In Alberta, and throughout Canada, you are required to purchase motor vehicle insurance for each vehicle you own to cover the cost of damages or injuries in the event of a motor vehicle collision.
In order to purchase licence plates for your vehicle, you must present a valid insurance policy for that vehicle to the Motor Vehicles Registry.
All Alberta automobile insurance polices contain 3 sections:
- Section A: This section covers injury and damage to other people and their property.
- Section B: This section covers medical expenses of anyone injured in a motor vehicle accident.
- Section C: This section covers damage to the vehicle.
Third party liability and accident benefits are automatically included in any automobile insurance policy sold in Alberta. Third party liability protects the insured if he/she is sued for injury or damage by another person as a result of an accident involving the insured’s vehicle. The legal minimum is $200,000, but it is often recommended that individuals maintain $2,000,000 in third party liability coverage.
Accident benefits are also included in Alberta auto policies, which include benefits for loss of income, medical and rehabilitation services, funeral expenses and death benefits. These coverage options vary depending on the nature of the benefits.
Collision, glass and comprehensive coverage, although not mandatory, are often recommended to protect individuals financially from damage to their vehicle. Collision coverage covers the cost of repairing the vehicle caused by a rollover, collision with another vehicle or an object. Comprehensive coverage covers the cost of repairing damage to the vehicle in cases involving theft, fire, vandalism or collision with an animal.
By law you are required to carry automobile insurance on your vehicle. You are also required to report any changes to your insurance company that could affect your police and report all accidents to your insurance company.
WHAT HAPPENS IF I SOMEONE BORROWS MY VEHICLE AND THEY GET INTO AN ACCIDENT?
When you loan your vehicle to another individual and he/she becomes involved in a car accident, any claims for damages arising out of the accident will be made against your car insurance policy.
However, there are certain cases in which your insurer may not pay an insurance claim arising out of an accident involving a borrowed vehicle. These scenarios include:
- The individual who borrowed your vehicle was driving while intoxicated;
- The individual who borrowed your vehicle is excluded as a guest driver on your insurance policy;
- The individual who borrowed your vehicle does not have a driver’s licence or was driving with a suspended licence.
In the case where your insurer will not pay the claim due to a violation of the terms of the insurance policy, you could be legally responsible for any damages caused by the individual who borrowed your vehicle.
TIPS TO CONSIDER BEFORE LENDING OUT YOUR VEHICLE
When you lend your vehicle to a friend or family member, you are also lending your auto insurance and personally exposing yourself to any liability that may be covered by your auto policy and any judgement awarded beyond your policy limits.
Prior to loaning your vehicle to a friend or family member, you should consider the following recommendations by the legal team at Cuming & Gillespie Lawyers to protect yourself:
- Ensure that the individual borrowing your vehicle has a valid driver’s licence;
- Ensure that you have a copy of the registration and proof of insurance in the vehicle and inform the individual who is borrowing your vehicle as to where they are located;
- Ensure that you are aware of how the individual borrowing your vehicle will be using it and where he/she is driving your vehicle;
- Ensure that the individual borrowing your vehicle will not allow anyone else to borrow the vehicle;
- Ensure that the vehicle is in good working condition prior to lending it to someone else; and
- Only lend your vehicle to an individual that you consider trustworthy and someone who employs safe driving habits.
If you are lending your vehicle to an individual on a regular basis, he/she must be named as a driver on your policy. You should consult your insurance broker to discuss adding an individual to your auto policy.
If someone “borrows” your vehicle without your knowledge and is subsequently involved in an accident, the owner of the vehicle may not be found liable depending upon the circumstances. In these types of situations, unless your vehicle is stolen, it is often difficult to ascertain whether the owner provided consent. For example, in the case where an adult child borrows his mother’s vehicle.
Determining who is liable for a motor vehicle accident is often complicated as a number of parties may be involved with driving, maintaining, owning and insuring the vehicle involved. It is therefore important to consult an experienced Calgary personal injury lawyer.
If you or a loved one have been involved in collision caused by the negligent actions of a third party driver and have suffered severe injuries it is important that you contact an experienced personal injury lawyer today. Cuming & Gillespie Lawyers can help evaluate your specific case to determine whether you have a valid personal injury claim. Please contact the experienced and award winning lawyers at Cuming & Gillespie Lawyers online or at 403-571-0555 for a free consultation to determine how we can help you recover compensation for your injuries.