With very few exceptions, every vehicle’s value depreciates over time. If you own a used vehicle, it’s important to pay particular attention to choosing the right auto insurance. Otherwise, even a minor accident could end up costing you a lot of money.

Winter driving conditions in Quebec mean a substantial increase in the number of accidents. Statistics obtained by the Groupement des assureurs automobiles (GAA) show that collisions are nearly 30% more frequent in winter. That’s one more reason to be especially cautious—by slowing down and putting more distance between you and other vehicles, for example.

But no matter how carefully they drive, nobody is immune to the risk of an unfortunate accident. While not all collisions and run-off-the-road accidents result in serious injuries to the driver or passengers, they often leave the vehicle very much the worse for wear—hence the importance of choosing the right coverage options.

A question of value

People sometimes think that no supplementary coverage options are needed to properly insure a used vehicle. Not true. Buyers tend to forget that depreciation doesn’t affect only new vehicles: a previously owned one will also suffer as a result. With every passing year, the vehicle declines substantially in value.

Say you paid $15,000 for your used car three years ago: if it’s declared a total loss after an accident, you won’t be compensated for the total amount. Instead, your insurer will determine the payout based on the vehicle’s depreciated value.

That mean’s you’ll likely have to dip into your savings if you want to replace your accidented vehicle with a similar model.

Someone who depends on their vehicle to get to and from work, and whose budget will be strained by an unforeseen expense, therefore has everything to gain from adding extra coverage to their auto insurance contract.

How to counter depreciated value

Fortunately, coverage is available that’s specifically designed to counter the depreciation in value of a used vehicle. With this type of policy, in the event of an accident the insurer will consider the initial value of the vehicle, i.e., the amount you paid when you bought it, to calculate the compensation owed to you.

This supplementary coverage means true peace of mind for motorists. Depending on the option you choose, if the vehicle you bought for $15,000 is declared a total loss, you’ll be entitled to a cash payment equivalent to that amount, or a replacement car of equivalent age and mileage to those of your accidented vehicle at the time you purchased it.

All the more reason to start the winter season on the right foot by purchasing sufficient insurance for your vehicle. After all, accidents can and do happen...