Fender bender: declare or not declare?
Got into a fender bender? Do you need to declare the accident to your insurer even if you’d prefer to pay for the repairs to your car or have the skills to repair the damage?
The answer is yes.
Three reasons why:
- The accident will be entered in your file at the Fichier central des sinistres automobiles if the other driver involved declares the incident to his insurer. When a loss is reported to the FCSA, it includes the vehicle and driver’s licence of both parties involved in the accident.
- After a collision, the insurer uses the DCA to investigate and determine its policyholder’s liability in the accident. When you report the loss, you’re providing an account of the circumstances of the accident and allowing your insurer to enter your level of liability for the accident. You avoid the presumption that you’re liable merely because you chose not to file a claim. By declaring the accident, your insurer can specify that no compensation was paid out.
- As a policyholder, you must respect certain obligations. In fact, under articles 2470 and 2471 of the Civil Code of Quebec, you’re responsible for reporting all losses or the circumstances of the loss to your insurer.
Your claims history at the Fichier central des sinistres automobiles
The FCSA allows insurers to access your claims history. The claims history statement is not the same as the driving record managed by Société de l’assurance automobile du Québec: the FCSA lists the losses you’ve had in the past six years, while the SAAQ file includes the following information:
- driver’s licence class(es) and licence status
- demerit points and points accumulated
- offences committed
- driving record
You might benefit from a lower premium if you have a clean driving record. However, if you’ve had several losses in recent years, you represent a higher risk for your insurer and your premium could be evaluated accordingly.
When you shop around for auto insurance and are asked whether you’ve had an accident, it’s better to answer honestly, even if you’ve chosen not to file a claim for damages. A new insurer that consults your FCSA file will see that you’ve been involved in an accident.
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