could be affected by a seemingly innocuous fender-bender if one or both parties end up submitting insurance claims.
Options for Higher-Risk Drivers
Drivers who have numerous at-fault or partially at-fault accidents on their records, and drivers who have extensive traffic violations and/or driving convictions may have a difficult time finding auto insurance in Calgary. This is because once you pose a certain elevated level of risk, many mainstream insurance companies will not cover you.
Trust Lane’s Insurance for the Best Coverage at the Best Rates
Lane’s Insurance is a leading Alberta-based insurance brokerage. Our brokers work for you, not for the insurance companies, so you can be sure they’re always acting with your best interests in mind, not their own. Lane’s Insurance has staked out a well-deserved reputation for service excellence, offering flexible and varied coverage options at highly competitive rates with value-added service and outstanding claims support.
For a fast, free, no-obligation quote, visit Lane’s online.