How Long Does A Car Accident Stay On Your Insurance Record In Ontario

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There are many factors that play a role in calculating car insurance premiums. The insurance company may ask for your driver record when you apply for insurance. Your driving habits reflect on your driver abstract. Traffic violations and collisions could be a negative influence on a record. A traffic ticket could stay on your driving record for 3 years from the date of conviction. An at-fault car accident may stay on your driver abstract for at least 6 years and up to 10 years.

How Long Does Your Insurance Stay High After An Accident

You may notify your car insurance company when there is an accident. This may cause your insurance premiums to increase. Insurance providers could go back to check at-fault accidents for at least six years. Some companies check as long ago as ten years. The insurance premiums may reduce with each passing year. The insurance rate will stay high as long as the at-fault accident shows on your driver records.

How Car Accidents Can Affect Insurance Rates

When you notify an accident to your car insurance company, they would check who is at fault. They may assign a fault percentage to the different parties involved. As per the Insurance Act, this calculation is based on “Fault Determination Rules”. The increase in your insurance premiums may not be immediate.

A lot of insurance companies do not change premiums midterm. They may increase your premiums when your insurance policy is due to renew. This may not happen if you have accident forgiveness on your policy.

How Auto Claims Affect Your Car Insurance Rates

It is recommended that when involved in an accident, you may call your insurance company to get advice and information. You may decide whether you would like to file a claim or not. Your insurance premiums may not increase by just informing them about the collision. The rate at which car insurance premium is affected depends on your specific situation. The insurance premiums may also be affected if someone borrows your car and involves in a collision.

Certain companies allow for one at-fault claim and may not increase premiums. They do consider the good driving record of the driver. The insurance company needs approval from the FSCO (Financial Services Commission of Ontario) to change the premium rates for any reason. Be it an increase or a decrease in rates.[1]

After an accident if you decide to pay for the damages and either of the parties doesn’t file a claim, rates may not change. Some may decide to pay rather than file a claim that could increase the rates. For an at-fault accident claim by the insured driver, some insurance companies may increase premiums at a rate anywhere from 6% to 140%.  A new driver with a training completion may have an increase in premiums at a rate of about 30% per year. But a driver with several years of driving experience and a clean record may see a rate increase of about 40% per year. Certain auto claims for theft, vandalism, fire etc. may not affect premium rates.

[1] https://www.fsco.gov.on.ca/en/auto/brochures/Pages/how-your-auto-insurance-rates-are-set.aspx

Do Insurance Companies Check Your Driving Record?

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While it is possible that an insurance company takes the information you provide them at face value and issues a policy without verifying your claims, don’t think you’re putting one over on them. Chances are, your driving record will be checked at some point and if there are any major misrepresentations you can be sure the insurance company won’t take the fall for it. Whether a company actively checks and updates your driving record is irrelevant. If you want to depend on your car insurance being valid and effective, you will make sure your company has current and accurate information.

Your Personal Information and Car Insurance

Since your premiums are based on your car, where you live, who else drives the car and how you drive it, of course your personal driving record is of interest to your insurance. All of these factors combine to create a risk factor for you and your vehicle.

The car insurance calculator here on RateLab’s page walks you through the information that insurers need to formulate a quote for your insurance premiums. While you will likely enter accurate information, a driver with a major conviction such as a DUI or a history of speeding tickets may enter false information. RateLab will generate quotes based on the entered information. When it comes time to actually write the car insurance policy, the company chosen will in all probability confirm as much of that information as they can. While your policy will be written as you expect, the other driver will likely be refused or asked to pay a much higher premium once his driving record is confirmed. If you’ve made a mistake and had three speeding tickets rather than the two you listed, that probably won’t make a big difference. Leaving out a major conviction definitely will.

Changes in Your Driving Record

The same thing holds true when your driving record changes after you’ve purchased a policy. You’re usually obligated to tell your insurer of any changes so they can adjust your policy as needed. There’s no automatic system where the insurer is informed of convictions on your driving record.

You may wonder how the insurer is protected, if it’s only up to the driver to update the insurer. For example, consider a driver who has a DUI conviction during the middle of his insurance policy term, and later he’s involved in an accident requiring a claim. During the investigation, the driver’s conviction is found. The insurance company can invalidate his car insurance coverage and deny claim, even if the accident has nothing to do with alcohol impairment. The driver’s non-disclosure of the DUI could void his car insurance coverage, and free the insurance company from settlement in the non-related accident.

Whether or not an insurance company actively checks every policy holder’s driving record, the financial dangers to a driver are potentially catastrophic, if the driver is misleading or omitting information.

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