In the world of auto insurance, it’s not uncommon for policyholders to receive multiple quotes from different providers. The question that many people ask themselves is “do these companies share information with each other?” In Ontario, they do not. Car insurance providers are not allowed to share any personal information that is collected.
In Ontario, insurance companies are not permitted to share any personal information that is collected by the provider. This personal information includes:
- Marital status
- Contact information
- Identification numbers
- Employment history
- Financial information
For example, if you currently have car insurance with Aviva and you’re looking to switch your policy over to Belair Direct. When you request a quote from Belair Direct, Belair won’t call Aviva to verify information about your claims history.
Can insurance companies give out personal information?
Do car insurance companies share claims?
No, car insurance companies do not share claims with each other.
What personal information do auto insurance companies collect?
Insurance providers need to collect a lot of personal information for the purpose of determining risk factors. Almost all of the personal information is provided by the client, however, in some cases they may have other sources of information. Insurance companies can collect the following personal information for the purpose of a new car insurance policy:
- Phone number (Home, Cell, Fax)
- Marital Status
- Employment information
- Driving record
- Medial history
- Traffic violations & convictions
- Vehicle make, model and value
- Previous insurance & claims history
What sources do car insurance companies collect information from?
Most of the time, personal information is collected during the sign-up process. However, insurance companies are also allowed to collect information from the following sources:
- Third-party market research agencies
- Information provided by user through the website (ie. surveys, contest ballots, quote information)
- Consumer reporting agencies
- Government agencies, motor vehicle agencies and credit bureaus
How do car insurance companies know about your accident history?
In Canada, car insurance companies have access to a central database that contain all of the claim information for a driver. While insurance companies do not directly share information with each other, they are likely subscribed to consumer reporting agencies. An example of a consumer reporting agency is CGI. These data services sell information about your driving record to insurance companies. Unlike in the USA, in Canada consumer reporting agencies have to contact the consumer in the event a claim is disputed or rates are increased based on information provided by the agency.
Here is some of the information a consumer reporting agency has access to:
- # of car insurance claims
- Types of car insurance claims
- Vehicle information (VIN, make, model, mileage, etc.)
- Claims that were denied
- Claims that did not result in a settlement
- Inquiries about damage or claims
They do not have access to:
- credit information
- criminal charges
- personal information such as race, age, sex, political affiliation or ethnic origin
Who can insurance companies share information with?
In Canada, insurance companies have the right too, with your consent, provide your personal information to companies who are looking to fulfil their duties. These include:
- Credit card companies
- Any person required by law to have access to your personal information
- Any person authorized by you
- Motor vehicle registries
- Authorized providers of motor vehicle abstracts or claims history
- Professionals involved in the claims process (ie. lawyers, doctors, adjusters, etc.)
How do you request a copy of your personal data from a consumer reporting agency?
Are you interested in learning about the information on your consumer data report? If you often find yourself getting denied for car insurance or you are getting absurdly high quotes, it could be possible that there is an error on your consumer report.
Unfortunately, there is no universal report. Instead, you’ll have to request a report from each of the major reporting agencies. The Government of Canada’s website has a list of all consumer agencies here.
If you’re interested in learning about your credit history, Ontario has two main credit reporting agencies: TransUnion and Equifax.
The Personal Information Protection and Electronic Documents Act (PIPEDA)
In Canada, consumer information is pretty protected unlike the United States. The PIPEDA enforces that insurance companies must first obtain consent from an individual before collection any personal information. The personal information must only be used for the purposes of the collection. This means, insurance companies cannot legally sell your personal information. If the information is going to be used for any other purpose the insurance provider must first obtain consent again.
Digital Information Collection
In the world of the internet, websites are constantly collecting data on their users. When you visit a car insurance comparison, insurance company, or insurance broker’s website, there is certain information that is automatically collected. This includes:
- Your internet browser
- Your operating system (Windows, Mac, etc.)
- Your IP address
- How you found the website (through Google, or an external site)
The purpose of this information is to allow service providers the tools to enhance their website and user experience and to provide more accurate targeting for ads.