Insurance Premiums and an Auto Accident Settlement

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Our regular bills sometimes feel like inescapable, Sisyphean responsibilities—so much so that you can almost forget what some of them even accomplish. We experience the benefits of hydro or gas bills immediately, but what about the more intangible payments, like taxes or, even more so, insurance premiums. You don’t receive anything physical from your premium payments, which can make them excruciating, especially when the average premium in Ontario is well over a thousand dollars. But when you’re seeking an auto accident settlement after a motor vehicle collision, you’ll be happy for those nebulous payments, no matter their cost. Have you ever wondered, though, why the price of your premiums are different from anyone else’s?


The FSCO and Private Companies


Though private companies provide auto insurance in Ontario, the Financial Services Commission of Ontario (FSCO) manages and regulates these companies to guarantee consumers’ rights. Despite the FSCO’s regulations, though, premiums can vary depending on several factors.


Your Personal Profile


Insurance is the business of risk management. Insurance companies venture to determine the highest and lowest risk customers and assign them higher and lower premiums accordingly. Since high-risk patrons, by definition, are more likely to avail themselves of an auto accident settlement at some point during their driving history, it makes sense for them to pay more in premiums. Here are some factors insurance companies assess:

  • Your vehicle: Most insurance companies keep in-house statistics on rates of collision by make, model, and year of vehicle, and may raise your premiums if you drive a high-risk vehicle. So while you might love your vintage 1963 VW van, it’s probably raising your premiums.
  • Your driving record: Naturally, a clean driving record (i.e. free of at-fault collisions) will lower your premiums, while a history of accidents will raise them.
  • How often you drive: If your job requires an hour-long commute each way, you’re statistically more likely to be involved in an accident, regardless of fault, than someone who commutes 15 minutes or who takes the subway to work.
  • Your age: Statistically, drivers get in fewer accidents as they age. Thus, young drivers pay higher premiums than older drivers.


Your Coverage


You can’t just purchase “insurance”. Insurance companies supplement their basic packages with all sorts of add-ons and extras. You then pay for these extras not in a lump sum but through raised premiums.


Your Deductible


The deductible is the amount of money that you’re required to pay out-of-pocket after an auto accident settlement. For instance, you insurance package might cover you for $30,000 minus a $1,000 deductible. Most insurers offer a discount on premiums in exchange for raised deductibles. On the contrary, if you feel more comfortable with low deductibles, your premium will be higher.


Your Insurance Company


While insurers need to keep relatively equitable premiums in order to stay competitive with one another, the FSCO does not legally require companies to set their rates at a particular price. As such, different insurance companies will assign you slightly different premiums based on their calculations. With that in mind, remember to shop around for insurance rather than settling on the first company you look at.


Regardless of the amount of your premium payments, you’ll likely be happy for them when it comes to receiving damages after an auto accident settlement. But if, even with your insurance benefits, you still haven’t received the compensation you need, contact a Toronto personal injury lawyer today.