If you operate a motor vehicle in Alberta, you are legally required to carry motor vehicle insurance. The Standard Automobile Policy is governed by provincial legislation, and therefore the basic terms and conditions are the same for all policies.
The mandatory level of Section A coverage is $200,000. However, most people choose to increase that coverage to at least $1,000,000 or $2,00,000 to ensure they have enough coverage in the case of multiple claims from one incident, or very serious injuries to people in the other vehicle/s, where $200,000 may not be sufficient to cover all claims.
There are three sections of the policy:
Section A covers you for any injuries or damage to people or property that you caused with your vehicle. This section is commonly referred to as PLPD – Public Liability and Property Damage. This coverage is mandatory.
Section B covers you for any medical treatment or disability benefits for you and any of your passengers. This coverage is also mandatory.
Section C covers you for physical damages to your vehicle. This is optional coverage.
There are other optional endorsements for things like glass coverage or an SEF 44 Family Protection
As noted above, Section A covers you for any injuries or damage to people or property that you caused with your vehicle. If you are unfortunately at fault for a motor vehicle accident, your insurance company will “stand in your shoes” and investigate the circumstances of the incident, analyze any evidence regarding physical injuries, and other heads of damages (such as wage loss or out of pocket expenses) provided by the injured party.
If the insurance company is not able to obtain an early settlement, then they will defend the claim. An injured party has 2 years from the date of the incident to either settle, or file a Statement of Claim with the courts, which allows them to carry on with either negotiations or litigation. Your insurance company will hire a defence lawyer on your behalf.
If the injured party files a Statement of Claim, you will be named personally, but because you have liability insurance, your insurance company will respond on your behalf.
The policy gives your insurance company the authority to settle or litigate as they see fit.
This is also called Accident Benefits, and they are no-fault benefits, meaning that accessing these benefits will not have an impact on your insurance rates.
This section covers you for any medical treatment or disability benefits for you and any of your passengers. It would also cover pedestrians struck by your vehicle.
Regarding medical treatment, it is important to be aware of the Minor Injury Regulation that came into force in 2004. It caps the number of treatments for physiotherapy from 10 – 21 visits, if the claim is deemed “minor”. However, your treatment provider may recommend further treatment to your insurance company.
There is also a monetary cap for other treatments such as chiropractic treatment ($750), massage and acupuncture ($250 each).
Section B will cover ambulance charges as well as relevant prescription expenses.
There is disability coverage if you are totally disabled from work. As well, there is a benefit payable for homemaking services if you are totally disabled.
Finally, Section B will provide some coverage for death or funeral benefits.
The maximum amount of coverage for more serious injuries is $50,000 up to 2 years.
This section mainly covers collision damage to your vehicle, whether you are at fault or not, including a roll-over. If you are not at fault, your own insurance company will typically appraise the damage and have it repaired or written off as a total loss, then pursue the other insurance company for recovery (often called Subrogation).
It is optional coverage, but highly recommended. If you are struck by an uninsured vehicle, and do not carry collision coverage, you will likely not have any recourse for recovery for your vehicle damage or total loss of your vehicle.
It also covers Specified perils such as theft, fire, or storm (ie hail damage).
** Please note that this article is to only provide general information. It cannot be considered as legal advice. If you have any questions or concerns, or have been involved in a motor vehicle accident, please contact Braithwaite Boyle Injury Law at 780-451-9191 and one of our lawyers would be happy to assist you.