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No Fault Insurance

What is No Fault Insurance?

Ontario has a "no-fault" car insurance system, but this does not mean that no one is at fault in an accident. The term "no-fault" insurance simply means if you are injured or your car is damaged in an accident, then you deal with your own insurance company, regardless of who is at fault. You don't have to go after the at-fault driver for compensation.

Similarly, if any passengers in your car are injured, then each passenger who has a car insurance policy of their own will approach their own insurance company for benefits. If your passengers do not have a car insurance policy of their own, then your insurance company may pay benefits to them. The driver of the other car involved in the accident will claim benefits from his or her own insurance company.

Someone is always deemed to be "at fault" in a car accident, whether partly or fully. The law requires insurance companies to assign the percentage of fault for each of the drivers involved in the accident. This is done by using the "Fault Determination Rules".

These rules, which are set out in a regulation under the Insurance Act, help insurance companies deal with accident claims quickly and economically.

Keep in mind that the Fault Determination Rules differ from any charges laid by the police under the Highway Traffic Act. For example, if you were unable to stop your car on an icy road and rear-ended another car, the police officer may have told you that "no one was at fault".

This usually means that no police charges will be laid. It does not mean that the insurance companies involved will not consider who was at fault. In this case, the insurance company would apply the Fault Determination Rules, which state that a car that rear-ends another car is at fault, since drivers are required to take road conditions into consideration.

Keep in mind that your percentage of fault will determine the amount of deductible you have to pay. Generally, insurance companies will increase your premiums at your next renewal date if you have been deemed to be fully or partially at fault in an accident.

If you don't agree with the way in which your insurance company has determined fault, you should contact the person your insurance company has appointed to deal with consumer complaints. This is usually the company's Ombudsman Liaison Officer. If you are still not satisfied with your insurance company's position, you may choose to go to court.

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