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If you pride yourself on being an excellent driver, chances are good that you will not be the cause of a car collision any time in the near future. Unfortunately, your impeccable driving record does not protect you from being on the receiving end of someone else’s negligence. While it might seem safe to assume that the at-fault driver’s insurance company would cover your injuries and property damage, that assumption is not always accurate.
Even when the other driver has acceptable third-party liability coverage–as is the case with the majority of Canadian drivers–there are noteworthy instances where you could still be left holding a hefty bill for a crash that was not your fault. For example, in collisions where there is serious injury or property damage involving multiple cars and drivers, the at-fault driver may exhaust the limits of their coverage. You could also be the unfortunate victim of a hit-and-run crash. Without knowing who the at-fault driver is, the police have little information to track down the driver and hold them responsible.
An even more probable scenario is that an uninsured driver hits you and leaves you to cover the cost of their negligence. In Canada, an estimated 10 to 15 percent of drivers go uninsured despite stiff fines discouraging the practice. In many cases, these uninsured drivers go without coverage because they cannot afford it, which means even if you sue them for damages the likelihood that you would collect any money is slim.
How do you protect yourself from these unfortunate scenarios? Let’s start with the basics. Collision coverage offers protection against physical damages to your car—no matter who is responsible. If you are injured, coverage gets tricky. Basic coverage for physical injury is provided in section B of your accident benefits. However, this coverage has a cap of $50,000, which may be inadequate if you suffer a serious injury and require extended time off from work.
Thankfully, you have additional coverage options. The OPCF 44 Family Protection Endorsement and Motor Vehicle Accident Claims Fund (MVACF) allow you to recover your expenses when you obtain a legal judgment against an uninsured, underinsured or unidentified driver. OPCF 44 coverage matches your third party liability coverage, which is usually $1 million or more. For an average of less than $4 per month, SEF 44 is a smart way to protect yourself against high-risk drivers at a minimal cost.
Don’t let an unfortunate auto collision prompt you to explore your options for protection against uninsured drivers, talk with your insurance broker today to see if you have adequate coverage.