What happens if someone hits you without insurance?

7 minute read Published on May 2, 2024 by BrokerLink Communications

Driver hand examining dented blue car with damaged fender parked on city street side.

Car insurance is essential for many reasons, but perhaps one of the most important ones is that it can protect you in the event of an accident. Specifically, it can protect you if you get into an accident with an at-fault driver who doesn’t have car insurance. This type of driver is known as an uninsured driver. Continue reading to find out what to do if you get into an accident with a driver without any auto insurance.

What to do if you get into an accident with an uninsured driver

If you get into an accident with an uninsured driver, what follows will depend on the province that you live in. In the case of Ontario, which has a no-fault insurance system, you will deal with your personal insurance company. This means the insurance claims you file will be through your provider. The type of claim that you will file will depend on who was at fault for the accident.

If the uninsured driver is determined to be at fault for the collision, then you will file an uninsured motorist claim. However, if you are found to be at fault for the accident, then you would likely file a third-party liability car insurance claim. Either way, the coverage that is part of your policy will financially protect you in the event that you get into an accident with an uninsured driver.

Plus, since you get to deal directly with your insurance company, you can receive a payout from your insurer sooner rather than later. At the end of the day, if you want to learn more about the claims process following an accident with an uninsured driver, contact your insurance agent or broker immediately.

Uninsured motorist coverage defined

Uninsured automobile insurance is the most common type of auto insurance coverage that comes into play when discussing accidents with uninsured drivers. This type of coverage is specifically designed for situations in which a policyholder gets into a collision with a driver who is uninsured, underinsured, or unidentified who flees the scene of the accident, e.g. a hit and run. In many provinces, including Ontario, uninsured motorist coverage is mandatory. The amount of uninsured motorist coverage a policyholder has usually matches the amount of liability car insurance coverage they have, which is another type of mandatory car insurance.

The types of damage that uninsured motorist insurance covers vary but may include property damage bills and medical expenses. This means that if the policyholder was injured in the accident and needed to seek medical or rehabilitative care or their vehicle was damaged in the accident, they could file a claim and receive a payout under the uninsured motorist coverage portion of their policy.

What is covered when you get into an accident with an uninsured driver?

Under your policy's uninsured motorist coverage portion, you will be covered for several types of losses and situations. These include bodily injury, property damage, and hit-and-run accidents. Continue reading for an in-depth description of how uninsured motorist insurance can cover you for each:

Bodily injury

The first risk that uninsured automobile coverage can protect against is bodily injury. For example, if you get into an accident with an uninsured driver and you are injured as a result, you might need to seek medical attention. Any medical expenses that are not covered by your health insurance might be covered by your uninsured motorist coverage. Such expenses may include prescription medication, physical therapy, and lost income.

Property damage

Property damage is another risk that uninsured motorist insurance may cover. If your car is damaged in an accident with an uninsured driver, you can file an uninsured automobile claim to receive a payout that helps you cover the cost of repairs.

Hit-and-run accidents

Lastly, one circumstance that uninsured motorist insurance covers is hit-and-run accidents. Hit-and-run accidents are a worst-case scenario for many drivers, not to mention the fact that fleeing the scene of a car accident is illegal across Canada. Thankfully, you won’t have to pay for the damages if this nightmare situation happens to you. Instead, your uninsured motorist coverage would cover you, helping to pay for various costs associated with the accident, such as vehicle repairs, medical fees, and more.

Tips for getting into an accident with an uninsured driver

If you are in an accident with an uninsured driver, follow the tips below to help you get through it and receive a payout from your insurance company:

Contact the police

First, call the police. Not only will a police report be required for your claim, but the police can help you obtain the necessary information about the uninsured driver.

Take photos and video evidence of the accident

Next, while you’re still at the accident scene and only when it is safe to do so, take photos and videos of the area. Documenting the damage during a car accident is always important, but it might be especially important when dealing with an uninsured driver. You will want clear footage of what occurred and the damage that resulted from it.

Get in touch with your insurance provider

After returning home from the accident, inform your insurance provider about the accident. They will help you start the claims process and clearly outline how it works. You can also contact an insurance broker for extra help and advice during the claims process. Once your claim has been filed, it can usually take 30 days to hear back from your insurer.

What happens if I don’t have car insurance and I get into a car accident?

You can expect a severe penalty if you don’t have mandatory car insurance but are in an accident. Not only will the other driver’s insurance company come after you to pay them for the cost of the damage, but you will also be subjected to a fine for driving without car insurance. Fines for uninsured driving can go up to $50,000 in some provinces. Beyond a hefty fine, you could also face jail time, have your vehicle impounded, and have your driver’s licence suspended.

Since driving without car insurance is against the law, uninsured drivers who get into accidents do not have the same ability to sue. For instance, in Ontario, according to the province’s Insurance Act, uninsured motorists who are injured in a car accident are not allowed to sue for personal injury compensation. You can learn more about how personal injury claims affect insurance and how to cancel a personal injury claim here.

What happens if neither driver involved in the accident has car insurance?

In Ontario, if neither driver involved in the collision has car insurance, then it falls to Ontario’s Motor Vehicle Claims Fund (MVCF). The MVCF is responsible for compensating victims of car accidents with uninsured drivers. It is important to note that the maximum amount of money that the MVCF will pay out is $200,000 in damages.

Car insurance is a legal requirement in Canada

One final note on car insurance in Canada is that it is a legal requirement. This means that you nor anyone else on the road should ever be driving without auto insurance coverage. Doing so is illegal, and you will be penalized if you are caught.

Using Ontario as an example, the car insurance requirements for Ontario motorists are as follows:

There are also specific requirements for certain coverages, like third-party liability coverage, where drivers must have no less than $200,000.

Please note that Alberta is the only province where uninsured motorist coverage is not mandatory. Instead, it is optional, just like accident forgiveness coverage or comprehensive car coverage. It is still available to drivers and can be added as an endorsement.

Given that auto insurance is mandatory across Canada, driving without it is against the law. Consequences vary between provinces, with Ontario having some of the harshest punishments for uninsured driving. For instance, uninsured motorists in Ontario can receive a fine of up to $25,000 for a first offence and a fine of up to $50,000 for a second offence. Those charged will also have to pay a 25% surcharge on top of the fine they incur. Plus, a law enforcement officer also has the right to impound your vehicle and suspend your driver’s licence for up to one year.

Mandatory auto insurance coverage explained

Since you know more about how uninsured motorist coverage works, let’s briefly explain how the other types of mandatory car insurance coverage work:

Third-party liability coverage

Liability car insurance is designed to cover expenses related to at-fault accidents. So, if you are found liable for a car accident that resulted in bodily injury or property damage, third-party liability insurance is what you would claim. This type of coverage can pay for medical, legal, and repair bills.

Accident benefits coverage

Accident benefits are the second type of mandatory coverage related to injury or bodily harm following an accident. Specifically, this type of coverage can pay for the policyholder or another person involved in the accident to receive medical or rehabilitative care that isn’t covered by health insurance. Accident benefits can pay for prescription medications, physical therapy, funeral fees, and lost income.

Direct compensation coverage

Lastly, direct compensation coverage is a form of property damage coverage that can pay for your car to be repaired if it gets damaged in an accident that was not your fault. If you are at fault for the collision, you must file a collision coverage claim to receive a payout.

Contact BrokerLink to learn more about what to do if you get into an accident with an uninsured driver

Finding yourself in an accident with an uninsured driver is a nightmare scenario for many. However, we hope reading this article helped prepare you should this situation ever occur. In reality, driving without insurance is illegal, so in an ideal world, you would never get into an accident with an uninsured driver. But if someone breaks the law and you end up colliding with their car, you will have peace of mind knowing that you are covered.

For more information on uninsured motorist coverage and car insurance in general, contact BrokerLink today. We can offer safe driving tips, help you buy, renew, or cancel a car insurance plan, or even provide you with a free quote. Quotes can be obtained on our website in a matter of minutes.

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