If you live in Ontario and own a vehicle, you’re legally required to hold valid auto insurance before hitting the road. At the very minimum, a standard Ontario car insurance policy must include four types of coverage: third-party liability, statutory accident benefits, direct compensation and uninsured automobile.
But if you want to supplement, reduce or change the scope of your existing auto insurance coverage, you’ll need to add an “endorsement” or “rider” to your policy. An endorsement is an optional addition that either provides extra coverage (for an additional fee) or waives coverage for specific situations.
If you live in Canada’s most populous province, endorsements are referred to as Ontario Policy Change Forms (OPCFs). All types of insurance policies have limits and exclusions around insured perils and amounts covered. If you have particular needs not addressed in your existing coverage, you might want to consider amending your original policy.
Here are a few examples of the most common Ontario auto insurance policy endorsements.
OPCF 20: Loss of vehicle use insurance endorsement
Why you might need it: If your car is stolen, or if you’re involved in a collision, and your car needs repair or replacement, this insurance endorsement will cover the cost of renting a car. At least until yours is replaced or repaired. Take note: to claim this endorsement, the damage or loss must be caused by an insured peril listed in your policy. In other words, if you don’t have comprehensive car insurance and a thief steals your car, this insurance endorsement won’t help you.
OPCF 27: Liability for damage to non-owned automobiles
Why you might need it: OPCF 27 extends liability coverage and accident benefits if you’re driving a vehicle you don’t own and damage it. It can apply to rental cars, or a car borrowed from a friend, family member, co-worker, boss, etc. Car rental companies call this type of coverage a “collision damage waiver” and sell it as an optional add-on. Keep in mind that OPCF 27 coverage is only valid if you’re driving in Canada or the United States.
OPCF 39: Accident waiver/forgiveness
Why you might need it: If you have an otherwise clean driving record and are involved in your first at-fault collision, this endorsement provides one-time amnesty. This means your driver rating won’t be affected, and your insurance premiums won’t go up. However, this endorsement only protects you as long as you stay with the same insurance company—if you switch to another insurer (and this insurance endorsement is in use) and apply for a new policy, your rates may rise.
OPCF 43: Removing depreciation deduction
Why you might need it: As soon as you drive your brand-new car off the lot, its value starts to decline—this is called “depreciation.” Usually, when you claim for loss or damage, your insurer will deduct depreciation from the value of your car before it pays out. The OPCF 43 endorsement eliminates the insurer’s ability to do that. This type of endorsement is only available for the first two years of ownership. The vehicle must also be totally brand new (i.e. no previous owners and no previous repairs).
This works similarly in home insurance. To learn more, read Replacement cost vs. actual cash value.
OPCF 44R: Family protection coverage
Why you might want it: With this insurance endorsement, eligible members of your family are covered by the same limits as your mandatory third-party liability coverage. Even if everyone in your family is a good driver, third-party liability protects against the at-fault actions of other drivers—particularly ones who are underinsured, have no insurance at all (which, again, is illegal in Ontario) or in the case of a hit-and-run where the other driver can’t be identified.
The bottom line
Ontario has a long list of insurance endorsements, and the details of offerings may vary by insurance company. Less common endorsements can get very specific, such as suspending and reinstating your coverage, excluding a particular driver from the policy, or adding coverage for a government automobile or recreational vehicle.
Remember, all coverage has exclusions and limitations. To find the auto insurance policy and endorsements that are best for your situation, get an online auto insurance quote or discuss your options with an insurance broker.