So, you’ve had an at-fault accident…
Now you’re wondering how it will affect your insurance rates…
I’ll try to give you a basic answer, but first let me tell you how car insurance policies are rated in Ontario.
Star Rating System
Generally, your rating and how much you pay, is based on a star rating system, all other things being equal. A new driver will start at a 0-star rating. Then, after a year of driving accident-free, he’ll graduate to a 1-star. The following year, again if he remains accident-free, he’ll graduate to a 2-star. And so he will go, increasing his star rating each year he’s accident-free, until he reaches the top rating of 6 star (Some insurance companies, though, offer up to a 10-star rating).
That’s how a new driver gets rated. Now, let’s say that driver ends up having an at-fault accident in, say, his 3rd year of driving. After three years, as you already know, he would have been a 3-star driver. But what that accident then does is that it resets his star rating; he goes back to a zero rating. In effect, that would be the same rating as a new driver.
After the accident, the driver’s rating goes by how many years it’s been since his LAST accident. So, if his last accident was, say, at least four years old, he’d be rated a 4-star.
The higher the star rating, the lower the rate
I hope you get the gist of it. Basically, the higher your star rating, the lower your insurance premium.
Now, there is one more thing – For the drivers that have a current 6-star rating and then have an at-fault accident, they usually don’t drop to a 0-star. Most insurance companies have what is called ‘partial forgiveness’ for drivers that have already obtained a good rating of 6-star or better. For those drivers, insurance companies will give them partial forgiveness and rate them at a 5 instead of a 0 following an at-fault accident.
On a final note, not-at-fault accidents never affect your rating.
As always, whatever your rating is, be sure to call me for a quote (1-888-467-5499) – I can quote you with over a dozen insurance companies in one shot.