Auto Insurance Claim Advice

Most of us wish we had someone on the inside giving us advice when we need it most. An expert, Andy Suboch, is that person.

He can give you the inside information you need to know. He can tell you whether it's worth your time and money to take on a big insurance company and how to best go about it.

If you have a question about car insurance claims, please post it below.

We'll do our best to answer it, even if our lawyers can't.

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89 Comments

  1. Richard 09/26/2012 at 2:14 pm

    Hi:
    My vehicle got rear ended and it is a write off. The insurance has told me that I will have to pay storage fees for the car within a few days if I do not release to them. I was not at fault. Do I have to release to them?

  2. Andy Suboch 09/27/2012 at 5:56 pm

    Yes – release to them.

  3. Charlie K 10/02/2012 at 2:47 pm

    Hello my car was in a accident in a while parked. Fault was assigned to the driver, not me. The car was a write off. I have some questions regarding value of payment. My insurance company has come up with a value that I am disputing. The car just had a clutch repair completed, and repairs were done via cash, so no receipts. But I noticed that the insurance had given my value to new snow tires I just installed for the winter. I questioned why they did not look under the vehicle and see the new parts just place into my car and asses value. Once seeing the parts are new would easily come to conclusion that repair was just done. Also I was given a a rental vehicle, but decline as I requested the value of the rental. Again they came to value of 25$ per day up to 2 weeks. How do I actually get a true cash value for rental. No rental I know in Canada is 25$ a day. $60 minimum. Anyway a previous response discussed about a “referee” is this the same as a arbitrator and how do I go about obtaining one and is there cost to this? Right now my insurance knows that the dispute value is small and wants me to litigate at my cost, negating the value that I am fighting for. Any help would be appreciated. Thanks You

  4. LSM Insurance 10/02/2012 at 5:42 pm

    Dear Sir,

    I am a lawyer duly licensed to practice law in Ontario who has been asked to respond to your enquiries below.

    You are correct that in terms of property damage, any such disputes must go before an Arbitrator. The intent of the Insurance Act was to avoid court litigation.

    There really isn’t much that you can do other than followed the prescribed route and it successful, get whatever the Arbitrator deems appropriate.

    In terms of the value of the car, unless you can produce receipts showing that there were repairs done, you will have a tough tim, in my opinion, convincing an Arbitrator that just because the clutch looked new, it was. That is the cost in going the cash route, and, presumably, avoiding the 13% of HST.

    Regarding the $25 per day cash value of avoiding the rental car, some insurers, due to their volume get preferential rates. Your suggestion of $60 per day seems high as from personal experience, I have recently rented cars for about $35 per day.

    Regards,

    Andy Suboch

  5. Ted L 10/16/2012 at 7:58 pm

    i had an accident about two months ago a fire truck was called by the other person all they did was clean up the little mess then about a week later i receives a bii for the fire truck service does the insurance cover the bill

  6. Andy Suboch 10/17/2012 at 2:24 pm

    Your insurance company should cover the bill from the fire department.

    Regards,

    Andy Suboch

  7. Lloyd 10/20/2012 at 11:55 pm

    My wife was involve in an accident while leaving the bank. She was in the right lane making a right turn and a other driver pulled up to her left and made a right turn. The entire front left side of my vehicle was destroyed. My wife sustained a mild case of whiplash. My insurance company deem this as a not at fault accident. My vehicle was taken to a body shop of my choice the day of the accident to wait for an adjuster to see the vehicle. a week later my insurance company called me and advised me the vehicle would be a total loss and had a question she wanted to ask me. She inquired about the cone filter that was on my car and when I installed it. I told here that the filter was put on in early spring when I had a tune up done at my mechanic. The adjuster asked if I had a place where I could take the car while we sorted out the claim. I told her I could make space in my driver way. I called the next day 2 times and left voice mails but did not get a return call. Called the next afternoon and got the adjuster. She said that due to the air system being modified they were denying my claim as it was a race modification. I explained to here that I bought the car in that fashion and did absolutely no modification to it what so ever. She indicated that the vehicle was not in its factory condition and that it stipulates in my policy if I modify my vehicle without notifying them they can and will deny my claim. She advised me that I had until the days end to return my rental which they will cover but the towing storage and the repairs of the vehicle are all at my cost.

    Needless to say I was shocked. I had finance the vehicle and still owe $6500. I’m now on the all these cost and stuck paying for a car that I can’t drive. Because I’m still paying for It I can’t afford to financing another. I have been paying my premium for 2 years now and have a perfect record with no accidents. My premiums for the last 2 years is $8600 my premiums alone would cove the cost of paying the finance company. Please advise me on what I can do. I spoke with a csr of my insurance company who advised me to speak with an Ombudsman of his company who might be able to help. I will be trying that first. If that fails is there any legal recourse I can take?

  8. Kelly 10/31/2012 at 9:08 am

    I was deemed not at fault, when a woman hit me. She hit the front end, where the license plate is. She was going only 20km/hr while making a left turn in slippery conditions.

    I was hit with a large …, I was driving a small …. . The adjuster wants to write off my car because my vehicle was an old car, and the repairs exceed the value of it.

    I am unsatisfied with this decision, and I want to know what I can do to make them fix my vehicle.

  9. Andy Suboch 11/01/2012 at 6:01 pm

    Dear Madam,

    I am a lawyer who has been asked to respond to your below enquiry.

    In my opinion you have very few options. The contract of automobile insurance, UNLESS it has a replacement vehicle endorsement (which would cost more and which very few people purchase if offered) only obligates the insurer to pay to its insured (ie. You) the cash value of the vehicle. If the vehicle, by virtue of the degree of damage, is rendered uneconomical to repair (ie. Cost of repairs is greater than value of car as it was prior to the collision), then the insurer does not have to repair the damaged vehicle and can merely give you the vehicle’s cash value.

    Regards,

  10. Robert 11/28/2012 at 4:07 pm

    My wife bumped a car from the rear at an intersection.There was no damage to either car -none not even a scratch as per photos. However a passenger in the struck car claims personal injury. The catch is my wife’s license had expired. The MTO failed to send her a renewal notice and it was missed.
    Our broker (God bless them!) say they(the ins. co. they represent) likely will not come good for any claim that may come out of this. Can they get away with weaseling out of it. We have paid them thousands of dollars over many years and are claims free. That is the thanks we get! I haven’t hired a lawyer but I did talk briefly to one about it. He says it isn’t as black and white as the ins. people claim. He said drivers are often unknowingly driving with expired licenses as was my wife. He said there is a lot of precedent to go on for claim settlement under these circumstances. The plaintiff was out of her car at the site walking around with no trouble, no air bags were triggered and the police report said ‘no damage’. So where do I stand and what should I do. The adjustor dealing with it on my side has engaged a private lawyer for his opinion as to what they are entitled to do. They have admitted to me that in other cases they have recommended that the license expiry be waived. They said my case is different because the expiry period is longer. Go figure. Surely in law a license is either active or not. What do you think should happen and is there something proactive that I should be doing now?

  11. Faye 06/04/2013 at 2:02 pm

    I was stopped at a red traffic light and was rear ended buy a drunk driver who had no insurance. I have third party insurance but my insurance company is investigating my claim and are saying that at the time of the accident I was not the owner of the vehicle. I provided my ownership papers with no ownership with my mother and they still insist that I am not the owner. They are asking for a bill of sale, gas receipts, maintenance receipts and bank statement of me paying my monthly premium. Are they allowed to ask me for all that? And am I obligated to provide all that information?

  12. Andy Suboch 06/04/2013 at 2:10 pm

    I am an individual who has been practicing in the area of personal/injury and/or insurance law for more than 20 years. I have been asked to respond to the enquiry below.

    The Ontario Legislature has given insurance companies considerable powers to obtain relevant information so as to permit them to investigate claims pertaining to motor vehicle accidents. However, I find that such powers are often abused and irrelevant and/or highly personal information is sought that really isn’t needed to properly asses a claim.

    The insurance company would suggest that not only are they allowed to ask for all that but that you are obligated to provide all that information. If I were your lawyer, I’d disagree and advise you not to provide such information on the basis that not only is it irrelevant but highly personal the probative value of which is far out-weighed by its invasive and personal nature. I believe that a judge would agree with me. However, ultimately a judicial official would have to consider the correct interpretation of the relevant legislation.

  13. JTL 11/28/2013 at 11:40 am

    Comment:
    Hi
    My car was rear ended about 2 days ago and I was at no fault,I was taken to the hospital and the doctor said it was a whiplash.My car was sent to repair shop preferred by the insurance but did not yet got any estimates.It was a new car 2013 model just 3 months old ,I fear it would never be the same again even if they put it in new parts,I want to know my options on how if possible I can get a new car replacement since I want to drive a new car or atleast if I can get recovery on monetary damages such as reduction on the market value of my car after the accident .

  14. Andy Suboch 11/28/2013 at 11:41 am

    Dear Sir or Madam,

    There is little if anything that you can do about a diminution in your car’s value, if any, due to the fact that it had been in a mva. The theory is that once your car is repaired, assuming that it is economical to repair – usually insurance companies will repair a car as long as the cost to repair is less than half the value of the car at the time of the mva – then the car’s value should be same as it was prior to the mva. You cannot, in my opinion, force an insurer to buy you a new car.

    If you are continuing to feel pain and have a material interference in either your employment or daily activities of living due to your “whiplash”, you should consult a lawyer. I have practiced in the area of personal injury law for more than 20 years. If you would like a free consultation, please call Usha 416-805-1331 x221 to arrange for same. I have offices in downtown Toronto and in Scarborough.

    Regards,

    Andrew Suboch

  15. Shaz 12/20/2013 at 11:11 pm

    Hi:

    I had an old car which was insured and i bought a new car asked my insurance company to insure the new one. My agent asked wht will i do with old car and i said i will sell it, never gave tine frame. This all was done on 15 of month and i had already paid for insurance on old car for the current month so i was under the impression that i can use the old car until the end of month. On 21st i had car accident while driving my old vehicle, when i called my insurance company they said this vehicle was removed from policy on 15 and other vehicle was added so they wont cover it however i had active insurance policy so they will give accidental benefits. I have 2 questions:
    1) can i do something abt insurance been removed from old vehicle? There is no grace period?

    2) i told police officer this car may not be covered in which he gave me summons fir no insurance! I had active insurance policy but car was removed, is there anything that could be done abt this?

    Thanks,

  16. Barry 01/16/2014 at 7:57 am

    my son was in an accident at low speed and he slid into another vehicle and damaged his hood and front grill as well as one headlight..we finally had an adjuster look at his 2005 cavalier. the adjuster wants to “write it off” for about $4000-$4500 but the body shop the car is at can fix it for less than $2000..how can the insurance company justify that?

  17. Andy Suboch 01/16/2014 at 12:04 pm

    Generally speaking, the law permits an insurer to “write-off” a vehicle is the cost of repairing is deemed uneconomical. “Uneconomical” repairs are taken to be those that cost approximately 1/2 the cash value [or more] of the vehicle at time of loss. When you are considering a car that does not have a large pre mva value – probably includes a 2005 Cavalier – then a $2,000.00 repair bill [is that total including parts, labour AND HST] is, in my opinion, a judgment call as to whether such repairs are “economical” or not.

  18. Laurie 06/19/2014 at 6:15 pm

    My son borrowed my car and on the way the car started to sputter so he pulled over and got out to look at it and realized that it was on fire. The car was a total loss. The adjuster said it was a right off finally after 10 weeks she has released the check to the leasing company. Now she is calling me every day and asking for my sons drivers license number or some other strange request. what I need to know is the claim closed once the check is issued or can she do what she says she is going to do and force me to pay back the money because i have not been able to give her his license number because all his id burnt in the car and he has had to start from scratch getting his id back. I don’t understand why she didn’t get the accident report from the police and she would have all the info she needs. I am very worried that some how she is going to make me pay the money back when it isn’t enough to pay all that i still owe on the car and no way to get another to replace it.

  19. Andy Suboch 06/20/2014 at 12:22 pm

    I am a lawyer, duly licensed to practice law in Ontario, who has been asked to respond to your inquiry below.

    Assuming that your son was duly licensed to drive and that he did not contravene any conditions of his license, I am of the opinion that the insurance company should not be able to recover from you the sums paid on account of damage to the vehicle.

    Trusting this suffices,

  20. Jake C 07/09/2014 at 6:21 pm

    Hi, I was driving my vehicle and was sideswiped by another driver. My adjuster has found the fault to be with the other driver. The damage just superficial paint with no damage to the frame. The vehicle has been approved by my insurance to be repaired for up to $… at their preferred body shop. My questions are: Do I have to get the repairs done, and if so, does it have to be with the body shop they chose? The reason is, I wanted to sell my vehicle to purchase a new one, but now I have to wait months for the repair appointment. If I could just get paid out, then I can sell the vehicle at a lower price and then get into a new one sooner. Thanks.

  21. Andy Suboch 07/10/2014 at 12:16 pm

    I am a lawyer duly authorized to practice law in Ontario who has been asked to respond to the below.

    You are not obligated to use the body shop chosen by your insurer. However, such body shops usually give good service and extend guarantees as to the quality of the work done.

    You might want to explain your predicament to your insurer which might be able to “speed up” the work done so as to keep you from changing body shops.

    Regards,

    Andy Suboch

  22. Corrine 07/30/2014 at 12:46 pm

    I was involved in a accident where someone ran a stop sign and t boned my car it has been confirmed a total loss now my problem is it was a financed car with 19,000 left owing on it insurance said they will give me 12,000 for it as that’s the value for the year and KMs on the car so now I’m left paying the remainder out of my own pocket to the bank to clear off the loan I do not have that kind of money and can get a new vehicle what can I do to get the rest of the money to pay off the car. Can I sue the other driver for the remainder?

  23. Andy Suboch 07/30/2014 at 3:21 pm

    I am a lawyer duly licensed to practice law in Ontario who has been asked to respond to the below.

    Generally you cannot sue for property loss if there is a mva between 2 insured vehicles. However, our law does allow for “tort claims” where there is an economic injury/ loss. I would certainly argue that given the scenario you set out below, that you have sustained an economic loss and that you could sue for the difference between the actual cash value and what was owed on your loan.

    It would be, in my opinion, an easier argument to make, if you had actual personal injuries that might “cover” some of the losses. Again, without any knowledge of whether you were or were not injured, I cannot comment on whether you might be able to sue for your pain and suffering, loss of house-hold activities, future medical payments, loss of income, past, present and/or future. If you would like to discuss this further, please feel to call my offices to arrange for a free consultation.

    You have 2 years from date of loss to commence an action failing which you might face a “limitation defence” that could preclude your claims in their entirety.

    Regards,

    Andy Suboch
    416-815-1331 x221

  24. Larry 02/21/2015 at 12:52 am

    My new car was stolen, the insurance company ask me to provide all the repairs bills and oil change bills , and my phone record calls .
    and they want me to go there office with all this documents .

    What should I do?

  25. Andy Suboch 02/22/2015 at 12:36 pm

    Your insurance policy, which has been extensively modified by the Kathleen Wynne Liberals, requires you to cooperate with you auto insurer. You have to provide relevant documentation.

    As a lawyer who has practised in this area for 20 years +, the info requested below, in my opinion, seems irrelevant. If you were my client, I’d recommend not providing the info.

    I confirm that you have not retained me for this or any other matter. There is an applicable 2 year limitation period from when your claim was ascertained. If you do not issue a claim by then, your ability to claim under the policy could be eliminated.

    Until I have been retained by way of written retainer, I have not been retained with respect to the below or any other matter.

    Regards, Andy Suboch

  26. Crystal 03/16/2015 at 2:45 pm

    Hi there, my husband was in a car accident about 1 1/2 ago, and he was injured and taken by ambulance having to miss about 6 weeks of work.

    The other person in the other vehicle at the time said she was okay, and did not go to the hospital to get examined, and now she wants to go after my insurance for injuries, is she allow to do that, after all this time.

    Thanks, look forward to hearing from you.

  27. Andy Suboch 03/16/2015 at 2:46 pm

    I practice in the area of personal injury law/ insurance law and have done so for almost 25 years.

    A person has 2 years from the date he/she knew or ought to have known of a cause of action [ie. The possibility that he/she might want to sue] arose. In this case, it would be no less than 2 years from the date of the mva. There is a principle of law known as the discoverability principle that in certain restricted instances might extend the limitation period past 2 years but it would be unwise in my op9inion to rely on such principle in a mva case.

    The short answer is “yes” she is allowed to sue your husband [as driver] and you [as owner] 1 1/2 years post mva.

    Regards,

    Andrew Suboch

  28. Dang 03/24/2015 at 4:35 pm

    hi, i lost my car my car in feb 2015.i make the report and call the insurance. after a week i called them again for the settelement, we agree so i send them my keys, ownership and proof of lost the next day as they asked for that. Then I receive the call from the police said that they found the car.i called the insurance and let them know rightaway then they said that they still buy out my car but they need time to investigate. and now after they done with the investigate they called me back and said that the car has no damage and they dont want to buy out. so in my situation, what should i do.
    Please advise,
    Thanks

  29. Andy Suboch 03/25/2015 at 10:38 am

    If the car is not damaged then you should take the car back. Before you do so, I would get a mechanic to look it over and ensure that there is no damage, latent or patent, to the car.

    Regards,

    Andrew Suboch

  30. blase 11/17/2015 at 12:16 pm

    Hi,
    My car got stolen 3 years ago. Insurance does not want to pay out so I hired a lawyer. the lawyer then passed the limitation period to put the case to trail so now insurance does not want to pay out. Lawpro has now gotten involved because im trying to get my previous lawyer to pay for what the insurance company was supposed to cover.
    If I drop my case against my auto insurance and only pursue lawpro will there be repercussions?
    Will my case automatically get dropped because I dropped the case again my insurance and therefor a judge will state that I have no case since i dropped the one against the insurance company?
    Or do I need both parties involved? Either way I will lose my case against my insurance company because they will state that I passed the limitation period. Or do i need them while pursuing lawpro?

    thank you

  31. Andy Suboch 11/17/2015 at 3:27 pm

    I have been asked to respond to the below. generally you should continue to involve the insurance company. Until the lawyer accepts responsibility for his/her negligence, there is the possibility that judge at trial might find you still had a cause of action versus the insurer. If you can collect from the insurer, then there are little if any damages from the lawyer’s negligence.

    If you would like a free consultation, please contact Ashley of my offices at 416-815-1331 x221.

    Regards,

    Andrew Suboch

  32. Will 03/08/2016 at 7:01 pm

    Hi my name is William, I have a question regarding my insurance claim. I filed my claim because my car was hit and the person left. My insurance company is stating that the claim is highly questionable. They are asking for my call logs and my text logs and banks stamens and bill of sale is this normal why do they need this information, what should I do?

  33. LSM Insurance 03/09/2016 at 11:49 am

    Dear Sir,

    I have been asked to respond to the below. I am a lawyer who has 25+ years of experience in the area of insurance law and motor vehicle accident law.

    An insurer is entitled to make reasonable inquiries to determine if the claim is valid. I DO NOT understand how your ” call logs and my text logs and banks stamens” in any way or form would be relevant to whether there was a mva and/or whether your car sustained damage. The bill of sale MIGHT BE relevant as it would demonstrate the value of the vehicle and generally speaking, an insurer is only liable to pay its insured the “Actual Cash Value” (“ACV”) of a damaged vehicle. IF you were my client, I would advise you to not release your ” call logs and my text logs and banks stamens” but to provide the Bill of Sale. However, as of today’s date, you have not retained my offices so I am not giving you any particular advice.

    If your insurer denies your claim, and you would like to further discuss via a free consult, please call Ashley at my offices at 416-815-1331 x221 to arrange for same.

    Regards,

    Andrew Suboch

  34. Fred R 04/21/2016 at 1:09 pm

    I need help in fighting an at fault claim. I was travelling on highway
    17 going south. As I crested a hill a transport truck had lost control and was across both lanes. I had nowhere to go. The brakes did not grab it was too slippery and my car was sliding sideways as I was trying to avoid collision. I barely missed the transport, I hit a police car that had pulled over when the truck went out of control. the police car was not visible s it was hidden behind transport truck. I did not see it until a few seconds before I hit. I was not charged because it was not my fault. I have spoken to the officers since the accident and they agree the accident was not my fault. Please, can anyone help me —-

  35. Andy Suboch 04/21/2016 at 1:10 pm

    I am a lawyer who has been asked to respond to your inquiry below.

    Ontario law provides for fault determination rules and depending on how the insurer categorizes how the mva occurred, some, none or partial fault is attributed to you. Such determination is completely without regard to what the investigating police officers determine / say.

    You are able to challenge the insurer’s categorization by bringing an action in an Ontario Court pursuant to section 263.4 of the Insurance Act and the ordinary rules of law apply to such action.

  36. Russ 08/18/2016 at 12:31 pm

    I have a claim open with the other party’s insurance. After dragging their heels for 6 months with no answer, they have finally denied my claim. They said that they are arbitrarily believing their client, and that my version doesn’t support their client’s story. The client said that I had rear-ended him. In reality, it was a side-swipe collision. I’ve sent them photos of my car which clearly show that half of my car, on the passenger side is totaled. The insurance company said that based on the collision department’s reconstruction, I’m not entitled to any payout. My insurance company, however, accepted 50/50 fault, and had already settled with the other driver. What can I do?
    Thank you,
    Russ

  37. Andy Suboch 08/18/2016 at 4:20 pm

    Russ,

    I am a lawyer who practices insurance and personal injury law in Ontario. I have done so for 25 years. I have been asked to respond to the below enquiry.

    You may dispute your insurer’s acceptance of a 50/50 split in liability through the provisions of the dispute resolution code. Essentially you have to retain an Arbitrator who along with the Arbitrator retained by the insurer will select a third Arbitrator. The three will then adjudicate the dispute. You are responsible for your Arbitrator’s fees and if you lose, you pay the third Arbitrator. Depending on the quantum of damage, not really a method I would recommend.

    I am not certain why the other insurance company was dealing with you at all. They should have told you that you cannot sue for pure property damage if the other driver was insured [which obviously she/he was]. You have to target your insurance company.

    In my opinion, your options are quite limited, both legally and practically [how much money are we actually dealing with here?].

    I confirm that you have not retained my offices in any way or form.

    Regards,

    Andrew Suboch

  38. Joe 06/26/2017 at 9:55 pm

    My motorcycle was stolen, adjuster has made an offer but the offer is on the low end of the scale and won’t be enough to purchase a replacement bike of equal value. How do I negotiate a better pay out?

  39. Jason Polak 07/25/2017 at 4:14 pm

    Hi,
    I was involved in a traffic accident. My car was dropped off at the tow yard. My insurance company wants me to release it because they don’t want to pay for storage fees but they have not offered me a settlement for the car. I have accident coverage, so this fee should be covered. They took 2 weeks just for the adjuster to show up and I still don’t have an answer for the $ value. They are threatening to deduct the storage fees from my payout if I don’t release it to them by the end of the week. But they still have not given me a settlement amount. If they take posession of the vehicle and offer me a low settlement afterwards, then I will have to wait forever for them to get back to me if I dispute it because it will no longer be costing them anything. My question is do they have the right to charge me for not releasing it before I get an offer for settlement when the delay is entirely their doing? They told me they have that right. Now I will be forced to accept whatever they wish to offer me or else I will be stuck without money to buy another car since my rental coverage will end once they send me an offer. Please help.

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