Vehicles Owned by Dead People

GhostIn the time that I have been writing this column I have accumulated many different topics. The requests have been varied, but I must admit, I never would have come up with this week’s topic myself. A reader has asked about vehicles owned by dead people.

The question is not as far out as you might think, and has some very important legal considerations. The lawyer I spoke with to gather background information suggested that on the death of a sole registered owner, the plates be cancelled, a storage insurance policy be purchased, and the vehicle be parked until the estate is probated. If the vehicle is worth less than $10,000 and the spouse is registered as co-owner ICBC will allow the surviving spouse to change the registration to indicate that they are sole owner in order to continue to use the vehicle prior to probate.

If others continue to use the vehicle after the registered owner’s death, be sure all insurance companies with an interest in the vehicle are notified of the situation. Failure to do so could result in a denial of insurance coverage if the vehicle were damaged or stolen.

How does a deceased registered owner get a red light camera ticket, and how do the police require this person to give details regarding the driver if the vehicle is involved in a breach of the Motor Vehicle Act? The responsibility falls on the shoulders of the executor or administrator of the estate. This is the person the law places the burden on, and it can be a very heavy responsibility if things go wrong. My lawyer advisor strongly recommends that an executor get legal advice immediately on becoming involved with the administration of an estate.

Cst. Tim Schewe (Ret.) runs DriveSmartBC, a community web site about traffic safety in British Columbia. For 25 years he was an officer with the Royal Canadian Mounted Police, including five years on general duty, 20 in traffic and 10 as a collision analyst responsible of conducting technical investigations of collisions. He retired from policing in 2006 but continues to be active in traffic safety through the DriveSmartBC web site, teaching seminars and contributing content to newspapers and web sites.

Province’s auto insurance plan deemed problematic by lawyers

Some of the Ontario government’s proposed changes to auto insurance laws will not reduce insurance costs and premiums, the Federation of Ontario Law Associations said.

In a Sept. 17 submission, FOLA said that both plaintiff personal injury lawyers and insurance defence lawyers had several concerns about the proposed policies.

“These lawyers are on the front lines of the justice system and see its triumphs and shortcomings every day,” FOLA’s report said. “To us, the Care, Not Cash model had no merit when it was first proposed, and it has no merit now.”

In a separate Sept. 16 submission, the Toronto Lawyers Association said it supported some aspects of the government’s plan — such as reinstating the $2 million benefit limit for catastrophic car crash injuries, allowing recipients to decide how to split the money between medical, rehab and attendant costs. But like FOLA, the government’s plan also raised concerns for the TLA, both on the plaintiff’s and defence side of the bar.

For instance, a proposal to let people lower their auto insurance premiums by reducing their coverage to $1 million is problematic, the TLA wrote.

“Auto insurance policies are difficult for consumers to understand,” the TLA said. “Consumers who opt for $1 million in coverage may be required to turn to Ontario’s already overburdened health care system and other social welfare systems . . . . or they may be forced to suffer without the treatment they need.”

Both FOLA and the TLA said the province will need to focus on insurance broker oversight, as well as extensive campaigns to raise consumer awareness of these issues.

FOLA’s response to the government’s consultation said it is not clear why the government would ban settling with an insurance company. While fraudsters do take advantage of cash settlements, the government’s proposal is a “sweeping” change that would only prevent a small amount of fraud, the TLA said.

Source: Law Times


“Driving Choice” Gives BC Drivers a Voice to Demand More Choice in Auto Insurance

A new campaign called “Driving Choice,” has been launched to provide British Columbians with a voice to demand more choice in auto insurance. The campaign provides the facts about how auto insurance works in other provinces and looks to dispel the myths being spread by those seeking to maintain the status quo with the Insurance Corporation of British Columbia (ICBC).

Under ICBC’s monopoly, BC drivers pay the highest auto insurance rates in Canada, yet receive the same amount in benefits when they make a claim. At the same time, ICBC has lost more than $3 billion in the last three years alone, depriving the provincial government of funding that could be better invested in healthcare, education, and social services.

That’s why Driving Choice is giving a voice to British Columbians, so that they can let their Member of the Legislative Assembly (MLA) know that they want change and that they want choice in auto insurance.

A better future is possible, one where insurers compete on a level playing field so that drivers can choose the company that delivers the best coverage at the best price. It’s a choice most other Canadians enjoy, and British Columbians deserve.

“Driving Choice gives a voice to the overwhelming majority of British Columbians who want more choice in auto insurance,” said Aaron Sutherland, Vice-President, Pacific, IBC. “Under ICBC’s monopoly, British Columbians pay more for auto insurance than anyone else in Canada, and are denied the benefits of choice and competition.  It’s time to let drivers shop around, find savings, and choose the auto insurer that’s right for them.”

Join Driving Choice and make your voice heard. Contact your MLA to let them know you want choice. Visit and follow the campaign on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter.

Additional resources

About Driving Choice
Insurance Bureau of Canada is supporting Driving Choice because auto insurers are eager to compete dollar-for-dollar with ICBC. They believe they can sell the same auto insurance for less and save drivers money. Why not let them? Change will only occur if drivers – and taxpayers – make their voices heard. Speak up and demand choice from your MLAs.

About Insurance Bureau of Canada
Insurance Bureau of Canada (IBC) is the national industry association representing Canada’s private home, auto and business insurers. Its member companies make up 90% of the property and casualty (P&C) insurance market in Canada. For more than 50 years, IBC has worked with governments across the country to help make affordable home, auto and business insurance available for all Canadians. IBC supports the vision of consumers and governments trusting, valuing and supporting the private P&C insurance industry. It champions key issues and helps educate consumers on how best to protect their homes, cars, businesses and properties.

P&C insurance touches the lives of nearly every Canadian and plays a critical role in keeping businesses safe and the Canadian economy strong. It employs more than 128,000 Canadians, contributes $9.4 billion in taxes and has a total premium base of $59.6 billion.

For media releases and more information, visit IBC’s Media Centre at Follow IBC on Twitter @IBC_West and like us on Facebook. If you have a question about home, auto or business insurance, contact IBC’s Consumer Information Centre at 1-844-2ask-IBC (1-844-227-5422).

If you require more information, IBC spokespeople are available to discuss the details in this media release. To schedule an interview, please contact:

SOURCE Insurance Bureau of Canada

For further information: Vanessa Barrasa, Manager, Media Relations, 416-362-2031 ext. 4312,

Related Links

RCMP: Truck driver who crashed on Malahat did not have insurance

By Adam Chan, CTV Vancouver Island

A commercial truck driver who crashed through a concrete median and into a BC Hydro pole off the Malahat on Monday did not have insurance, according to West Shore RCMP.

The crash, which occurred at approximately 2:30 p.m. on the Trans-Canada Highway near Aspen Road, knocked out electricity to more than 250 BC Hydro customers and caused lengthy traffic delays in both directions as RCMP officers and BC Hydro repair crews attended the scene.

According to the RCMP, the 27-year-old man driving the commercial semi-truck is being charged with having no insurance and driving without due care and attention.

The driver was taken to hospital for treatment of minor injuries.

On Tuesday morning, crews began to remove the semi-truck from the bottom of an embankment that it slid down on Monday.

Northbound traffic along Aspen Road was brought down to one lane during the removal process.

While the vehicle was being moved onto the road, diesel fuel could be seen spilling onto the road with crews placing absorment material on top of the liquid to soak up its spread.

By approximately 1:00 p.m. Tuesday, both northbound lanes along Aspen Road had reopened.

But RCMP say people should educate themselves on the law before buying motor-assisted cycles

Read more

Taxi drivers fear proposed insurance increase will put them off the road

By Robert Jones · CBC News

On an ongoing drama of rising car insurance rates unfolding at New Brunswick’s Insurance Board, the consortium of companies that underwrite higher-risk drivers is asking for a premium increase in excess of $1,000 on provincial taxis beginning Jan. 1.

The insurance group, known collectively as the Facility Association, only began implementing its last rate hike on taxis —  an 8.4 per cent increase — earlier this month.

The current proposal is to lift those premiums another 20.2 per cent, which would take the cost of insuring the average cab in New Brunswick to $5,906 per year. That would be $1,069 higher than current levels and $2,000 more than they were as recently as 2017.

George Youssef, the part owner of Checker Cab in Fredericton said the rapid escalation of insurance costs, on top of other operating costs, is a serious problem.

“That’s really a killer,” said Youssef.

“[It] stops people from being able to afford to purchase a vehicle on their own and pay the insurance. I mean you’re talking almost $15,000 to $20,000, depending on the vehicle, just to get a car on the road for one year.”

In Saint John, Shelly Orr with Vet’s Taxi agreed.

“In the taxi industry, they’re going to put a lot of people out of work.  A lot of these guys own their own cars. They can’t afford another insurance increase.”

Just over 400 taxis are insured with the Facility Association in New Brunswick — virtually all the commercial cabs driven in the province.

The association is a collective of every automobile insurer licensed in New Brunswick and by law must cover car owners who can’t get insurance from regular companies.

Last year the group applied for a 21 per cent increase in taxi rates but after a hearing at the Insurance Board it was allowed only a portion of that.

The board questioned whether insurance companies were inflating costs for services they were providing the association and disallowed most of the increase being asked for.

“The [board] finds the applicant’s filing not to be just and reasonable in its entirety,” Insurance Board chair Marie-Claude Doucet wrote in the final decision.

“The panel recognizes that Facility Association is required to pay fees to its servicing carriers. That said, the panel was provided with no evidence indicating whether these fees accurately reflect the actual costs incurred by servicing carriers.”

Insurance industry not deterred

The ruling allowed rates to be raised after Sept. 1 of this year by the reduced amount of 8.4 per cent, but undeterred, the association has returned and asked for another 20.2 percent on top of that beginning in January.

Youssef hopes the Insurance Board is equally tough this time.

“Well, I hope the board gives us whatever it can because I mean the insurance for the vehicle is almost the exact same as the cost of the vehicle,” he said.

A hearing on the application is scheduled to begin Oct. 1.

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