More than any other single factor, rates for your car insurance in Calgary are determined by your driving record. Drivers with proven track records of safety enjoy lower premiums, while drivers with one or more at-fault accidents must usually pay higher rates for coverage. This is standard in the insurance industry; the less risk you are deemed to pose, the lower your rates will be.
However, even safe drivers are involved in fender-benders and accidents from time to time, so it’s important to understand how fault is determined in such cases. Most policies will not penalize drivers for being involved in accidents that were not their fault, though it’s important to remember that insurance companies create and enforce their own rules for determining fault. It is possible to be deemed at fault for an accident by your insurance company even if the police do not charge you with a traffic violation as a result of the incident.
How Insurance Companies Determine Fault
When it comes to fault and car accidents, remember that as far as your insurance company is concerned, a crash is always someone’s fault. Thus, if you’re involved in a single-vehicle crash, you will automatically be deemed at fault, and you can expect the at-fault accident to stay on your permanent record for anywhere from six years to ten years.
In other situations, things aren’t always as clear. Your insurer will likely determine fault based on the police report of the incident, and while the circumstances of every accident are different, there are some general rules of thumb that you can expect your insurance provider to enforce:
- If you struck another vehicle from behind, you will be deemed at fault, regardless of what the other driver did
- If you collide with a vehicle during a lane change, you’ll be at fault if the other vehicle was in your blind spot, or if the other vehicle was firmly entrenched in its lane of travel
- If you ran a red light, stop sign or other traffic control, you will be deemed at fault in the collision
For other situations, insurance companies use general principles known as “fault determination rules.” These guidelines cover a comprehensive range of accident scenarios, and are used to figure out if you were at fault, if the other driver was at fault, or if fault is to be shared equally or in other proportions (i.e. 90/10, 80/20, 70/30, 60/40, etc.).
Disputing a Fault Determination
You can dispute an at-fault claim in court, but you’ll have to provide compelling evidence that the police and/or insurance company erred in their evaluation of the situation. That’s why it is extremely important to carefully document everything that happened leading up to, during and after the accident. As an added precaution, you should also tell your insurance provider and your doctor that you were in a car accident, even if you don’t initially seem injured. This will strengthen your case if you need to file a claim for your injuries later on.
How Fault Affects Your Coverage Premiums
Your premiums will not be affected if your insurance company determines that you were 0 percent at fault in the accident. However, any other level of fault, no matter how slight, becomes part of your driving record and may cause increases in your premiums.
However, if you have a long track record of good driving, you may qualify for “accident forgiveness,” if your insurance company offers it. In most cases, you will need to be free of all accidents and traffic convictions for six years or more to be considered.
It’s also important to remember that your insurance could be affected if you let someone borrow your car and that person is in an accident while driving it. Such incidents carry over to the insurance record of the vehicle owner, so avoid lending your vehicle to a risky or inexperienced driver.
Given these issues, and the financial costs involved with being in an at-fault accident, it literally pays to drive safely at all times.
Get a Quote from Lane’s
If you’re looking for car insurance in Calgary, trust the friendly, caring brokers at Lane’s Insurance to find you the best policy for the best possible price. Lane’s Insurance is a full-service brokerage that works for you, not for the insurance companies. To find out how much you could stand to save by choosing Lane’s, click here for a fast. free quote.