Legal Brief for May, 2024

Summer Legal Items Tune-Up

With the onset of warmer days and sunny skies people are starting to make their summer travel plans.  This is a good time to make sure that all your legal documents and coverages are in order - a nasty surprise that delays or results in the cancellation or disruption of a trip can be a very trying situation.  Here are a few items to check before you start making reservations or packing:

  1. Driver's Licence - check to see if it is still valid, or if it has expired or will expire while you are on your trip.  I have checked a few licences over the years that clients didn't realize had expired.

  2. Car insurance - make sure your policy has been renewed for the current year.  If not, you will need to reinstate it before you drive anywhere on a trip.  You can be subject to fines and personal liability if you cause an accident while driving uninsured.

  3. Vehicle registration - similar to your driver's licence, make sure you renewed your vehicle registration.  Since the government no longer sends out renewal notices this is something that easily gets overlooked amidst the many things we juggle on a daily basis.

  4. Home insurance - similar to your car insurance, make sure your policy has been renewed for the current year.  The greatest risk for incidents is when a house is vacant.  A hot water tank can fail at any time of year, and you definitely don't want to be greeted by a soggy basement and then discover that you policy has expired, and you are left paying the full cost of cleanup and restoration.

  5. Rental car coverage - many people have a rider on their personal car insurance policies that provides them liability coverage on a rental vehicle.  This can be a great feature, as it saves you having to have an internal debate at the car rental counter about whether you should sign up for the car rental agency's exorbitant daily fee for their insurance coverage.  However, a note of caution is in order - you should check your car insurance policy in advance to make sure that the insurer didn't delete the rental car rider without informing you or that the terms have changed and do not provide as much coverage as you previously thought.

  6. Who drives the rental car - one of the standard questions at the rental counter is: "Who will be driving the vehicle?" If you answer "just myself", then do not, and I repeat do not, later allow someone else to drive the vehicle.  If you do allow someone else to drive and they cause an accident then you might have voided any insurance coverage you might have had available to you.  If you think there will be more than one driver, then out of an abundance of caution you should add their name when you are completing the rental agreement.

Notice To Reader:

Please note that this Legal Brief Of The Month feature is intended to provide general information only, and is not intended to provide specific legal advice for any situation.  You should consult with a lawyer before acting on any matter that you are facing.  Your use of, and access to this website, does not create a lawyer-client relationship with John K.J. Campbell, Barrister & Solicitor.