Accidents with unidentified, uninsured or underinsured drivers

Aside from physical injury, financial worries are often one of the hardest parts of an auto accident to cope with. In Ontario, auto insurance is mandatory, but there are certain situations where the at-fault party’s insurance isn’t sufficient to cover the costs associated with an accident.

Here’s a look at three types of drivers that can be problematic when it comes to insurance coverage:

  • Uninsured: the driver of the vehicle in an accident doesn’t have any insurance
  • Unidentified: the identity of the driver is unknown – for example, in a hit and run
  • Underinsured: the driver has insurance but the accident-related damages exceed the available coverage

If you are injured by an unknown driver or are in an accident where the other driver does not have insurance, your own insurance policy kicks in, providing up to $200,000 in coverage. This is required by law in Ontario and applies to all auto insurance policies in the province.

If the other party’s insurance coverage isn’t sufficient, there is one possible way to make up the difference. If you have purchased Optional Family Coverage (OPCF 44R) as part of your own auto insurance, it will typically provide up to $1 million.

Lastly, in the unlikely situation that neither you nor the other driver carried insurance, there is a provincial fund, the Motor Vehicle Accident Claims Fund, which can be accessed as a last resort.

If you’ve been seriously injured in an auto accident, it’s always a good idea to talk to an injury lawyer, who can help make sure you get all the financial compensation you’re entitled to.