With spring on its way, groups of friends and family members may hit the road together for a vacation. If you drive a vehicle that does not belong to you and are involved in an accident, what happens? Who pays for the damage?
TO BEGIN WITH: INSURANCE THAT COVERS THE VEHICLE
The insurance in force for the vehicle is always involved in the event of damage, based on the limitations of the insurance policy at the time of loss.
SUPPLEMENTARY: DRIVER’S INSURANCE
If the vehicle is not covered for the accident and you are the driver involved in an at-fault accident, your insurance policy may cover the damage under rider QEF No. 27, “Civil liability resulting from damage caused to vehicles of which named insured is not owner.”
DAMAGE CAUSED TO THE PROPERTY OF A THIRD PARTY
For any damage you have caused to the property of a third party, either through an error in operation or loss of control, the civil liability coverage of the involved vehicle takes precedence to cover compensation for damage. In the event of insufficiency of insurance, your insurance policy may provide coverage under rider QEF No. 2, “Vehicles of which named insured is not owner and when driven by named drivers.”
RECOVERY BETWEEN INSURERS
When an accident takes place in Quebec, when the drivers are identified, and when the vehicles are insured for the legal minimum with regard to civil liability, no recovery is possible.
However, when the person responsible for the accident does not have auto insurance at the time of the accident, recovery of the entire amount incurred for the damage may occur.
ACCIDENTS OUTSIDE OF QUEBEC
When you are involved in an accident outside of Quebec, standards differ because the Direct Compensation Agreement no longer applies. In fact, it is a popular misconception that “no-fault” insurance applies regardless of the situation, since we are Quebeckers.
As a result, if an accident occurs in the United States for example, whether you are responsible or not, the applicable deductible in the “Collision or upset” section of your insurance policy must be paid. However, recovery from the insurer of the at-fault third party is possible for the entire amount spent on the damage incurred.
However, some insurers that carry out their activities outside of Quebec have consented to voluntarily adhere to the Direct Compensation Agreement, in order to handle cases as though they had occurred in Quebec. The Groupement des Assureurs Automobiles website provides information about the agreement.
With the risks of life being what they are, it is possible to be involved in an accident during travel outside of Quebec, especially if you regularly drive to Florida in winter, for example. In addition, legal proceedings with our American neighbours may be initiated without warning.
To provide yourself with adequate protection, ensure that you have an active insurance policy on the vehicle that provides you with $2 million of civil liability coverage. You can also add additional coverage in the form of umbrella insurance.
Finally, before leaving on vacation, contact your Lareau broker to learn about available and possible coverage with regard to your insurance policy, so that you do not find yourself in an unfortunate predicament.