Protection from uninsured drivers
In Canada, you’re legally required to carry the minimum mandatory coverage in order to drive a car on public roads. This coverage can provide you with financial protection for you, your passengers and others around you on the road as well. Mandatory coverages vary from province to province and can generally be supplemented with enhanced or optional coverage for even better protection.
But unfortunately, not everyone always plays by the rules. Accidents happen and sometimes they happen with people illegally behind the wheel with no car insurance. This brings up a few questions and feelings of uncertainty. For example, what do you do if you happen to get into an accident with someone who is driving without insurance? Below is some information to help you feel more confident by understanding what happens when dealing with uninsured driver in the event of an accident.
What is an uninsured driver?
Quite simply, an uninsured driver is someone who is driving a car and does not carry the minimum mandatory coverage. As previously mentioned, it’s illegal to be driving uninsured and it has serious repercussions. Therefore, as a driver, make sure the car you’re driving is properly insured and you have the owner’s permission to use the vehicle.
As the owner of the vehicle, and therefore the person responsible for insuring it, it’s equally important that you and anyone driving your car are licensed to do so. As the owner, it’s also your responsibility to contact your insurance company to let them know of anyone who may be driving your car on a regular basis.
It’s also worth mentioning unidentified drivers. An unidentified driver is considered someone who flees the scene of an accident without providing their information. This is known as a hit and run, which is treated differently than an uninsured driver.
What do I do if I get into an accident with an uninsured driver?
If you get into an accident, it’s important to follow the same protocol with an uninsured driver that you would with an insured driver. Make sure everyone involved in the accident is safe and contact emergency services if necessary. If you find out the other driver is illegally driving without insurance, you must contact the authorities.
Next, you want to exchange contact information. Make sure to get all the necessary information you can. That includes their name, phone number, address, driver’s license number, licence plate number and the make, colour and model of their car. It’s also a good idea if there are any witnesses to get their contact information too. Here is a little more detailed information about safety tips and what to do after an accident.
Am I covered if I get into an accident with an uninsured driver?
This answer is a little complicated, so we’ve broken it down for you into three different sections. Accidents involving uninsured drivers where the uninsured person is at fault are generally covered. But depending on the province and the type of coverage, there are some details to be aware of to be confident you're adequately covered.
If you or your passengers are injured following an accident involving an uninsured vehicle, your Accident Benefits coverage (a mandatory coverage in all provinces except Newfoundland & Labrador) will generally provide coverage. If injuries are sustained and the third party is found to be at fault, you may also have access to additional coverage through something called Family Protection Endorsement or S.E.F. 44. In Quebec, residents that are hurt in a car accident are covered through the province's public insurance plan administered through Société de l'assurance automobile du Québec (SAAQ). Similar entities exist in BC, MB and SK as well, where auto insurance is largely or strictly, government run. The extent and limits of coverage for injuries varies from province to province and could depend on the particulars of the situation. You can check your policy for additional information or speak to an advisor for more details if you have any questions.
Typically, the damage would be to your car, but it could also include other property. Damage to property stemming from an accident with an uninsured vehicle where the uninsured person is found to be at fault is covered under Uninsured Automobile coverage (which is also a mandatory coverage in all provinces, with the current exception of Alberta). In Alberta, damage to your own vehicle in these situations is typically only covered if you carry Collision. As with injuries, depending on the province there can be limits to how much coverage is available under the Uninsured Automobile coverage, and in some cases, a deductible may be applicable. If you're unsure of what the limits are, you can check your policy or speak to an advisor for more details if you have any questions.
Hit and Runs
There's also the case of accidents involving unidentified drivers, which is generally the case where someone strikes you or your car and flees the scene (a hit and run). Similar to accidents involving uninsured vehicles, injuries sustained by you, or passengers is typically covered under Accidents Benefits or through similar coverages provided by government-run programs in the cases of Quebec, British Columbia, Manitoba and Saskatchewan. For damage to your property, including your vehicle, coverage is generally dependent on you carrying Collision coverage on your vehicle (or Comprehensive in the case of Alberta).
How do I file an uninsured driver claim?
Car accidents are stressful, especially with the added factor of getting into an accident with an uninsured driver. We’ve made making a claim easier for you. The steps to file a claim with an uninsured driver are the same process you would go through with a regular claim. Learn about the simple steps involved to help you get through the claims process.
What if I get caught driving without insurance?
Driving without insurance is a serious offence. You may have to pay expensive fines, you may be charged, and/or get your licence taken away. Don’t let this happen to you. Insurance is there to help and protect you, other people on the road and their property. Speak to a TD Insurance licensed advisor today to make sure you have legally required, mandatory coverage before you get behind the wheel of a car.