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Considerate Claims: Alberta to allow not-at-fault drivers to pursue claims through own carrier

Edmonton, Alberta — Changes are on the way for the Alberta auto insurance industry as the provincial government announced new measures to streamline claims processing for not-at-fault drivers.

Starting Jan. 1, drivers will be able to claim vehicle damage that they are not responsible for to their own insurance company and not that of the at-fault driver.

The new coverage, known as direct compensation for property damage (DCPD), is legislated in Bill 41, the Insurance Amendment Act, which was passed into law almost a year ago.

The Insurance Bureau of Canada’s western vice-president, Aaron Sutherland, says this will create a more efficient system in Alberta, and one that aligns with similar systems in other provinces.

“Your own insurance company will pay for repairs to your vehicle when you are not at fault for an accident,” said Sutherland.

“If someone else hits your car, it requires your insurance company to subrogate those damages back to the insurer of the at-fault driver. That can lead to complications, that can lead to delays, and this (change) eliminates all of that.”

DCPD regulation sets out rules for determining who is at fault in more than 40 “accident scenarios,” but those rules do not apply to other types of claims, such as bodily injury. DCPD does not prevent drivers from pursuing legal action for other damages, such as injury damages from an automobile accident or other property damage that is not covered under DCPD.

According to the IBC, 73 percent of drivers will see no change to their premiums or either an increase or decrease of up to five percent. However, it adds, nine percent will see an increase of five percent more, while 18 percent will save more than five percent.

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