Snowbirds, Collisions, and How to Properly Fill Out Applications

American, Canadian & Florida flags

Are you traveling south this winter to escape the snow and enjoy the warm-weather states of the USA?

An important consideration before traveling is what to do in the event of an out-of-country motor vehicle collision. While automobile insurance is generally required in America, an American driver may not always be insured or insured for an appropriate amount. For the purpose of this blog, Florida will be the reference state. There are important differences in the insurance schemes between Ontario and Florida. Learn the differences and prepare yourself to take this trip confidently.

In Ontario, drivers receive automobile accident benefits from the Statutory Accident Benefits Schedule (SABS). In Florida, the comparable scheme is Personal Injury Protection insurance. What many Canadians don’t know is that when a Canadian is involved in an automobile accident in Florida, they are covered by both the SABS and the Personal Injury Protection program.

Ontario legislation requires that drivers hold a policy of at least $200,000. Most people hold a policy worth $1,000,000. This is sufficient coverage for third-party liability (the amounts available to those injured by the at-fault driver). A major difference in Florida’s policy requirements is that Floridians are only required to have policies worth $10,000 (USD). This can leave a Canadian injured by an American driver with insufficient funds to cover the costs of their pain and suffering, medical rehabilitation, past, and future expenses, income loss, or even funeral costs.

The good news is that despite the lower policy coverage, and the higher risk of a driver being entirely uninsured, Canadians have access to their own policy limits where the Florida policy is insufficient or non-existent. This means that you can initiate a claim against your own insurance company for the losses caused by the uninsured or underinsured driver in Florida. Contact your insurance company prior to your trip to confirm your coverage.

Consulting with a lawyer following a motor vehicle collision in America can assure you that you have accessed all available benefits for your recovery. An Ontario lawyer can assist in advancing a tort claim against the at-fault driver through their network of American personal injury lawyers.

Enjoy your travels and travel confidently knowing that you are protected.

If you or a loved one are Snowbirds involved in a motor vehicle collision, contact us at JEWELL RADIMISIS JORGE LLP and a member of our team will be happy to assist you.
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