The MVACF: What to do when no one has insurance?

July 29, 2016

When you buy an automobile insurance policy in Ontario, coverage for damages caused by uninsured or unidentified drivers is mandatory and is built into your policy.

In the case of accidents caused by unidentified drivers, the coverage is triggered under the injured person’s own policy. Basically, the injured person’s insurer steps into the shoes of unidentified driver’s insurer and responds to the claim. The injured person still has the burden of proving their case, but they do have coverage. The same applies to situations where the driver is identified but has failed to obtain insurance for their vehicle. In both these circumstances however, coverage is generally restricted to $200,000.

But what happens when two uninsured drivers get into an accident, or if a pedestrian (with no insurance) is injured in a hit-and-run? The good news is, even in instances where there are no insurance policies to access, an individual injured in a motor vehicle accident may have access to coverage for their damages. To handle these types of situations, Ontario has set up the Motor Vehicle Accident Claims Fund (MVACF): a government insurance program that provides compensation when there is no other insurance available.

To access the MVACF, the recipient must be in Ontario, the accident must have taken place in Ontario, there must be no access to any insurance policies and the recipient must not have been responsible for the accident. The two primary types of coverage under the MVACF are property damage with a limit of $10 000 and personal injury with a limit of $200 000. To recover damages for personal injury, a personal injury claim must be made. If the other driver is known but uninsured, then the claim is against the driver, with an application to the fund to cover compensation. If the driver is unknown (such as in a hit-and-run), then Ontario’s Superintendent of Financial Services is added as a defendant, bringing the MVACF into the proceedings.

Therefore there are means to get compensation if you have suffered personal injury in an accident where you don’t have insurance and the other driver was unknown or uninsured. As a result of these safeguards in Ontario’s insurance regime, it is rare for an injured person to have absolutely no recourse for compensation for injuries caused by another driver.

For more information, please contact Caroline Failes, Partner at 613.566.2849 or [email protected].