Day One After My Car Wreck – Insurance Nightmares Begin by Jamie Gilcig – February 14, 2013

jg2CFN – What is wrong with insurance companies?  Or is it just mine?  I just had my first real accident in over 30 years of driving.

My poor car has been totaled, and I have a case of whiplash.

And I’m grateful.  I could have been a statistic, and am very grateful I’m not.  What I didn’t expect this morning was to get rained on with industry jargon and boilerplate by my insurance broker, MLS  in Alexandria, nor my insurance company adjuster from Economical.

I understand the biz to a point.  Insurance companies don’t like writing cheques and the smaller ones they write the better…..for them.  I get that.

What I do know, or at least thought, is that when you need insurance, at that moment of crisis, it’s important that the people you give your money to take care of you, do.    And so far that has not been the case sadly.

dead mercWhen you’ve been sandwiched between two cars that last thing you want to do the morning after is have someone try and hustle you with numbers and percentages, and you don’t have this thingy or that thingy in your policy.

So the lesson for all of us to learn is to have our policies read over by a lawyer before signing or someone that understands each and every single word and potential loophole.  And look at each piece of paper sent to you.

At the end of the day we’re all responsible for our own actions, but I have to share that as someone that works in marketing they sure as heck are not helping their biz right now.

Do you have any good or horrific insurance stories?   You can post them below.

Alexandria Fishing Derby


  1. Went through a similar thing with Economical in the early 1990s. All I can say is be prepared for a long battle. If you are willing to persevere and have all the facts and information necessary to wage your battle, you will eventually win!

  2. Author

    Thanks Greg. Do you want to plug who you use now as I most likely will change after eight years of service with both MLS & Economical if they can’t take care of such a simple claim?

  3. I have nothing but good to say about my insurance company, statefarm, we had a break in with our van a few years ago in our driveway, they came right here and sat down with us, explained to them that our ashtray (180. to replace) was stolen, all our sunglasses and cd’s, I explained that the cd’s were bought from pawn shops and garage sales and not worth more than 2 bucks each, they said “try to replace them for that amount, you won’t find them” and gave us 10. per cd.
    we had a telescope and large tape player stolen off of our deck, told them the telescope was also bought at a garage sale for 30. our agent looked up 3 different telescopes onlines similar to ours, figured out the average and we were awarded that amount, when I turned 50 they lowered our insurance, a week later they called and because of our driving record lowered it again and when they found out our son no longer lived here it was again lowered, we’ve had them for over 30 yrs and I’d never go to another. I wish you luck with yours!!

  4. I believe what is happening is you were 50% at fault. You rearended the person in front (At fault) and someone did rearended you (Not at fault) That is why the insurance will pay 50% of the damages under DCPD (not at fault coverage) and 50% under Collision. (At-fault). Your Vehicle is 21 years old so I’m assuming you don’t have collision coverage, so the company will pay 50%. It did happened to me a few years ago and I also felt it wasn’t fair. After it was explained by my Broker I did understand but was still disappointed. The good thing in your case is someone rearended you so the company will pay 50%. Let say you would have rearended the person in front of you and no one would have rearended you, the company would give you $0. (assuming you don’t have collision cov.) You’re kind of lucky in your bad luck I guess. I hope you’re ok but in regards of injuries, you’re covered under your Accident Benefit coverage. Bye the way, the automobile insurance is the same for all insurance companies in Ontario. It’s regulated by the government. …and if you’re not paying for collision coverage, it doesn’t matter how long you have been accident free in your life, you’re just not covered for coverage you don’t have and not paying for.


  5. As far as insurance companies are concerned, you get what you pay for! My insurance broker (Rozon) has advised me over the years and has kept my insurance policies up-to-date with ALL coverages. I’m not interested in saving $100 if I’m only going to have problems with collecting. I have always had great dealings with Glengarry Mutual (over 10 years) through Rozon.

  6. We’ve had a couple of accidents since moving back to the area, one because of unusually high snow banks at a corner and one involving a deer. Our insurance company StateFarm and our agent, Lawrence Vandermeer, were great about both incidents and the car was fully repaired with very little fuss. Now we pay a small surcharge every time we renew the insurance policy but it is not a hardship.

  7. I’ve been very fortunate to have never put in an insurance claim in my 47 years of driving. And my insurance company, L&A Mutual, is kind enough to only jack my premium up by about $50 a year.

  8. Author

    I just spoke with one insurance agent and was given an earful about the biz. It literally costs a consumer a whack of money to change companies. It’s almost like you’re fiscally trapped and penalized if you want to change insurance companies…

  9. Hi Jamie. Sorry for the lateness of my reply. We changed our home insurance over to Desjardin General Insurance after our broker refused to reissue us insurance when we cancelled our home insurance when our new home was being built. (We had no home to insure — our old home had been sold and our new home hadn’t yet been built).

    It was the best thing that could have happened to us. We saved a bundle of money and no longer had to deal with obstinate insurance brokers who were more interesting in spouting their insurance company’s standard lines than representing us as clients.

    A short time after we changed all our over insurance — including automotive insurance — over to Desjardins and saved a bundle more of money. Never have been so happy!

  10. Yup. Auto insurance companies are about as close to being organized crime outfits as possible. Ontario is one of the last provinces to allow these scam artists to exist. Considering that auto insurance is mandatory, it should be a non-profit publicly run service.

  11. I may sound extreme, but I believe if all citizens carried guns there would be no reason to have auto insurance.

  12. Glad to hear you’re Ok Jamie.

    I’ve always thought insurance companies in Ontario were like a monopoly; and like Ed expressed that since auto ins. is mandatory it should be a non-profit entity, much like the system British Columbia has. I lived out there recently and the insurance set-up was so quick, responsible, and connected to rational business practice that I was overly impressed…..when I came back here to Ontario I was treated like a first-time driver simply because I had been out of the country for a few years despite having a clean driving record for over thirty years…..none of the insurance agencies would give me insurance for less than 3000 bucks, first-time driver’s rate, even with no collision. You Jamie recommended MLS and they took into consideration my years of driving and gave me a rate reflective of that….so I’m really grateful about that. I wonder if you could tell us the actual fine print you speak of that entitles you to full coverage…if you’re getting half of the costs I would have thought you’d be getting off lightly in this no-fault arena. Shame about the Merc though! They don’t make em’ like that anymore.

  13. Author

    Hi Brian,

    Sometimes it’s not the meat, but how it’s prepared.

  14. There is a lot of ignorance concerning insurance…
    I am not really even sure where to begin…

    Stan Stalk is correct, you get what you pay for. Speaking of this, does everyone have a ‘sewage back up rider’ on their homeowners policy? A $5-25 yearly fee can save you tens of thousands of dollars in damages…

    Admin – It costs a whack to change companies, if you are mid policy. Your policy has a term, often 1 year. Backing out of written legal agreement has penalties. The penalties exists because the rates you signed your name to are based on a period of time. Switching companies at the end of a policy term cost nothing. There may be a jump in price because you are no longer eligible for loyalty discounts for using the same company for multiple years.
    But lets look at your example as you have outlined. You have been driving accident free for three decades. You have your first at-fault accident, rear ending someone. Did your company offer coverage that your first at-fault accident is not held against you? If yes, did you have this coverage? If not, your rates should not change too much with just one accident, unless you were getting a discount for being accident free.
    And yes people, read every single legal contract your sign, have a lawyer read it over if you wish. An insurance policy is a legal contract, that is why you must be of sound mind when signing it.

    Ed – as everyone knows, the government always runs things best, far better than the free market… The government has zero waste, and always makes every cent count… Banks should not even exist, we should all just turn over every nickel (oops, almost wrote penny [IE didn’t those cost 1.6 cents to produce?]) we have to the government together and let them handle it.

  15. @ Smith. I take it that you are in the auto insurance business in Ontario.
    I’ve had auto insurance in Saskatchewan, Manitoba, Quebec and Ontario. I know when I’m getting screwed when it comes to car insurance, and believe me, Ontario is where the serious screwing happens.

  16. I’ll second that Ed…..I’ve had insurance in Quebec and British Columbia and Ontario…..kudos to Quebec and British Columbia, both government run services and I recall in B.C. all the rants about how it was going to dramatically increase costs: didn’t happen….and not really necessary to overly scrutinize the contract because it’s the same for everyone…..the agency is accountable to the government whereas in Ontario it seems that the industry tells the government what should be ie….powerful lobbies doing the best to protect their investors….

  17. Author

    I agree Brian, the car insurance industry in Ontario needs improvement, but if people don’t pressure the government there will never be any change.

  18. Jamie, it’s unfortunate in Ontario that the government openly admits that it is actively working to protect the poor insurance companies from the citizens of Ontario.

    Sounds crazy, but really, the Liberals have been doing exactly that and bragging about how they have been protecting the insurance companies from us.

    Go Google some of this stuff…….it’s really hard to believe unless you actually read it……and then read the acts.

    What has happened is that Ontarians now pay the highest rates for the worst coverages in Canada…….and the insurance companies make the most profit of anywhere in the country.

  19. Andrea Horwath is making noises about “forcing” the Libs to do something about the excessive insurance premiums.
    In 1990, one of Bob Rae’s election promises was to bring in public auto insurance. He broke that promise.

  20. Daniel
    February 14th 2013 11:46 a.m.

    I believe that you are correct and suffice to say that any insurance is better than no insurance.

    Jamie I sincerely wish you well and hope that you have a full recovery from the experience.

    As far as insurance rates go we would all be doing ourselves a great justice if we lobbied for better controls over our PRIVILEGE of driving a vehicle (it is not a right as some would think) That is to say start requiring that the worst offenders (people that have had more than one at fault accident within a short period of time) sit out for a period of time and be required to take advanced driver training courses in order to get back onto the roads. Otherwise be prepared to pay more and more. Everyone is aware of the aggressive driving style which seems to be taking hold and is the root cause of a significant number of accidents.

  21. I strongly disagree with the notion that driving is a privilege. A privilege is a favour that can be withdrawn at any time for any reason. I.E. You can park in my driveway any time you want until such time that I change my mind for what ever reason. Any person who holds a valid drivers license etc has the right to drive, until such time that he/she breaks the rules.

  22. @ Ed. I unequivocally agree with you that insurance rates in provincial systems are lower than Ontario, but do not kid yourself that the provincial insurance systems are not getting subsidies from the tax income of the province.

    But you also must agree that running a business within the rules of a regulated industry etc has the right to attempt to profit. Unless you feel that running a business for profit is a privilege…
    Let us imagine how appealing Ontario would be to foreign investment if we take that position.

    Bob Rae in 1990 realized that bringing in public auto insurance would put tens of thousands of citizens out of work. Look at how many brokerages and direct writers there are in Cornwall, would you like to see most of those people put out of work? Are we not trying to create more jobs in Cornwall?

    I really do not know what the answer is, but everyone should realize this is lot of jobs across the province. Furthermore, if we are creating public entities to replace industries, why not banking, automotive manufacturing, automotive repair, and credit cards?

  23. Sorry Smith, but that argument just doesn’t wash. Insurance is mandatory for anyone who drives a car. If a publicly run insurance program can provide the mandatory coverage at a lower cost than the private for-profit system we have now, why should we keep paying through the nose just so you can take your cut? I’m hoping that your days are numbered at the trough.

  24. @ Smith.

    Get your facts right. Where’s the proof that provincial governments (taxpayers) subsidise their insurance programs? And so what if they do? After all, provincial drivers are also provincial taxpayers.

    As for government insurance laying off thousands of people, that too is a load of crock. I lived in BC when ICBC came into existence. No one lost their job — insurance agents simply sold ICBC insurance rather than whatever they were selling before. Not only that, my insurance dropped from $300 per year without collision to $300 per year with collision. (This was a long time ago — I wish I could get those rates today!)

  25. @ Richard – There is nothing wrong with it. Let us put yearly premiums on everything that our tax money is used for, healthcare, schools, roads, etc., that would raise a lot of extra money for government.

    Fortunately the government manages everything better than the free market, so maybe they will even have to hire more people? No one in the insurance industry looses their job, and we add may even add more jobs. Oh and also the government will be lowering the cost of insurance. How does this work exactly? I never knew the government to be so penny wise.

    @ Ed – I have no more connection than to the insurance industry than you do, if you happen to be a policy holder. I too have also seen the profits of insurance companies. Insurance is mandatory because cars do not always hit other insured cars, occasionally they hit pedestrians or other people’s property. This is why you are required to carry liability insurance.

    I just can’t believe how trusting you all are being of the abilities of the government with your money. Why are you not making this same argument for every industry?

  26. @ Smith. You prefer private auto insurance. I prefer public auto insurance. We’ll leave it at that.

  27. Stop following so close and pat attention to what your doing behind the wheel. You clearly rear ended someone with your 1992 mb. Your the reason insurance cost are high. I not a fan of insurance but all of us have to have it. If they offer you anything over $500.00 run and please don’t be one those people claiming injuries like whiplash.

Leave a Reply