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Fault Assessment – Fault Determination Rules

Fault Assessment

​After a car collision, fault is assigned to one or more drivers. Insurance companies use government rules to determine fault for some claims. If you are found to be partially or completely at fault, your premium may increase.  

​What Happens After A Collision

If the police do not file charges, it doesn’t necessarily mean that the insurance companies will not find one or more of the drivers involved at fault. 

Your insurer will investigate the circumstances of the collision and make a fault decision. Complete or partial fault is allocated to each driver based on which scenario most closely resembles the car collision. If no scenario matches the circumstances, fault is then allocated according to the rules of negligence law.

If more than one driver is considered to be partially at fault, multiple insurance companies may be involved in the settlement. Each driver is assigned a degree of responsibility. 

Do Government Rules Apply? 

Fault determination rules are regulated by the Ontario government and are used by insurers to determine fault or responsibility for Direct Compensation Property Damage claims, but not for injury claims. These rules: 

  • Cover more than 40 accident situations
  • Use diagrams to illustrate almost every possible collision scenario
  • Apply regardless of road or weather conditions, visibility, point of impact on the vehicles, or the actions of pedestrians
  • Help insurance companies provide prompt claims handling and fair consistent treatment.

At-Fault and Your Insurance

You can be determined to be anywhere from completely or partially at fault. If you are found to be at fault, the collision goes on your insurance record and your premium may increase up on renewal. 

First At-Fault Collision

​Second At-Fault Collision

​Additional Considerations

​​​After 6* or more years of claims-free and conviction-free driving, your premium may not change or may increase by a relatively small amount. 

​If you have a second at-fault collision within 5* years of your first, you can expect your premiums to increase quite significantly.

​If you have any convictions or cancellations of a policy in addition to an at-fault accident, or are an inexperienced driver with an at-fault accident, you may be considered to be a high-risk driver. 

​Most insurers will change your driving record to reflect the collision and increase your premium by a small amount. 

​You may be placed with an insurance company that specializes in these types of risks.

​You will need 6* years of accident-free driving before you go back to a “clean slate”.​

*on average; talk to you insurer about your specific situation

Some insurers allow you to maintain your record and premium after your first at-fault collision. To confirm your company’s approach and how your rates may be affected, check with your insurance representative. ​

An At-Fault Collision Applies to All Drivers 

When you lend your car to someone; you also lend that person your insurance. If the person who borrows your car has an at-fault collision while driving it, their accident goes on your insurance record, and your insurance premium could go up. 

How Does Your Insurance Company Assess Fault?