Alberta’s Standard Auto Policy: As easy as A, B, C
If you have been injured in a car accident, you will undoubtedly have questions about insurance claims. What accident benefits are covered? How is fault determined? What are the policy limits? Under whose policy do I make my insurance claim? Edmonton’s McCourt Law Offices represents accident victims and we know that insurance claims in Alberta can be complex – particularly if you have sustained serious personal injury or permanent disability. The key to understanding personal injury car accident claims starts with Alberta’s Standard Automobile Policy.
The A, B, C’s of Alberta’s Standard Automobile Policy
Personal injury claims can be complicated, but the basic structure of Alberta car insurance is as easy as A, B, C. This is because in Alberta we have a standardized automobile insurance policy (S.P.F. No. 1) which is divided into three sections:
- Section A – Third Party Liability. Section A covers bodily injury, death, and damage to property that you cause to other people. In other words, if you injure or kill someone or damage someone else’s property with your vehicle and they make a claim against you, this coverage applies. Each automobile must have a minimum of $200,000 in coverage for third party liability, but many Albertans opt to purchase increased coverage limits for additional protection in the event that they are at fault for a car accident.
- Section B – Accident Benefits. Section B covers rehabilitation and medical expenses and provides you with replacement income up to certain policy limits if you or your passengers are injured in a car accident, regardless of who caused the accident. Funeral costs and death benefits are also covered under Section B if the accident is fatal.
- Section C – Loss of or Damage to Insured Automobile. Section C coverage can include collision, comprehensive, all perils, and specified perils coverage for damage to your vehicle.
It is mandatory for all Alberta drivers to have basic coverage under Sections A and B (third party and accident benefits), whereas coverage under Section C or increased policy limits over and above the minimum coverages under Sections A and B are not required by law.
Interplay between the A, B, C’s
While the structure of Alberta’s standard automobile policy may be as easy as A, B, C, understanding the insurance claims process and the interplay between the sections is more complex. For example:
- Section B accident benefits are available to you regardless of who caused the accident, and for that reason they are referred to as “no-fault” benefits.
- If you are injured in a car accident that was caused by another driver’s negligence, you have two claims:
- A tort claim against the negligent driver, which would be paid out under Section A of the at-fault driver’s insurance policy.
- A no-fault claim under Section B of your own insurance policy (unless you were a pedestrian or bicyclist in which case the insurer of the vehicle that injured you is responsible for providing accident benefits to you)
Confused yet? There is more. For example, treatment coverage under Section B is for “all reasonable expenses” incurred within two years from the date of the accident to the limit of $50,000 per person. Income replacement benefits under Section B are limited to 80% of gross weekly wages up to $400 per week, up to 104 weeks. If you have sustained serious injuries or permanent disability, it is very likely that your rehabilitation needs and income losses will exceed the dollar limits or last for longer than two years. If the accident was caused by another driver’s negligence, your losses over and above the Section B limits are recoverable in your tort claim, in addition to other types of damages such as general damages for pain and suffering and future loss of earning capacity.
Are changes coming to the A, B, C’s of Alberta car insurance injury claims?
Our Edmonton car accident lawyers have detailed knowledge of Alberta auto insurance policies and coverage for injury claims. We are dedicated to fighting for fair compensation for our clients and for the rights of accident victims. To best serve our clients, we stay on the forefront of changes to insurance regulations, including the controversial cap on personal injury compensation imposed by the Alberta government. Our injury claims lawyers are continually monitoring for prospective changes within the Alberta insurance industry and weighing in on behalf of accident victims to ensure their rights are protected. We are particularly concerned about a recent insurance survey which suggests that the Alberta government is feeling out a move toward a no-fault insurance system, which would take away an accident victim’s right to sue for full and fair compensation for their injuries.
Trusted legal team in Edmonton is here to help with injury claims
Edmonton car accident lawyers at McCourt Law Offices are available to help with personal injury insurance claims. At McCourt Law Offices, we pledge to fight for your right to full and fair compensation. We are dedicated to serving our clients and to achieving consistently successful outcomes. If you have specific questions about the insurance claims process, accident benefit coverage, or other aspects of your personal injury claim, call us today at (780) 448-0011 or toll-free at 1-877-448-0011 to set up your free initial consultation with one of our Edmonton car accident lawyers.