If you have a car, you have auto insurance—unless you’re breaking the law! For auto insurance policies, the minimum coverage required by law is $50,000 in third-party liability insurance. At Lareau, however, we always advise our clients to go with coverage of $2,000,000, or a higher amount if you travel to the United States.
LIABILITY: HOW IT WORKS
Accidents that result from the use of your automobile are covered by your third-party liability for said vehicle. For example, if you lose control of your vehicle and damage a fence belonging to a third party, the damages would be covered by your insurance policy, regardless of the state you are in.
This means that your auto insurer will compensate you, according to the conditions outlined in your insurance policy, for your vehicle’s damage, as well as for damages to third parties, which in this case would be the damage to the fence. The insurer will also pay the fees associated with handling the matter, as well as legal costs, where appropriate.
If, however, you were intoxicated at the time of the incident and pulled over by the police, and charges were laid under the Criminal Code, the associated fees would not be covered by your insurance policy.
You must then pay the storage charge for your vehicle, as well as fees for a lawyer to represent you, as needed.
The auto insurer is therefore not required to cover your defence, because it is no longer part of the “damages” portion of your insurance policy. You could have been fit to drive, which entitles you to compensation for property damage to your car and damages to third parties. However, proceedings that may arise with regard to the state you were in at the time of the accident become your responsibility under the Criminal Code.
BREACHES OF THE HIGHWAY SAFETY CODE
Similarly, if you fail to comply with the Highway Safety Code, exceed speed limits significantly, lose control of your vehicle, and receive a hefty ticket, your auto insurer will not cover the costs.
Again, in this example, only damage caused to third parties and to the vehicle would be admissible under your insurance policy.
Your auto insurer is there to provide coverage for damage related to the use of your vehicle, but the policy does not cover penalties that may be imposed. Such penalties are your responsibility. To conclude, as your mother has surely told you, always be extremely careful on the road!