Does My Auto Insurance Policy Cover Accidents Caused by Snow or Black Ice?

man driving on snow or black ice roadwayAccidents often occur when road conditions are poor, making it riskier to drive safely. Snow and black ice can cause the roads to be slippery. A driver can easily lose control of his or her vehicle and cause a crash. On major highways, the injuries and damages that result could prove more severe and deadly.

After an accident involving snow or black ice, you may be concerned whether your insurer may approve or deny your claim. This will depend on your coverage, among other factors.

A Windsor-based car accident lawyer at the firm is prepared to hear about your situation and review your auto insurance policy, including coverage limits, during a risk-free, no-obligation consultation. If we validate your claim after this initial meeting, we charge nothing up front to take or work on a case.

Understanding Black Ice and How it Forms

Black ice often forms when temperatures drop below freezing, particularly between sunrise and sunset. The road may look wet from snow and ice that melts and refreezes. It can also form on any roadway but is most often found on bridges and overpasses.

When wet pavement freezes into a thin layer of clear ice, this transparency can make it difficult for drivers to detect. It is conditions like these that can cause serious accidents in the wintertime if drivers fail to use necessary precautions.

Driving Safely on Black Ice and Snow

Many drivers may not realize they are driving on roadways with black ice until they pass over it. Unlike driving over snow, which can still provide some traction, tires on black ice will have little to no traction.

To drive safely in these road conditions, it is important to keep your steering wheel straight. Turning your steering wheel may cause you to slide more and cause you to spin and lose control of your vehicle.

You should also refrain from slamming on your brakes. Doing so will likely cause you to slide even more. Lastly, take your foot off the accelerator. This will help reduce your speed and allow your vehicle to stop on its own. These are just some tips for driving on black ice or snowy roads.

Insurance Coverage for Snow and Black Ice Accidents

When it comes to standard auto insurance policies, Ontario drivers are required to carry the following:

  • Third-party liability coverage
  • Statutory accidents benefits coverage
  • Direct compensation – property damage (DC-PD) coverage
  • Uninsured motorist coverage

If another driver hits your vehicle, liability coverage could pay for your injuries and other-related losses. If the other driver has no insurance, you could make a claim under your uninsured motorist coverage.

Most comprehensive and collision policies can also help cover snow and black ice accidents. However, it is always wise to look at the specifics of your policy. Details on this optional, add-on coverage include:

  • Collision coverage – This coverage allows you to make a claim with your own insurance company to pay for damages if you hit another vehicle or object. For instance, you may be covered if you skid on black ice while driving and hit a tree.
  • Comprehensive coverage – If your vehicle slides on black ice or snow but does not hit another vehicle in an accident, any damage to your vehicle may be covered under comprehensive insurance.

How Do Insurance Companies Determine Fault?

When the weather is bad or the road conditions are poor because of snow or black ice, many accidents can happen. However, insurance companies will not approve all claims for such accidents. They may try to find reason to devalue or deny a claim to pay out as little as possible or not at all.

Your insurer expects that you will drive in a safe and responsible manner, taking extra precautions on icy roads. This means making every effort to avoid a crash, such as installing winter tires.

Insurance companies in Ontario use the fault determination rules outlined in the Insurance Act to assess the party or parties liable in an accident. In certain cases involving snow or black ice accidents, insurers may issue a 50-50 fault determination. For instance, if you hit another driver that skid on black ice.

If you do not agree with the insurer’s decision, we recommend reaching out to an experienced lawyer. He or she will make sure that you are not assigned more than your share of fault, if any, for the accident and your injuries.

Call Greg Monforton & Partners for Legal Help

Our lawyers at Greg Monforton & Partners are here to help every step of the way. We know how insurance companies think and operate. We have 40 years of experience negotiating claims on behalf of injured accident victims. Allow us to pursue the maximum compensation possible for your damages.

There is no cost for an initial consultation and no obligation after this meeting to hire our firm. Payment for our legal services is only due if we obtain compensation on your behalf via a settlement or verdict.

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