There are some words you might be unintentionally using wrong. Usually, not a big deal. But sometimes, that misuse has consequences that will cost you in ways you didn’t foresee.

In many parts of Canada, your auto insurance (or parts of it) is called “no-fault”. Seems clear enough, right? When no-fault divorce was introduced, it meant you didn’t have to prove you’d been neglected or abused or fooled around on.

The courts didn’t care whose fault it was, because you were allowed to get divorced if you chose to. It was a welcome relief to those trapped in horrible marriages who could now get out because they wanted to, without first having to prove how horrible their hopefully-soon-to-be-ex was. The courts recognized that it really wasn’t helping anyone to forge ahead into the future hanging onto bad historic law.

That “no-fault” is not this “no-fault.” If you crash into someone, there is absolutely fault. And if it’s yours, you will pay.

Paint tells stories, and dashes and scrapes and broken lights tell more.

The term’s root is in insurance jargon, and it’s unfortunately been carried over into everyday usage.

In looking for ways to streamline paying out claims and stopping the continual clogging of our courts over tangles that were essentially pretty cut and dried, the insurance industry realized it made a lot more sense to pay out their own clients — to stop trading cheques.


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