What You Need to Know About Uninsured Motorist Coverage
Who does uninsured motorist coverage protect? See why you might be at risk without it.
Uninsured motorist coverage is like insurance for auto insuranceOne of the reasons car insurance is mandatory in Ontario is so that damages to your vehicle — and any money you need to recover or adapt to injuries — is covered by the at-fault driver’s car insurance policy.
But what happens if the damage and injuries exceed what the at-fault person’s insurance policy will cover? Or what if they don’t have insurance at all, and they had very few assets to seize, so even suing them for damages wouldn’t get you anywhere? Or, worst of all, what if you’re struck in a hit-and-run, and you can’t identify the driver?
That’s when your uninsured motorist coverage would kick in.
Do you need uninsured motorist coverage?All basic car insurance policies include a $200,000 default limit of uninsured motorist coverage.
It’s not mandatory in Ontario to increase this limit, but it’s strongly recommended because of the number of highways in the province; the chances of a collision causing more than $200,000 of damage actually increase with more high-speed-limit roads.
Keep in mind that the uninsured motorist coverage policy has to cover your car and you — this includes any medical treatments, adaptive technologies required because of injury and lost wages. Depending on the circumstances, $200,000 can add up quickly.
And even though the odds may be against being struck by someone without insurance, do you really want to take that chance?
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What does it cost to extend your uninsured motorist limit?This will depend on your insurance provider and how much you want to extend it, which will depend on how much and where you drive.
What is the process of making a claim with uninsured motorist coverage?
It’s essentially the same as it would be if you got into a collision with an insured person: the sooner you report it, the sooner your insurance company can open a claim file and get working for you.
What happens to an uninsured driver who gets in an accident?
If they’re stand-up people, they’ll cover whatever your uninsured motorist insurance won’t cover. But if they’re not, you can sue then for the remainder of the money. This is obviously a last-ditch effort and it’s not without risk: if you lose your case, you’ll have paid your post-accident costs out, and then have to cover your legal fees, and possibly theirs.
The best way to avoid the hassle is to avoid getting into a collision all. To that end you should consider the following whenever you’re driving:
- Pull into traffic slowly — Don’t put yourself in a position to get clipped
- Observe the traffic lights — Remember that yellow is slow down, not “go mach 10 to make the light.”
- Maintain your vehicle — Excessive exhaust, broken tail lamps or a stalling engine at the wrong time can lead to distractions and collisions.
- Just drive — Don’t eat, drink, talk on the phone or try to find that one playlist from that party that one time.
Thinking of protecting yourself by upping your uninsured motorist insurance coverage? Get a quote.