Nfld. & Labrador

State of emergency not a reason to deny auto insurance, says industry group

If you were out on the roads when you weren't supposed to be and got in an accident, you might still have a shot at being covered by your insurance company.

Out on the roads when you shouldn't have been? You might still be covered in an accident

The Royal Newfoundland Constabulary has ticketed drivers during the state of emergency for driving with windshields covered in ice and snow. (Colleen Connors/CBC)

Some good news for travellers during the state of emergency — if you were out on the roads when you weren't supposed to be and got in an accident, you might still have a shot at being covered by your insurance company.

Erin Norwood, Atlantic Canada's manager of government relations for the Insurance Bureau of Canada, said while companies don't condone driving when it is prohibited by a municipality, it doesn't necessarily violate your policy.

"Driving during a state of emergency in and of itself would not typically invalidate auto insurance coverage," she said.

Amanda Dean, vice-president of IBC Atlantic, said other considerations still apply, such as who is at fault and whether your vehicle was in a fit condition to drive.

The Royal Newfoundland Constabulary has ticketed drivers during the state of emergency for driving with windshields covered in ice and snow.

Dean said it's essential to prove you took every safety precaution, including clearing snow from your vehicle.

Some people have run into trouble while starting their vehicles when the engine block is covered in snow. One person posted on Facebook about a family member's vehicle catching fire because it wasn't cleaned out under the hood.

File your claims ASAP

With the city digging out and people assessing their properties, Norwood said it's important to let your insurance company know as soon as possible.

While insurance adjusters are not included in the professions exempt from the state of emergency, she said now is a good time for policy holders to gather photos and find old receipts.

Some houses suffered damage to shingles and siding during the hurricane-force winds last Friday.

Others had leaks from snow blowing into attics and melting down through the ceiling.

Dean said people should check their insurance policy to see if it covers alternate accommodations, so they can stay in hotels, motels or with relatives before their homes can be repaired.

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