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November 28, 2016 Alberta Car Insurance 101: JD Collision’s Guide to Understanding Auto Insurance

At JD Collision, we see a lot of insurance claims. We know that having a car is more than just a convenience – it’s a necessity. Without a vehicle, how do you get to work? How do you get to your kid’s school? The grocery store? How do you get anywhere, for that matter? Sure, there’s the bus. But it’s incredibly hard to work your schedule, your children’s schedule, and anyone else’s schedule around yet another schedule. Whether you’re a first-time car owner, or you’ve had your car for a while, the one constant is the need for a car insurance policy.  Before you pick a policy, it’s important to understand the basics – in other words,

Here are the four most important things that every car owner in the Bonnyville and Cold Lake area needs to know about auto insurance:

It’s Required – By Law.

The most important concept to understand about automobile insurance in Canada is that the law requires it for everyone. There are zero exceptions, and if a driver is caught operating a vehicle without insurance, there are strict penalties in place. You could face fines that are anywhere between $5,000 and $50,000 depending on the circumstance. Also, driving without insurance results in you being considered a “high-risk” individual by insurers – which means you may not be able to obtain any insurance in the future, or that your premiums will be substantially higher! Furthermore, lack of insurance will exclude you from being able to sue an at-fault driver in case of an accident, and it will restrict the amount and type of compensation you’re entitled to if you are injured.

There Are Lots of Options for Car Insurance

When it comes to purchasing car insurance, Canadian consumers have three choices; buying from an insurance agent, a broker, or a direct policy writer. An agent is someone who represents a single insurance company and specializes in the policies that particular insurance company offers. Another option is getting your insurance through an insurance broker. An insurance broker can provide policies from a variety of insurers. Finally, a direct policy writer is a company that sells their policies directly to the public. Different advantages come along with choosing an insurance company, insurance agent and an insurance broker; you’re apt to get excellent and personal service from an insurance agent, but their offerings are limited. Likewise, a broker has access to a multitude of different policies and rate schedules, and direct policy writers are restricted to the types of policies offered, but they may be more competitive when it comes to rates considering they are not paying an agent or a broker.  Ultimately, you should shop around and make the decision that suits your needs best.

All of us Drivers Need Minimum Coverage

At the very least, every Canadian driver requires some degree of insurance coverage on their automobiles. First, is third-party liability coverage which must be a minimum of $200,000 – To protect you if someone is injured, killed, or if they incur property damage as the result of an accident. Next is statutory accident benefits coverage which provides benefits if you sustain injury (such as medical costs, rehabilitation and income replacement) – no matter who caused the accident. Direct compensation coverage covers any damage to your car or the contents if someone else is the cause of the accident. Finally, uninsured automobile coverage protects you against uninsured motorist and hit and run drivers. Ultimately, insurance is there to protect you.

Additional Coverage is Another Option Available

Although the law doesn’t require it, drivers may want to consider additional coverage on their auto policies. You should consider increasing the third-party liability coverage, income replacement benefits and medical benefits. There are also coverage options for dependent care benefits, collision and upset coverage, as well as specific peril coverage. While you can choose from all of these options, it’s generally not a necessity for your auto policy. Keep in mind that the minimum required coverage amounts may not adequately cover your actual costs and losses in the event of an accident. It’s wise to speak to a car insurance expert regarding your personal needs before you agree to any additional coverage items.

After a car accident, the last thing you want is to be left without a vehicle and stuck holding a massive repair bill. To make matters worse, you don’t want to be in the position of having no insurance and have caused injury or damage to others and their property; this is why it’s vital to purchase and maintain the appropriate amount of automobile coverage for your needs. If you’re not sure whether your coverage is adequate, talk to your insurance agent, broker or provider and evaluate your situation. It is always better to be over-insured than to be lacking coverage!

If you find yourself in a position where you do need repairs done on your vehicle, here at JD Collision, we offer innovative collision repair methods that can get you back on the road in no time!