Are Dependents Covered Under My Auto Insurance Policy?

dependents and auto insurance coverageMost Ontario residents depend on a family member’s auto insurance policy to cover them when a car accident happens. The Statutory Accident Benefits Schedule, a form of no fault insurance coverage in Ontario, states that an insured individual includes all dependents of the insured or of his or her spouse.

It is important to note that dependents are not just children. It could be anyone residing in the household who is financially dependent on the insured driver or his or her spouse. However, determining who is and is not a dependent for insurance purposes can still be tricky in some cases.

Our Windsor car accident lawyers further discuss how auto insurance coverage works after a car accident based on who is driving your car. Request a free consultation to discuss your situation today.  

Adding a Driver to an Auto Insurance Policy

Anyone in your household who is legally allowed to drive can be added to an auto insurance policy as an occasional driver in Ontario. This is someone who regularly drives the car but does not use it the most. He or she drives the car less than 50 percent of the time.

However, an occasional driver could be subject to meeting certain insurance company requirements. If the driver has traffic offenses and insurance history that prevents him or her from obtaining personal coverage, the insurance company has the right to deny the addition.  

It is more common than not to add other family members. For instance, a husband and wife may share a car and an auto insurance policy together. Parents also add their children as soon as they reach driving age.

Some car owners may even add friends or neighbours because they use their car regularly. Drivers could be added as long as they have no history that restricts them from being accepted by an insurer.

Adding drivers could add to the cost of auto insurance premiums. Drivers with a G1 licence, which is the first stage in Ontario’s graduated licencing, would not impact insurance premiums. This is because a G1 driver is only allowed to operate a car alongside an experienced driver.

Adding a driver with a G2 licence or greater has its risks. Although it is typically less expensive to add a driver to an auto insurance policy rather the driver obtaining their own insurance, rates will likely increase.

What About Incidental Drivers?

Occasional drivers are not the only ones besides the owner who may operate a car. Anyone with a driver’s licence who has the owner’s permission can use the car provided that it is just incidental instead of regular use. Insurance on the car covers the guest during this incidental use.

For instance, incidental drivers could include letting a neighbor use your car to buy groceries because his or her car is in the shop, or an out-of-town guest who wants to visit friends or go sight-seeing.

Incidental drivers does not include relatives or roommates who use your car every so often. If it happens once every month or couple of months, it is not considered incidental. These individuals would be deemed occasional drivers by the insurance company.

Car Accidents and Auto Insurance Coverage

In the event of an accident, the insurance follows the car. The owner is connected to the policy, but others can drive the car. This means that if you share the car with someone else, any claims will be made against your insurance policy. It is important to keep this in mind when determining who can drive your car under your insurance policy.  

Car owners also have a duty to inform their insurance company when an incidental driver becomes an occasional driver. It would be up to the insurer to charge any additional coverage. If a car accident does happen and the insurer finds out about this arrangement, any claims filed could be denied.

Even if the driver operating your car has higher limits and a lower deductible, your insurance would be the one to cover any damages should the driver be responsible for causing the accident. If it is needed, the driver’s own insurance could serve as secondary coverage.

Call Our Firm for Legal Advice Today

If you need legal help after a car accident, our lawyers at Greg Monforton & Partners are prepared to review your claim and your existing policy. We have helped many clients over the years through the legal process, communicating and negotiating with the insurance company on their behalf.

Our initial consultations are free of charge with no risk, no obligation and no upfront fees for our legal services. We only receive payment if we help you obtain compensation.

Contact our offices today by calling (866) 320-4770