Recently Ontario’s Minister of Finance, the Hon. Charles Sousa, introduced the 2013 Ontario Budget at Queen’s Park promising to lower auto insurance premiums by 15% on average over time for Ontario drivers.
IBAO is encouraged that the government intends to implement key measures of the Auto Insurance Anti-Fraud Task Force as a central part of its plan to lower auto insurance premiums.
While the proposed reforms are welcome, IBAO is still very concerned that consumer expectations for a 15% reduction will be very high. It’s important to understand that the reforms underlying the promised reductions will take time and must be done responsibly. This will require the combined effort of the government, the opposition and the industry. We do not want to set a false expectation for consumers.
The Ontario government’s Anti- Fraud Task Force report estimates that fraud is costing Ontario drivers up to $1.6 Billion per year! The targeted reduction is tied to reforms and cost reductions related to combating fraud that will require the passage of legislation. Without that legislation any potential decrease will be delayed.
In Ontario, automobile insurance is regulated by the Financial Services Commission of Ontario, a regulatory agency of the Ministry of Finance.
To protect yourself from auto insurance fraud, FSCO recommends that Ontario drivers should:
Use a licensed insurance company, agent or broker when buying auto insurance. Consumers can visit FSCO’s website to check whether an insurance company or agent is licensed and they can visit the Registered Insurance Brokers of Ontario’s website to check whether an insurance broker is licensed.
Collect as much information as possible at the scene of an accident using a camera or cell phone if it is safe to do so without confrontation. It is important to record the contact information of other drivers, drivers’ licence numbers and licence plate numbers and insurance information from vehicle “pink cards.”
File an accident report with a Collision Reporting Centre – even if the accident is minor – to ensure there is a legally documented description of what happened.
Be suspicious of any referrals at accident site. Fraud collaborators often recommend auto body shops, storage facilities and health and legal professionals.
Refuse to sign blank forms in advance of receiving any services or health care treatment related to your accident.
Demand detailed repair and medical bills for any goods and services related to an accident and review them carefully.
The affordability of auto insurance for our customers is of prime concern to the IBAO. As an Association we have been urging the government to deal with the fraud problem and we are glad to see that they intend to do so. The challenge now is to get the needed legislation passed as soon as possible.
So you recently passed your driver’s test? Or perhaps you know a new driver?
Hitting the road for the first time as a fully licensed driver can be exciting and overwhelming. Let’s bust some famous auto insurance myths to start:
MYTH: Insuring a red or black car is more expensive than a green or blue car.
TRUTH: Regardless of the colour, the same vehicle in a difference colour will have the same rate. What does affect your rate is the year, make, model, age of the car and drivers on your policy.
MYTH: Auto insurance rates are not regulated and car insurance companies can charge whatever they want.
TRUTH: In all provinces except Quebec, by law insurers must submit their rates to government agencies for approval. The government agencies review how insurers calculate their rates and decide if their rates are fair.
MYTH: If your friend borrows your car and wrecks it, his insurance covers it.
TRUTH: Actually, you should consider your insurance as part of your car. When you loan someone your car, you’re loaning your insurance with it, so consider this and how your premium will be
affected if they have an accident. You could also be held financially responsible if they cause an accident while driving your vehicle.
MYTH: My rates will be similar to my friend’s rates.
TRUTH: Rates are determined based on the individual, so factors such as age, driving record and type of vehicle are considered. Each person’s situation is unique, and rates will vary because of this.
Here are some tips and quick facts for young drivers:
– Consider gaining experience as an occasional driver under the insurance policy of a parent or guardian, rather than as a principal driver of your own vehicle. Premiums for young, occasional drivers are much lower than premiums for young, principal drivers
– As a young driver, building a good driving record free of at-fault accidents and driving convictions is the best way to ensure low future premiums.
– Do not listen to your friends and purchase insurance from somebody because it’s cheap. Finding a good price is very important, but not as important as making sure you are covered properly.
– Last but not least, stay safe and be alert! Traffic crashes are the number one cause of death for young adults. 30% of those crashes are caused because of driving while under the influence. ALWAYS call your parents, a cab or take public transportation if you or your driver has been drinking and had planned to drive.
For many people, your home will be the most valuable asset you ever own. And, you want to do your best to improve and preserve your property whenever possible. Before starting any renovation work, you will want to make sure you are protected against financial loss should an accident or an injury take place during the project.
Even though your house might be adequately insured, your risks change once your home becomes a construction site, which is why it is important to take the necessary precautions.
When a contractor works on your home, you need to be protected from a number of risks. Insist that the contractor provides you with proof of Business Liability Insurance also known as general commercial liability insurance. $2 million is the minimum that should be requested. This protects you if your home is damaged through the contractor’s fault, or if the contractor causes damage or injury to a third party, like your neighbour. Your best options is to have your insurance broker review the contractor’s policy to make certain there are no gaps between it and your own policy that leave you financially vulnerable.
If your contractor needs to hire in additional trades, such as an electrician or plumber, make sure they are insured for the work they perform. For example, your contractor should have Workers Compensation coverage for all the people on the job. If they don’t, you could be at risk if a worker is injured while working on your home renovation.
If you do the work yourself or plan on acting as your own general contractor and hire others to do the work, make sure you properly protected against damage or injuries suffered as a result of your project.
While most repair or renovation work will not require changes to your homeowners policy, there are some coverage restrictions you should be aware of. If building materials stored on your property are stolen, they are not usually covered. In addition, if the building is under construction, there may be no coverage for vandalism or malicious acts. Water damage is also restricted, especially if it is during the usual heating season. If your property is going to be vacant during the renovation, you will want to make sure your coverage does not lapse.
Remember, do your research before the renovation work starts – protect your most valuable asset.